Translated by Carlos Richard Lara

 

Sometimes I suddenly lose the entire thread of my life; I often wonder, while sitting in some corner of the universe, maybe in a dark and smoky café, before all the bits and pieces of polished metal, amid the comings and goings of unbelievably sweet women, by what path of madness have I found myself finally stranded beneath this arch, which is really just a bridge that we call the sky. That moment when it all escapes me, when huge rifts began to appear in the Palace of the World: I’d sacrifice my life to hold on to that moment, if only it would endure for that ridiculous price. And then my mind detaches a little from its human mechanism, so that I am no longer the bicycle of my senses, a grindstone sharpening memory and experience. I then seize the spontaneous within, and I suddenly grasp the notion of self-transcendence: I am the incarnation of chance, and upon forming this proposition I laugh at the idea of all human activity. It’s at this point, no doubt, that some kill themselves: those who depart one day wearing an expression of clarity. In any case, this is the moment when thought begins: it’s nothing like that simple game of reflection, where many excel without risking anything. If you’ve experienced the madness of this vertigo, it would seem impossible even to accept the mechanical ideas that today make up the sum of almost all of humanity’s undertakings. And all of humanity’s docility. Now we recognize, at the bottom of this speculation which seems so pure, a thoughtless axiom, one that escaped criticism, that sustains some other forgotten system, whose process is well-established, yet which nevertheless left us with this rut in the mind, this formula that goes on undisputed. Thus philosophers only speak in proverbs that they can somehow demonstrate. They chain their imaginations together with foreign links, stolen from famous tombs. They distinguish facets of the truth; they believe in partial truths.

I lived in the shadow of a large white building adorned with flags and filled with racket. I was not allowed to leave this Castle of Society, and those who clambered up its steps left terrible clouds of dust over the doormat. Patriotism, Honor, Religion, Integrity: it was difficult to recognize oneself among the countless words they haphazardly tossed around and their echoes. Yet slowly I unraveled their firmest beliefs. They come down to not much at all. “The inclination of every being is to persevere in being” is one of their favorite formulas, although hedonism disgusts them; the pejorative expression “marred by teleology” is enough for them to condemn everything; and finally there is the phrase they like to use to inaugurate paragraphs from their intellectual lives: “Let us draw aside the veil of words for a second.” That such methods lure them into hypotheses for reality, and a priori hypotheses, mind you, they never suspect. Their minds are monstrous hybrids, offspring of that peculiar amity between the oyster and the buzzard. And these cognitive hunchbacks fear not that passersby will superstitiously graze their malformed bodies for good luck. They are the kings of the world and the jailers of the dungeon from which I hear their jovial songs and the jangling of their keys.

Every now and then a visitor would concern himself with how I was occupying my time in this prison where it is said, without the slightest bit of irony, that I had confined myself. And should that person, confused as to whom he should doubt, himself or me, have encroached upon one of the more unusual moments of my life, my actions would quickly bring a porcelain sheen of disbelief to his eyes. How could he understand my reluctance to pursue so-called happiness? Or that there is no thought but in words? And sometimes this visitor, driven by current fashions and a belief in doctrinal strength, will call upon idealism. Then I begin to understand that what I have before me is a disgraceful realist, who these days appear to be men bearing good-will, who live on a compromise between Kant and Comte, who believe they’re taking a huge step by rejecting the vulgar idea of reality for reality-in-itself, the noumenon, that piece of shit plaster figurine. They remain deaf to the true nature of reality. It’s an encounter like any other: that the essence of things is not related to their reality, that there are other encounters, also primary, that the mind can grasp, such as chance, illusion, fantasy, and dream. These various species are now combined and reconciled under a single genre: surreality

 

The origin of a concept and the path of its appearance in the world are proper subjects for wonder. It was necessary that the idea of surreality should arise simultaneously with other extraordinary schools of human consciousness and events from centuries that have been piling up. But where was she most likely to emerge? Amid many special considerations during the course of resolving a specific poetic problem, and at the moment, truly, when the moral interweaving of this problem begins to reveal itself, André Breton, in 1919, preparing to seize the mechanism of the dream, reclaims the threshold of sleep and the nature of inspiration. From the start, this discovery, which by itself is astounding, is nothing more than that to him and to Philippe Soupault, who joins Breton in surrendering themselves to the first surrealist experiences. They find it all quite striking at first: this power of which they were previously ignorant, this unrivaled ease, a liberation of the mind, the production of unprecedented images, and the supernatural tone of their scripts. In everything that springs from them in this fashion (and without feeling any ownership over it), they recognize all that is nonpareil in the few words that still touch them. They suddenly glimpse a great poetic unity that flows from the ancient prophecies to Illuminations and The Songs of Maldoror. Between the lines, they read the unfinished confessions of those who once upheld the System: in the flash of their discovery A Season in Hell yields up its enigmas, and the Bible and several other proclamations of Man are stripped of their wolfish facades. But we are on the eve of Dada now, and the moral that emerges from their exploration is the ruse of genius; they are outraged at this trickery, this fraudulence that posits a method’s literary results while simultaneously concealing the method and the fact that it’s within everyone’s reach. If these first surrealist experimenters, whose number is limited in the beginning, in turn indulge in such literary exploitation, it is that they know themselves capable of laying all their cards on the table one day, that they are the first to fall under this great spell that descends from the depths. And in the beginning they proceed in total tranquility, for the world laughs harmlessly at their songs.

