It sounds silly

“It sounds silly, but sometimes I don’t know which is which.” He was drawing on his Marlboro, as though bothered by a profundity that was actually everyone’s cup of tea. He was referring to faces he had known, acts he had done, events that had happened, yet upon investigation they would turn out to be dreams he had had days & nights before. Yet exactly what were these: suddenly, a house is filled with strange presences [intruders as intimates, intimates as intruders] who enter by the front door [it is always locked, but now swings in the air, like a child kicked aside by robbers] & into a room swimming in yellow light; or a face emerges from the mist, uttering a list of names… Of course, most of the time, he knew they were fictive, but he couldn’t help dreaming them precisely because they had become [they were] so real as his memory, as evidenced for instance by the customary tightening of his chest at the suffocating nightmare [he would will his eyelids, heavy as stone, to open & break the spell]. He knew the real as commonly defined: spaces, locations, conversations, the furniture, as it were, of narrated lives—yet all this, just the same, was the stuff of his memory, & consequently of his dream, & he would glance at the figure in the mirror [a Freudian analogue] for the person of the person, reality of reality, that was missing somewhere. This phenomenological cabala, his Sancho Panza, would serve him however in good stead. Sort of a positive catch-22 because by allowing reality to be lost in dreams, & dreams to be lost in reality, he was able to shuttle back & forth between the two dimensions, allowing him therefore to survive the daily catastrophe of bad news [the real must devolve into the imaginary because to confront it would prove fatal].

Hence, this is how he would end in the book of Borges: everyone would later presume that his disappearance was for real; he would think, on the other hand, that he was only dreaming.

From Quadratic Silences, 1991

This entry was posted in POETRY OF EDEL GARCELLANO, selected by G.Y. Guillermo. Bookmark the permalink.

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