One Night I Dream (2006)
(for Anne Waldman, on your birthday: Carry on, Outrider!)
Dear Anne, dear you, true Artivist,
It’s so fantastic to celebrate you along with so many of your friends, and be able to say just a few things to you here. It’s the way you, your work, your poetics, your teaching, your heart make us feel bigger. It’s the way you bring up that fighting spirit, its power and heat and wildness, in all who would listen, and often against the odds and the fashion of the times. The way you dont let that deter you, but rather let it nurture towards the wisdom of a deeper, wider, larger way of being in the world. One that takes chances, that shows courage, that connects and doesn’t let go. One that has the courage to stand, as much as to stand for. And does so with tough love, a need for deep justice, and life’s immense shareable pleasure. I love and admire and am inspired by your capacity to build bridges, to be there, with your work and your being against the chasms of our time.
I also remember that night when a great number of us embarked to downtown Boulder for an impromptu group call, outdoors reading, down an alleyway. It transformed into a loose, messy, joyous, lighthearted, light-headed call and response, and slowly gathered up energy, became a chanting circle, a sounding spiral of voices. Your voice rose like a clear clarion call, a vital chord in the night. The whole scene, the full night moved me deeply. Since then I never forget that art’s truth and its healing power is also in joy and revelling, joy and revelling, against the chasms of our time.
Thank you, with love & friendship in the fray, Caroline
This little piece below is one I associate with you, even as it was written in dream and before knowing you:
One night I dream that first I must receive a body. It is a strange dream with limbs hanging off hooks and heads with wide eyes dancing off threads in vast blue aerated structures, like cooling rooms. Someone is seated at the end of the rooms who waves at me to come closer. She tells me, first you must receive a body. I’m invited into it, I’m invited to have one, to be one. To piece one together. In dream I step into it, I become body.
This body has a mind of its own. It bows and bends and kneels and lays down on the cold stones. It wants to lay itself down in front of her. I lay the full length of this body in front of her. I lay this body down in front of her. I lay it down so deep I forget how to rise. I lay it down deeply. I lay down deeply. This is how the thought in the dream goes. I’m invited to lay a body down until it invites me to rise.
CAROLINE BERGVALL is a poet and artist. She works across languages, art-forms and media. A strong exponent of interdisciplinary arts practices and the development of writing methods adapted to contemporary audiovisual and contextual concerns, as well as multilingual and translocal identities. Projects include performances, installations, books, audio pieces, net-based work, graphic, and printed work. They take place internationally. Ongoing multiform projects include: Say Parsley (2001-2019), Drift (2014-2021), Ragadawn (2016-2020), and the online lockdown collaborative writing works Night & Refuge (2020-). For her poetic and cross-arts production she was awarded a Cholmondeley Award (UK, 2017) and the Bernard Heidsieck-Centre Pompidou Art Literary Prize (Paris, 2017). Currently visiting professor in English, Kings College London. Thierry Bal photo.