What will prepare them to suddenly perceive the abyss over which they are camped, what will open their eyes to the field of comets they have inadvertently plowed, is the unintended effect of surrealism on their everyday lives. It’s like they threw themselves into the sea; and like the delusive sea, surrealism threatens to drag them further into open water, where the sharks of madness roam. I have often thought of the man who assembled the first small responsive plates of carbon and copper wire, believing he would succeed in registering vocal vibrations, and who, with the mechanism finally intact, heard the unmistakable sound of the human voice. Thus, the first surrealists, extremely fatigued from the abuse of what still seemed to them a simple game, saw prodigious wonders rise up before them like the great hallucinations that often follow religious drunkenness or actual drug-use. This was when we would meet in the evening, like hunters, and draw up a tableau of the day: the tally of beasts and fantastical plants that we had invented, all the exhausted images. Playing the victims to a kind of acceleration, we spent a continually increasing amount of time on exercises that would transport us to uncanny regions of ourselves. We were pleased to observe the arc of fatigue and the bewilderment that followed. Then miracles appeared. At first each of us believed individually that we were at the center of a unique dilemma, and we struggled with that dilemma. Soon its nature was revealed. Everything began to flow as if the mind had reached the fulcrum of the unconscious, while losing all ability to recognize its source. In each, images manifested that took on bodily forms; they became material reality. They expressed themselves according to this relation, in a perceptible form. They donned the features of visual, auditory, and tangible hallucinations. We felt the full force of these images. We lost the power to handle them. We had become their realm, their frame. While in bed, at the precipice of sleep, on the street with eyes wide-open, with the total apparatus of dread, we joined hands with spectres. A hiatus, an abstention, from surrealism would usually cause the phenomena to vanish, and we were then allowed to comprehend the parallels between them and the specific phenomena that follow the ingestion of a chemical agent; at first, anxiety caused us to suspend the investigations that, after some time later, would again completely reclaim their rights over our curiosity. The uniformity of the disorders provoked by surrealism, physical fatigue, and narcotics, and their resemblance to dreams, mystical visions and the symptomatology of mental illnesses, led us to the only hypothesis that could explain these facts coherently: the existence of a mental substance that the similitude between hallucinations and sensations forced us to imagine as different from thought, yet from which thought could only be, even in its sensible modalities, a special case. We were experiencing this mental material in all of its concrete power and in all of its powers of concretion. We watch it change from one state to another, and these transmutations reveal its existence and inform us of its nature. We see, for example, a written image, which had at first presented itself as fortuitous, arbitrary even, affect our senses, violate its own verbal aspect, and present in the style of phenomena that we had always believed impossible to elicit outside of the imagination. There was nothing to assure us that everything occurring in our fields of consciousness and our bodies had not arisen by cause of this paradoxical activity in which we suddenly owned a share. Thus, imagine our mutual experience, every sensation, every thought to be critiqued, reduced to a word. Absolute nominalism was demonstrated vividly by surrealism, and the aforementioned mental substance appeared to us finally as vocabulary itself: there is no thought outside of words. Surrealism supports this proposition that, although it is not new, today is met with more scepticism than the vague opinions, often belied by the facts, of realists who allow themselves to be swept away to the Pantheon on some lovely, rainy evening.

Thus we can see what the surreal is. But the concept can only be grasped by expansion, for at best it is a notion that recedes like the horizon to the traveler, for like the horizon, it is a relationship between the mind and what it will never reach. When the mind has considered the circumstance of the reality in which it indiscriminately brings together all that exists, it naturally stands opposed to accounts of the unreal. And when it has surpassed these two concepts, real and unreal, the mind imagines a more general overview, where both experiences coexist side by side, and that is the surreal. Surreality, the state in which the mind encompasses these concepts, is the common horizon of religion, magic, poetry, dreams, madness, intoxications, and this miserable life, this quivering little honeysuckle that we believe enough to colonize the heavens.

