Originally posted on Facebook.
While lying in bed preparing to get up and face the day, I remembered a dream I had last night and felt compelled not only to write it down but to share it with my friends. (I’m sharing with my Facebook Friends but thinking of the friends in my dream, my friends and comrades in Oakland.)
I was in the vague, inaccurate dream landscape of my hometown, near my old house. I was distraught about the same myriad things that kept me up last night in waking life. I was alone, felt lost, at my wits’ end, so I started running. I used to do that all the time in real life–just start running when I couldn’t take a situation anymore. I’m not much of a runner, but it was always a physical relief combined with a often irresponsible, sometimes even destructive escape.
I ran and ran. I was barefoot and knew that wasn’t smart, but it didn’t hurt. I reached the cemetery near my old house, where my Dad, my great-godfather Clarence, my paternal grandma and grandfather are all buried. The cemetery is a fixture in my dreams, the only piece of permanent landscape in dreamtime Hillside, NJ, which I never really thought much of until just now.
The dreamtime Evergreen Cemetery always changes, though. This time it was more like a park, with a river running through it. I looked down to the river, thought of running down there, but saw so many folks down there on the banks. Mostly Black folks, mostly men, all people I didn’t know. I couldn’t be around people I didn’t know. I wanted to be alone. So I kept running on the street.
I ran and ran. And suddenly I was running through a demonstration, a direct action, right smack in the middle of a main street in my own hometown. Many people participating in the action, not many watching or stopping. The people in the action were my Black friends, my community from Oakland, many of the people I’ve thrown down with or supported in actual actions in recent months. They were righteously angry, their shouts were urgent in calling for justice for Black people.
I kept running. I thought to stop, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I was too distraught. It felt like I literally couldn’t slow down, like my feet were self-propelled. I started crying because I knew I should turn around and go back but I couldn’t.
But then I did. I just did. Dreams are nice like that–you just do, all of a sudden, without as much of the fretting and time and processing that happens in waking life. I just stopped, turned around and was suddenly back with them, with my friends, my people. I found one of them, fumbled sheepishly through excuses of why I kept running. My friend waved it off because the excuses weren’t important. What was important was what was going on around us, and I was there, now.
And then the dream ended.
And now I start my day.