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   t h u r s d a y    n i g h t    (w h e n    d r e a m s    c o m e    t r u e)

--- L E V   R U B I N S H T E I N

--translation of Lev Rubinshtein by Philip Metres and Tanya Tulchinsky


All night I was dreaming of the frontier regions of existence. Waking up, I could remember only something between water and dry land, silence and speech, sleep and waking and managed to think: "Here it is, the aesthetic of uncertainty. Here it is again..."


I dreamt as if someone long gone and, it seemed, completely forgotten, suddenly appeared and looked at me so attentively that I woke, my heart pounding...


I dreamt that I had to get up and look if she were sleeping. I woke up, and could not remember for a long time who I was thinking of. Then I remembered...


I dreamt that I had to hide in my shell for awhile, and then, as they say, we'll see. I woke up and thought "Well, I don't know, I don't know..."


I dreamt that happiness truly knew no bounds. Waking up, I thought "Well, I'll be damned..."


I dreamt that you only have a chance four times in life. Waking, I thought that there was surely something to this...


I was dreaming that the most important thing was to find the most adequate form of sympathy for each other. Then I woke up...


I was dreaming that the idea of a clear page is a short circuit to any consistent aesthetic experience. Then I woke up...


I was dreaming that one could proceed from the fact that our sense of self is a sense of self of self-created personages, existing in their own time and space. And that the starting point of such sense of self, as a matter of fact, draws us together. Then I woke up...


I dreamt two whole arguments in my support, but of course I could not remember them...


I dreamt a third argument as well. But it also remained there in the dream...


I dreamt of the long-awaited coming of a hero. His appearance was often gloomy, but his constant readiness to be happy was indubitable. He was impressive in his open and keen relation to reality. Waking up, I thought that there was nothing to add to this.


I dreamt the rare flitters of fading hopes. Neither bright, nor warm, they silently smoldered down in the windless deeps of the consciousness.

I was so used to them, my tired brain almost failed to acknowledge them, my head would no longer lift at their sight, my nostrils would no longer inflate, my pulse would no longer quicken. It seemed that nothing could break my despondent calm. It seemed that nothing forbode any change...


I dreamt of an ancient park with trees immersed in thought. Along its shaded alley, a lonely figure moved towards me. I noticed it from far off and almost immediately guessed who it was. But you've probably guessed as well...


I dreamt that they were obviously not alone there. Someone prowled in the night without a sound, like a thief. "Quiet-whispered Heinrich with his lips pursed-you didn't hear anything?" Both listened. Silence ensued again. It was as if lightning sudde nly sliced through the dark...


I dreamt of creaking floorboards and balding rugs of a small boarding house on the shore of Lake Bodenskoe. The weather during these days was rainy and unpleasant. The mistress of the boarding house was a good-natured and flabby woman about fifty years old. The table usually sat about ten or twelve guests. They were of different nationalities, habits, and interests. There was nothing to talk about, and lunch was stale. Boredom and despair reigned at the table.

Still, one of the guests did grab my attention. He was a young, sickly-looking Italian, always silent, who would only rarely cast around an obscure glance, as if something known only to him had momentarily awakened him from his usual stupor...


I dreamt of a massive gray Ministry of Navigation building. It was located just a couple steps from my old apartment. And my windows looked right out onto the same despondent square. And along my windows each morning and each night strode the faceless chain of clerks. If I could have thought then...


I dreamt of little Kolya's face, happy for no reason, and the concentrated faces of his family, and the impatient face of the driver, and all the other faces-relatives, acquaintances, those barely known, and those not known at all. All of them diffused in the dim consciousness of Konstantin, merged into one quickly revolving spot, and he fell, as if cut down, to the wet asphalt of an empty train platform that morning.


I dreamt the situation was such that if a clear and quivering voice suddenly appeared amid the inarticulate din of the crowd, it, too, would be lost in the gnashing. Those who would manage to hear it would only exchange looks, nod knowingly to each other, and that would perhaps be the end, if not for the


I dreamt that we all had to live by touch: here a loophole, here a fence, there a solid wall. And our life passes, from decision to doubt, from a nod to an interjection, from dream to toil...