 

*

A nothingness breaks apart the clouds, and that same wind brings them back. An idea also has its golden fringe. The sun plays with the phantoms a little. They dance well even without the proper slippers: the price of their steps is appraised by the broken chain at their ankles. Oh shifty-eyed phantoms, children of the shadows, wait for me, I’m coming, yet still you turn away. Don’t pass up the acacia flowers, the honor guard, the main stage, for I am coming; and yet you turn down other lanes of hawthorn with your reflective scarves and the domino effect of perpetual distraction. How do you follow an idea? Its paths are full of farandoles, and its balconies lined with masks. As we pass by, with our women at our side, all of life begins to solicit us and offer us violets: bouquets of every woe. Sweetheart, look, another street vendor, wow, and over there, wow, another kiss. Dada was a moral experiment and, in its own way, a phantom. We lived a sort of haunted existence, which disallowed the application of the mind to concepts. There reigned a vague, sentimental notion of the surreal at the bottom of our words, something like a foretaste of the abyss, still anonymous, faceless. One fine day the spectre tore itself away with its bony hands and flew higher and higher. A long period of stupor followed the cloudbreak.

The number of surrealists began to accrue. Mostly young people, who were drawn to drunkenness, to their own confusion, to frustration, who never looked back at the always glimmering blaze of spectacles and cries, who nevertheless possessed great charm. From the minute they indulged in a vice, they ran all the way with it. It was a situation like talking up a beautiful woman who already has a ring on her finger, like finding scrawls on the wall of a waiting room. At this point the surreal idea took an unexpected turn. It occurred by the sea, where René Crevel met a lady who taught him how to attain a certain type of hypnotic sleep that quite resembled the somnambulistic state. He would then give forth utterances of absolute beauty. An epidemic of sleep fell over the surrealists. Many of them, following this invented protocol with varying exactitude, discovered in each of themselves a similar faculty, and by the end of 1922 - have you noticed how this time of year is rife with flickers of the auspicious? - there are seven or eight who live for nothing more than those moments of oblivion when, with the lights out, they speak unconsciously, like drowning in the open air. These moments grow more numerous by the day. Every day they want to sleep more. They become intoxicated by their own words when spoken back to them. They fall asleep everywhere. All that’s required now is to follow the initial ritual. In a cafe, amid the din of voices, the bare lighting, and all the jostling, Robert Desnos merely has to close his eyes and speak; between all the clinking of glassware and saucers, the whole Ocean collapses with a prophetic roar and vapors adorned with long, streaming banners. You only have to lightly interrogate this formidable sleeper for outpourings, and immediately the prophecies, the tone of magic, and that of revelation, and that of the Revolution, the tone of the fanatic and the apostle, surge forth. In any other time or place, Desnos, were to take up this delirium even rarely, would become the leader of a cult, the founder of a city, the tribune of a popular uprising. He talks, draws, and writes. Coincidences soon accompany the incantations of the sleepers. Soon we see the birth of an era of collective illusions - but are they illusions after all? The repeated experiments keep their subjects in a state of increasingly horrible irritation, a state of crazed anxiety. They lose weight. Their sleep grows increasingly prolonged. They don’t want to wake up. They fall asleep to one another and then converse like blind citizens from a distant world; they squabble, and sometimes you have to force knives out of their hands. Both physical toll, from the strain of plunging in and out of a cataleptic state that comes on like a final gasp, and the supplications of those who watch from the parapet of wakefulness, soon force the subjects of this extraordinary experience to suspend these exercises that neither laughter nor reticence have yet to disturb. Then critical thinking resumes. Some begin to wonder if they were actually sleeping. In their hearts, some begin to deny the occurrences. The idea of simulation comes back into play. As for myself, I have never been able to get a clear picture of this notion. To pretend something is different from actually thinking it? Yet whatever is thought, is. You cannot convince me otherwise. Moreover, how could pretense explain the brilliant qualities of the dream-speech that unfolded before me! The great shock of such a spectacle necessitated delirious explanations: the hereafter, metempsychosis, the marvelous. Such interpretations were met with sneering and disbelief. Honestly, these interpretations were not as false as previously believed. For without a doubt, these phenomena, whose hazarded paths turned us into the most passionate spectators, are in no way different in nature from all the supernatural facts that modest human reason discards, along with the most difficult equations, into the future’s trash bin of oblivion. Without a doubt, this is a modality of surrealism in which faith in sleep is to speech as the role of speed is to writing. This faith, and the mise en scène that follows, abolishes, like speed, the bars of censorship that trammel the mind. Here is a point at which freedom, that beautiful word, takes on a meaning for the first time: freedom begins where the marvelous is born. Now we can begin to imagine the existence of collective surrealisms, as when surrealism sways an entire people to believe in miracles and military victories and what happened finally at the Marriage at Cana and the battle of Valmy. And at the foot of this magic mill it is true, this alone is true, that normal, everyday water was turned into wine and blood, all while the hills sang. Oh you deranged unbelievers, you too have bowed your heads before armed words as they lifted up such a long stretch of azure.

