A Dream Named Freedom

A Dream Named Freedom is a fictional “monopoem” (monologue/poem) about dreams, freedom, and Fred Hampton. 

There’s this dream I once had named Freedom

But I did not know that dreams sketched on composition books and etched into diaries would take on their own lives

That I could not secure them around my subtle body or mold their path with my cries

They live by their own rules. Rules that I did not approve

They evaporate off sheets of college rule paper

Transcend archaic laws of physics

Zip through the cosmos carving tragedy into its fabric


There’s this dream I named freedom

It makes me dig holes with questions

Like. . . what is freedom? How do we create it? What does it look like?

Are there different kinds of freedom?

Mind freedom? Body freedom? Soul freedom?

Is it even possible to be fully free?

Maybe freedom is like a spectrum.

Maybe there are trade offs.

Maybe we must negotiate.

So I’m digging digging learning digging

Till I begin to question myself

Maybe I’m not strong enough

Maybe I’m not smart enough

Maybe I’m not capable of finding these answers


There’s this dream I once had named Freedom

It burns black holes into the universe and folds time onto itself–merging 5, 16, and 21 year old me into a fusion too complex for me to understand

Setting traps on trails of questions that lure me into chaos

Existential crisis after existential crisis

Who am I? Where am I? What is the point?


I am not the only one who has dreamt of freedom

21 year old Fred Hampton had a dream

He dreamt of equality

He asked the hard questions

He committed himself to change

He inspired people to mobilize

He rallied, and organized, and labored for his dream

The 6am political education classes for the community

The Black Panther Party Free Breakfast Program

Getting powerful street gangs to trade weapons for consciousness–to fight poverty through community instead of war

None of it was enough

He awakened too many people.

The powerful preferred them divided.

They ordered the movements destroyed.

The word they used is “neutralize”

J Edgar Hoover said we must quote destroy what the movement stands for and quote eradicate its ‘serve the people’ programs.

So a black brother was paid to infiltrate

To disguise himself as an organizer and body guard

To agonize the community through fake letters and phone calls

False news reports and confrontations

Carving artificial problems out of thin air

Pitting friends against friends. . .

The most brutal kind of destruction

But this wasn’t enough

They slipped barbiturates into Hampton’s drink

And then the FBI raided his home

December 4th, 1969 4:45 am. . .


14 heavily armed police officers storm a Monroe Street Apartment

Pop! Mark Clark sitting in the front room on security duty is dead

Pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop! Fred Hampton drugged out on his bed next to his 8 month pregnant wife is wounded

Pop Pop! two gunshots to the back of the head “He’s good and dead now” says an officer


On to the next room pop pop pop pop 4 others wounded

Then beaten up, dragged into the streets, and arrested

For what? Aggravated assault and attempted murder Of who? The 14 police officers who raided a home and killed two friends.

These powerful people made us think that the Soviets were the enemies. That communism and socialism would spread like a disease ruining democracy and taking away our freedoms.

But I see no democracy.

It’s all a lie. When we think we’ve won when we think we’ve been heard its because they let us have a victory. They’ve created the illusion of choice. They make us believe we have a voice but when your voice threatens their power over you, they infiltrate your movements. They threaten your family. They create artificial problems to distract your people, disrupt the cohesion, the progress. They lie. They steal. They murder. They torture. They invade. They bomb. They occupy. They hold you hostage and enslave your leaders. They publish fake news stories and construct events to make you think the threat is elsewhere. They deprive you of resources like education to keep you from learning and knowing and awakening to who they really are.

They are not here to create a just world or to endow all people with rights to food, and water, and education, and safety, and justice. They are not here to encourage love or prosperity or collaboration or spiritual growth. No! . .  their purpose is to keep us all trapped in their apparatus of oppression, of confusion, of misery. . . held up by constructs of race, gender, beauty, politics, and economics that torment us.


I am not the only one who has dreamt of freedom

Yet I see no one who is unrestrained

The power-obsessed cop is not free of the ego

The FBI director is not free from his crimes

The imperialist is not free of sickness

The President is not free from his lies

The white supremacist is not free of hate

The Black Woman is not free of pain

People are not free from each other

I see no one who is free

And plenty who have bled for me

Freedom agonizes the stars because they know there are no answers

They know this world is fiction–a novel with no ending, no satisfying finale

So when freedom woke me up last night to ask me why I have forsaken it.

I said, “Why should I dream in a world where dreams whether left on coffee tables or spoken on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial WILL strip you naked and spill your secrets to your enemies?”


When I was a child this dream I call blue eyes looked at me and said, “I dare you to chase me.”

It was then that I should have known that dreams are not for the living.

Freedom is not for the living.

Not in this land.

You take what you get and wait for someone else’s tragedy, someone else’s undisciplined, uncaring, mischievous dream to carry you on its wings.

Written by Iris Nevins

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