Dream Letter to Jacques Derrida

Dear Jacques,

Must relay the contents of a dream from two nights ago. I’ve allowed time to pass before recording it in the hope that its “meaning” might become clearer to me. I can’t say, in truth, that it has. But here it is! I dreamt that I visited you in an apartment in Paris – well, a conceptual Paris at least for if you looked out through the large plate glass feature windows you were confronted by huge cuboid structures with few windows and the occasional scimitar of concrete sweeping between the cubes, as if to facilitate communication between these very contained (social/cultural) spaces. These scimitars led me to remark in the dream that they were like subverted crosses. The presence of God in the “new” Paris seemed ambivalent at best, but the codes were there. As we chatted there came a knock at the door which you promptly answered. Your movements throughout the dream were crisp and precise. On opening the door you were greeted by dozens of children – poorly clothed, dirty, and obviously hungry. You welcomed them in and asked me to help serve them food which was ready prepared, steaming on a stove in the kitchen. We served the children, they ate with relish, thanked us, and walked back out through the door into Fritz Lang-like Metropolis. We said nothing to each other during this incident. We then began discussing the “echidna project”. You told me how you’d rewritten the poems, that I’d failed to negotiate with the echidna. You said I’d failed to engage with the “Mysterium tremendum”, that poetry is about secrecy and my boldness prevented me from fearing it enough. And I saw that this was my weakness, that as an artist I had failed to let my subject take “control”, develop its own life. My echidna was going where I wanted it to. To save myself from further doubt, I started talking about IKB – International Klein Blue – a deeply blue artificial colour invented by Yves Klein, to be found in some of his pieces in the Pompidou, and other galleries. We began to paint the rooms of your “apartment” with IKB. I don’t recall what happened then – there was a gap, a hiatus – and then we were in another room looking at the manuscript of your “new book” which was about “The Language of God” and was written on vine leaves, or maybe cabbage leaves. I recall large chunks of it – it seemed brilliant. I want to write it down but something says I can’t. The dream ended, two days have passed, and I am writing to you. I hope all is well. Tracy sends her kind regards.


John Kinsella