 

*

An idea once formed does not restrict itself to merely being, it begins to reflect itself: it exists. Thus the concept of surreality retraced its steps for two years, bringing with it a universe of determinations. And while it folded in on itself, it rediscovered firstly the images that presided over its genesis, as a son does with his parents when his body is put together, all its parts squared away, ready for great mysteries and already wholly forgetful of those old geezers. It returned to the starting point of the dream, wherefrom it had emerged. But now the dream, by the light of surrealism, becomes clear and acquires significance. Thus, André Breton jots down his dreams, and, for the first time ever, they keep the dreamlike characteristics of their narrative. This was because the man who recalled them had accustomed his memory to references other than the small realities of watchmen. At this time, Robert Desnos also learns to dream without sleeping. He manages to dictate his dreams at will. Dreams, dreams, dreams, the realm of dreams expands all the time. Dreams, dreams, dreams, the blue sun of dreams finally drives the steely-eyed beasts back to their dens. Dreams, dreams, dreams on the lips of love, on the ciphers of happiness, on the sobs of care, on the signals of hope, in yards where people resign themselves to the pickaxe. Dreams, dreams, dreams, nothing but dreams where the wind errs and barking dogs take to the streets. O great Dream, in the pale morning of office buildings, don’t be attracted further by the first fallacies of dawn, those chalky cornices where you rest your elbows and mix your pure and labile features with the miraculous immobility of Statues! Dispel these intolerable clarities, the sky’s bloodlets that for too long have splashed in my eyes. Your slipper is in my hair, you genie with the face of smoke, remarkable darkness surrounded by my breath. Seize the rest of my life, rising tide of spume flowers. From omens above towers, from visions at the bottoms of pools of ink and in coffee dregs, in the migrations of birds at divinatory latitudes, hearts counseled by bloody fingers, from rumors, declare - ages unwind from the draperies - your kingdom and your cyclone, adorable siren, incomparable clown of caverns, o dream standing against the coral, the color of falls, the scent of the wind! 1924: under this number that pulls a dredge and hauls up a net full of sunfish, under this number adorned with disasters, with strange stars in its hair, the dream contagion spreads from urban to rural areas. Great examples arise from the purest of fields. Who’s that man at the edge of myth and sea, all snow and silence? Another, shut up in his trailer, with an army of servants. Another, who had barely opened his eyes on this world, who died before the police and his father, as a car passed below the prison walls; and that woman, that woman who had written on the café wall: “It is better to clean glasses than gunshot wounds.” Another, and what has he been doing in China all this time, between two dreams that sound like salt. Another, another: you painted the Night and it was Night itself. And you, the sky: and it was all emerald fate. Another dreams, and another dreams: the desert above the city, the shutters all alike and the steps padded with life, one would kill for much less. This one kills himself for much less: a pipe full of dreamy nonsense, the decor just the way we love it, and a handsome gold chronometer on the table. And that great one, isn’t he ashamed of his impossible little songs? He never imagined that life, in the end, is about “getting organized.” What cardboard cutout benefit does this other one acquire, who has laid a cold hand on human feeling and the purity of familial relationships? Saint-Pol-Roux, Raymond Roussel, Philippe Daudet, Germaine Berton, Saint-John Perse, Pablo Picasso, Giorgio de Chirico, Pierre Reverdy, Jacques Vaché, Léon-Paul Fargue, Sigmund Freud: your portraits hang on the walls of the dream chamber, you are the presidents of the Republic of Dreams.

And now, meet the dreamers.

