Calle de Sueños

Halvard Johnson


In my dream, I dream I speak
only Spanish, so when I go
to Moscow to interview Mayakovsky
an interpreter must be found, and finding
one proves to be quite a task, but after
some days a dancer in the corps de ballet
at the Bolshoi turns up. She is small and thin
and graceful, and, after dancing in Russia
for several years, she has an almost perfect
command of the language. I fall in love with her
immediately, in love with the mole
on her lower lip, and we eat meals and make
love together several times, but always in
dark Moscow streets somewhere, pressed up
against the alley wall of some steamy bistro.
She shares a room with three other dancers,
and smuggling her up to my hotel room would
take more luck than I've been given for this
lifetime. Mayakovsky seems to understand
what's going on between us, but he only
smiles, very slightly. I have to get back to
Paris and can't take her with me. Or, more
truthfully, she will not come with me. Her life,
after all, is the dance. Mayakovsky knows
my heart is breaking, but doesn't say a word.
My train's chuffing out of the station. They're
both there on the platform, waving goodbye
to me. Mayakovsky is smiling. She isn't.


In my dream, I dream I am dreaming.
The dream is an old one I've had many times
before. It is the dream of flying. I dream I
am flying above a great city, high
in the dark. I amuse myself by swooping
and soaring. I hover and look into rooms
where people are sleeping or making love
or fighting or maybe just watching TV.
But mostly I soar and swoop, climbing higher
and higher, up into the night sky until the lights
of the city have become just a small point of
light down below, and then I plunge
downward faster and faster and faster, pulling
out of my dive just before hitting
some sidewalk.


Instead of hitting the sidewalk,
I plunge on through it into some
other dream, in which I am on a train
chugging into a station in Paris. All
of my friends--Miguel, Vicente, the others--
have turned out to greet me. They
shout their greetings in Spanish, our
common tongue. They ask about
Mayakovsky, and I have some trouble
remembering anything about him.
What comes to mind is an image--the face
of a Spanish dancer, her dark eyes,
the mole on her lower lip. "Mayakovsky?"
I say, bewildered. And then I am sitting
on the couch in my livingroom watching
late news on TV, and then I have the uneasy
feeling that I am being watched. No one
else is at home, but I have a look around anyway.
There's no one but me in the room, but when
I look out toward the dark, ever-flowing river,
I see someone hovering there, arms outstretched,
just beyond the window. I can almost make
out his face, almost make out who it is, but then
he is gone, and I fall asleep again, dreaming.

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