I dreamt a light went out somewhere in the middle. And the voice crying out in the wilderness could no longer be heard. The warmth had dispersed, never to return. Only glass glancing at glass, fleeting, inarticulate...


I dreamt of a caustic smoke and my own death mask. What will we give as a momento? What will we grab at the last moment? Paradise is not for us, so we don't walk in pairs. It's so basic it's not worth explaining...


I dreamt my heart's pulled out from its sheath each night. What do we know? What can we do? Whoever knows, be silent...


I dreamt of the emptiness of the sky. We both felt lost in it. You said: "The swallow over there will remember us until we die..."


I dreamt we were saying goodbye on the bridge. We are tired, we'll take a rest... All nature's actions happen for a reason. No one will be delighted to receive us. Neither of us knows what will happen tomorrow, or the day after. Our final meeting. We are saying goodbye to each other on the bridge...


I dreamt he was buried in a grave, out of his mind. With a long flame the candle burned recklessly...


I dreamt he lay down on the sand forever. Who could understand the earthly bustle, if not him? That nothing is what it seems... That what's said is beyond us. And here above the earth our dear comrade soars... We'll also go the way water wouldn't flow. Where brains fall off, and shrieks, and pitch dark. We'll go as well--it's time, it's time for us to leave this home. We wanted to live, and this is what it's come to...


I dreamt at dawn of my balcony all twined with snow, overflowing with something crimson, and my stallion's nape marked with murderous fangs, the vengeful glare of wolves-- luminous fish sparkling, then disappearing--as they head for the woods.

Over my shoulder I heard my rifle's parting cry, a crazed laugh of a fallen animal's shriek.

My dying horse, a white steam through a wide-open door, an unending blizzard, a ski trail overgrown with snow...


I dreamt my scarcely breathing ship was sinking, while in the storming space I was engaged in a miraculous prayer...


I was dreaming of nothing much-- just numbness and endurance. Let's hide our beaks in our plumage at this crossroads of winds. We know how much this is worth, and that too. But who'll be in charge of our stage, when we take up the pilgrim's staff and bag? And how do we proceed in such mist, not for an hour, not for a day, but for a thousand years-- our contempt stuck in our pocket, tet a tet with the cold wind?


I dreamt as if they were running--my remaining days, looming ahead, while I was left behind. The quiver of six transparent wings revealed myself to me, and I woke up...


I was dreaming he was right here, sitting on my bed. He was here, clear as day, and yet he wasn't here. Who knows better than him that all has changed, and there's no place for hope or an unbiased mind.

The quiver of six transparent wings revealed myself to me, and I woke up...


I was dreaming at dawn of a half-demon, half-corpse staring with its many eyes out of a gilded frame. He said: "Don't wait in vain--a miracle won't happen. If you have a place to run to, then get out of here." He said: "Follow me, I'll show you the way." With a heavy head I woke up...


I was dreaming of a balance of paper, a memory gone to sleep. Lulled by the song of dripping moisture I let slip another spring. My tongue was nursing the stingy definition of life's meaning. But then long ray fell on my blanket, and I woke up...


I was dreaming that dreams bring relief, yet take something from you forever. And then I woke up...


I dreamt of a phrase: "my Deep Throat muse."

After I woke up, I lay with my eyes open for a long time...


I dreamt that retelling dreams you don't remember is a kind of occupation.

Waking up, I thought, "why not?"


I dreamt that I didn't care who cried because of which onion. Waking up, I thought, "I don't care."


I dreamt that if "today's Thursday" is said on Thursday, then it means that today is Thursday. If "today's Thursday" is said on Friday, then it's either or lie or a mistake, or something else.

Waking up, I thought that, really, what is said is as important as when it is said...


I dreamt as if we were sitting here and doing the same thing that we're doing now. Waking up, I thought that there really was nothing unusual about this...


I dreamt an uncountable number of various possibilities.

Waking up, I tried for a long time to remember something, anything...


On the very brink between dream and waking, I dreamt what whatever exists, does indeed exist.

Waking up, I thought: "That's how it should be..."

© crossconnect 1995-2000 |
published in association with the |
university of pennsylvania's kelly writers house |