Last Time I Saw You Said You Were Dreaming

By Shanise Redmon


The body lays, covered in stillness, the only movement being that of breath and the unseen stirring of the mind. One would assume that the dream is taking place and they would be correct. However, what occurs and what is the response when the dreaming begins to unfold before awoken eyes? Dreaming becomes much more than a submissive act committed during sleep. The dream becomes the inaugural moment of hope. With the dream, the nightmare surely follows. How does one proceed while being completely encapsulated in between two dimensions, that of the dream and of that nightmare? There are horrors stationed upon realizing the reality and escapist inventions of the dream and beauty smoldering within the darkness of the nightmare which is to be said the nature of the blur. I saw you but you did not see me because we both entangled within different sectors of the blur, which we both called dreaming.

This project examines dreaming as an explorative conjunction to the movement of blackness as well as the intent of moving blackness and the black body from position of object to subject. Exploring these positions meant inciting a head on collision with what it means to be an object and a subject and what the possibility of rejecting both positions meant. If one does not wish to be an object or a subject, where does that leave them? Where does it leave their body? Where does it leave their dreams? Could having and/or desiring no place or position in the triptych that is life be a legitimate course of action or simply a mental disruption in the institution of identity? Blackness and its possibilities are astronomical thus making blackness uncontrollable. Being uncontrollable formulates a positionality that has yet to be defined and extends far beyond the confines of humanism. Not having the ability to consent or refuse societal factors, while being uncontrollable is a paradoxical existence.

Acknowledging that your body cannot be protected and that you are indeed a non-being doesn’t mean you are throwing in the towel and backing away from the fight. It means that the basis for your fight has shifted. The core of blackness and black social life is that it’s dark but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t looking for the “sunny side.” For the “sunny side” gives us light which provides us with the ability to function in the dark and to dream. It allows us to be out from the outside. Our outsiderness proclaims the monstrosity, the beauty, the ugliness, the light of black life.  How does that paradox frame the relationship to power? The answer seems to lie in a world that is unseen, undiscovered and unknown. The one beyond this. Blackness is essentially being a cosmic hobo. So “swing down sweet chariot stop and let me ride” all the way to the cosmos never looking back.

Shanise Redmon is a writer, researcher, and scholar based in Philadelphia, and the founder of Beat and Prose, a biannual arts and literary publication. She is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Africology and African American Studies at Temple University. This piece reflects a starting point of Redmon’s research for her Thesis. She is gleaning black histories and trauma to formulate micro narratives that reflect experiences that are personal and existential. More of her audio work can be heard on