Empire of Dreams [excerpt]

- 1953-
translated by Tess O'Dwyer
 
Listen to me, ladies and gentlemen. Listen to the sermon of memories and sorrows. Listen to hell. Why didn’t I do what I should have done. I repent. I’ve  sinned. I have memories. And torments. I am burning in the flames of memories. Why didn’t I keep quiet? Why did I do that? I repent a thousand times. Why did I betray you, and why do I remember you? Oh woe, woe is me! Oh, and I stood you up in the street. Listen to memories. Listen to them again. Why did I betray you? Why did you leave and forget me? And I grieve and remember you. And the worst were my tears. And the worst was your memory. Listen to the soap opera and listen to memory. Oh, and now what’s left for me. I’m left with monologues, soliloquies, and memories. I’m left with shadows. I’m left with memories. I don’t want monologues or sorrows or soliloquies. I am a singing bird. I am a child. I am the nightingale. What does winter or autumn or spring or summer know of memory? They know nothing of memory. They know that seasons pass and return. They know that they are seasons. That they are time. And they know how to affirm themselves. And they know how to impose themselves. And they know how to maintain themselves. What does autumn know of summer? What sorrows do seasons have? None hate. None love. They pass.
 

Empire of Dreams [excerpt]

translated by Tess O'Dwyer
 
On the top floor of the Empire State a shepherd has stood up to sing and dance. What a wonderful thing. That New York City has been invaded by so many shepherds. That work has stopped and there is only singing and dancing. And that the newspapers—The New York Times, in headlines, and The Daily News—call out: New York. New York. New York. Listen to it. Hear it on the radio. And on television. Listen to the loudspeakers. Listen to it. The buffoons have died. And the little lead soldier. Shepherds have invaded New York. They have conquered New York. They have colonized New York. The special of the day in New York’s most expensive restaurant is golden acorn. It’s an egg. It’s an apple. It’s a bird. Fish. Melody. Poetry. And epigram. Now there is only song. Now there is only dance. Now we do whatever we please. Whatever we please. Whatever we damn well please.
 

Empire of Dreams [excerpt]

translated by Tess O'Dwyer
 
I love hiccups and I love sneezes and I love blinks and I love belches and I love gluttons. I love hair. I love bears. For me, the round. For me, the world. Round is the happy face. And round is the midday. And when the moon is most beautiful is when it’s round. Sex is round. And the heart also. The hand is round. The mouth also. Sneezes are round. And hiccups also. The milk from the breast of Lady Macbeth was also round. I would have liked to be like her and be bad. I am good. I am Bacchus. I am sex. And I am hiccup. And I am sneeze. And I am cough. Hoarse. Hoarse. Hoarse. I am thunder. I am voice. I am obscene. Obscene. Obscene. I am pure like the tit or the milk. I am water, sea, or fish, or tadpole. I am round.
 

Behind the Word is Silence

translated by Tess O’Dwyer

Behind the word is silence. Behind what sounds is the door. There is a
back and a fold hiding in everything. And what was approaching fell and
stopped far away in proximity. An expression falls asleep and rises. And
what was over there returns. It’s a way to put the world back in its place.
And something comes back when it should remain remembering. 

But if I ring the bell, water jumps and a river falls out of the water again.
And the body rises and shakes. And the rock wakes and says I sing. And a
hand turns into a kerchief. And twilight and wind are companions. And this
twilight appears amid lightning. Outside there is a bird and a branch and a
tree and that lightning. Above all, there is noon without form. And suddenly
everything acquires movement. Two travelers meet and their shoes dance.
And breeze and morning clash. And the seagull runs and the rabbit flies.
And runs and runs, and the current ran. Behind what runs is life. Behind
that silence is the door.