Dreams are corrosive agents. Although dreams are usually imagined as expressions of unconscious desires or fears, it’s their form that’s most important: a fluid attack on the least secure parts of the psyche’s structures. That this happens while a person is sleeping doesn’t qualify this action but amplifies it. Dream imagery and narrative are secondary to their flow through trembles and tremors.
I want a poetry that’s as corrosive as dreams. I want a poetry that finds vulnerable spots in the facades, and that seeps around or beneath what it can’t confront directly. Poetry is to presumption as sappers are to a castle, as love is to need. Its content is for each constituency to decide; what gets shared is its yearning for freedom.
Dreams have a morality in which no one is right. Their logic comes after the fact. They seek to discover the hidden, without ever finding anything except their own fierce and tender movements. This makes them impervious to categories though not to interpretation. A dream can never be paranoid, but neither does it heal. Like a poem it’s always in between.

Originally Published: July 31st, 2008

Alan Gilbert is the author of the poetry collections The Treatment of Monuments (2012) and Late in the Antenna Fields (2011). He has earned praise for his ability to move between personal, national, and global scales and experiences in his wide-ranging, politically and ethically astute poetry. He is the author...

  1. August 2, 2008
     Sam Kuraishi

    This is my poem. Is it as corrosive as a dream? Is a dream as corrosive as a poem? I wonder!
    We exit from a crack
    in a fertile core
    and stumble on the thoroughfare of life.
    Tapping a piercing noise
    and stretching rumbling feet;
    we walk the path.
    Charcoal faces, chalk faces.
    and faces in between;
    at a given time and space,
    we all walk the path.
    Therefore we exist.
    Our real world
    begets dreams;
    day dreams and night dreams.
    I dream,
    they dream,
    therefore, we exist in both worlds,
    the world of reality
    and the world of dream.