traces of slumbering afar together alone awake asleep

fellow dreamers in Athens I think of you tonight

Sleep here occurs in silence, broken only by the occasional cargo train that rumbles through, or the birds that punctuate the morning. It is rural, brown and dry here. During the day I do my flight training on back meadows where vultures circle. I jump, leap, bound,  and yet I have not flown.


I have had dreams of long and passionate kisses in lecture halls, overstuffed elevators a mile high, trapeze rigs that collapse, small girls in glass containers translating Chinese, whiskey binges in swimming pools, warm buses and precipices on the barren edges of Iceland. I have woken in a sweat from a nightmare of nuns, I have found myself in places familiar and places with no traces of dreams to recall.  I again close my eyes and try to fly.

I listen to the sounds of your night in my day. And return them, too quiet to be heard in the Athenian night. When falling asleep, I think of all of you, slumbering together, breathing together, courageously, collectively trying to ascend.


Poems Written About Travel as Sleep, Daoqian (1043-1114)

In ten years’ travels, each place is home briefly. San Francisco, Beijing, Tokyo, New York, Taipei, Hong Kong, Kyoto. Was even a year spent in one of them? Soon I will fly back to San Francisco. Looking at it now, I believe a long succession of beautiful dreams has passed. The ancients walked great distances to spend years in distant places. To get home, they walked back. And then, what remains across space, and through dream?

“Poem Offered to the Great Kwanyin of Upper Zhu Temple”

Ten years passed, scattered among rivers and oceans,
But my dreaming spirit always relied on Vulture Peak;
Up flights of clouds, moon underfoot, once again I arrive here,
Forehead to the floor in reverence before the White Robed Immortal!

Daoqian (1043-1114) from 
Canliaozishiji fascicle six

[From the project, “Poet-monk: Daoqian”]

Poems Written After Sleep, Daoqian (1043-1114)

On the cusp of sleep, night’s gravity weighs on the body. The mind cannot escape. There is a bend in the road to dreams that I cannot see past. Suddenly you are at the door. I answer. And we are outside, in the forest near your old house. When I awake, I am in bed and realize I was dreaming of you again.


“Description of a Dream, Sent to Monk Miaoyi”

The Hall of Wondrous Thoughts is deep along the winding road;
Night comes, and all at once my dream-soul clambers up and out;
When you open the gate, we greet one another
As if we were in the emerald fog of a bamboo grove.

– Daoqian (1043-1114) from
Canliaozishiji fascicle seven

[From the project, “Poet-monk: Daoqian”]

Poems Written While Asleep, Daoqian (1043-1114)

The traces of dreams are hidden on the shelves of the archives, among the manuscripts. There are poems written long ago. Then, the soul would get up out of the sleeping body and wander between worlds. Sometimes, a dreaming soul composed a poem, placing the right words in the right order. When the dreaming person woke, they might record the words written by their dreaming spirit.


“8th month, 17th night: A Poem Written in Dream”

At midnight, when there is no one to be seen on the autumn river,
Green lotuses hold up gleaming dew for
River Divinities and Water Immortals to drink together.
They leave a handful to revive my spirit.

– Daoqian (1043-1114), from Canliaozishiji fascicle twelve

[From the project, “Poet-monk: Daoqian”]


“In dreams there are no rules under sleep my ear folds…”

9 minute sound piece.

Text: Julia Robinson Bouwsma

Composition/Sound: Christopher Preissing


This collaborative project by fellow dreamers Julia Bouwsma and Christopher Preissing—though a digression from flying—was borne of a vivid series of dreams that Julia had while we were all in residence at the Viriginia Center for Creative Arts. Preissing’s soundscape matches the strange netherworld experience of the words that haunt the dreamer. One never knows where the subconscious sleeper may meander. – hsk

In neurons we are linked: our hippocampus, our dreams.

As the rat sleeps in dreams she relives the activities from the day. Through the maze she repeats her path perfectly never missing a turn. As the woman sleeps in dreams she relives the activities from the day. Through the maze she repeats her path perfectly never missing a turn.

rat and I_mastermerged
We delve in to our bodies to find our minds.

Matthew Wilson, Professor of Science at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT asks how episodic memory connects to spacial memory. How is time and sequence incorporated in to memory. And how do these spacial and experiential acts become part of our unconscious or dream space. To do this he reads the memories of Rats in their dreams.

Wilson on the rat in the maze

Flight training desperate measure

past few nights monkeys in the foyer, a series of white colonnaded steps leading in every direction. there is a menacing stranger oblivious to the monkey’s rapidly ascending of the steps. the glass doors to the shape shifting houseboat at the edge of the field are locked. my legs will not move. the stranger is getting closer. the monkeys are at play.

i wake knowing i need more training. ability to get off the ground. to make the iconography of childhood present in dreams. i find a cape and begin training.

the flyer asks too much of the air. the lacuna of molecules between her and the surface of ground still too wide. more training will follow.