Empire of Dreams [excerpt]
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.
Copyright © 2019 Giannina Braschi. Translation © 2019 by Tess O'Dwyer. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author and translator.