 

*

There is a surrealist light: one that falls on displays of salmon-colored silk stockings, at the hour when cities ignite; one that blazes through the Benèdictine shops and its pale sister in the pearl of mineral-water deposits; one that illumines, in muted tones, the blue travel bureau, with its battlefield destinations, in Place Vendôme; one that hangs around late on the Avenue de l’Opèra, near Barclay, when the cravats turn into phantoms; or the beams of flashlights falling on murder victims and lovers alike. There is a surrealist glow in the eyes of all women. We have just knocked out a huge chunk of realism on the Boulevard de la Madeleine, and through this breach you can perceive a little bit of the landscape that extends to the works at the Moulin-Rouge in the citè Vèron, to the destruction of the old Parisian fortifications, to the sculpture parks of the Tuileries, to where the Gobelins brand the night with FORGIVENESS in phosphorescent letters, to subway vaults where the golden horses of Poulain chocolate trot in cavalcade, to the diamond mines where smugglers are at risk of rapacious disembowelment, to the solfataras where little dogs sometimes die. Much better than the great sun which he detests, Georges Limbour endures this day of the Beyond. We have not managed to pry him away from the top of the stairwell, where the masses hurled him at night, in Mainz, because he hated crosses and flags, the gaudy ornaments of victory in war. Andrè Masson presides over the release of doves at all crossroads: the beautiful knives he has seen everywhere are finally ready to be seized. If the houses of Paris resemble mountains, it’s because they are reflected by the monocle of Max Morise: didn’t he desecrate the large crucifix in the railroad station at Argent (Cher)? Paul Eluard: I have seen him trampled by cops and machinists on a piano and broken light bulbs, thirty to one against this starburst. A little later, I saw him at the feet of champagne in a land of serpentines. Then he entered an earthy shadow, where moral eclipses are the chandeliers of a ballroom unbound by the ocean, then he returned; he sees you. Delteil? He’s the young man whom Francis Jammes supplicated on behalf of his white hair, the young carnivore who passes the time with bloody images in the Meudon woods. Man Ray, who has tamed the largest eyes in the world, dreams in his own way, with knife-blocks and salt shakers: he gives meaning to the light, and now she can speak. Suzanne, are you blonde or brunette? She changes with the wind, and you can believe her when she says: water is man’s equal. Who is this prisoner caught in a giant snare? The gestures that Antonin Artaud makes in the distance register strangely in my heart. Mathias Lubeck, you have got to be kidding me; you’re not going to re-enlist in the colonial army? He says he’s ashamed that he doesn’t have any tattoos. Jacques Baron, on his boat, has just encountered some beautiful pale women: do you remember, dear friend, that evening I left you near Barbès? There were so many shady characters around, and you were not yet considering the Eastern seas. You decided to wing it all summer. André Breton: here’s someone about whom I can say nothing when I close my eyes; I find him at Moret, caught up in all the dust clouds on the bank paths of the Loing. By his ringlets we have long identified Philippe Soupault, who would parlay with chair menders and laugh in a disconcerting fashion always around noon. Denise, Denise: on the little street where people stop, doesn’t the café of colors always sing marvelously when you pass, and don’t they always kill themselves in the canal, at Rue Longue, wherever you take your pure shadow and your clear eyes? Jacques-André Boiffard refuses, sweetly, to cut his black sideburns. He’s seeking a job but doesn’t really want to work: I’m just putting that out there. Magic holds no secrets from Roger Vitrac, who is preparing the Incendiary Theater, where you die like you’re in a forest fire. He is also preparing to revive the cult of Absinthe, whose strainer-spoons have been reversed. Jean Carrive, the youngest known surrealist, is noted primarily for his magnificent sense of revolt: he stands up to the future with a torrent of blasphemies. Pierre Picon expands his protectorate over Spain. Francis Gèrard, reckless like no other, has just plunged into existential waters: would you happen to know of an extremely beautiful woman for him, one who would make his 20 year old self feel like a man forever lost? Simone comes from the land of hummingbirds, those little flashes of music, and she resembles the time of lime trees. Assailed by spectators at the Petit Casino and in various cafés around the capital, Robert Desnos has often and faithfully tested death as a word: Words, he says, are you myths like the myrtles of the dead? Earthquakes, that’s where Max Ernst, who paints cataclysms the way others paint battle scenes, ends up having the most ease and pleasure: it’s curious that the earth isn’t always trembling. René Crevel has never been able to understand that this planet is solidly fixed in its place with the help of meridians and parallels: he is more of a somnambulist than anyone. Extreme fits of anger and a fierce resolve make Pierre Naville an odd one: I believe him willingly fated to attempt a sort of assassination; I’d like to learn palmistry only to discover if he’ll end up quite an unhappy man. Marcel Noll, my old pal Noll: you don’t try to desert us, yet who are you if not a slave to the phantoms in the depths of your eyes? People, you see, they’re just specks of dust. Imagine: Charles Baron has left the hotel where you two were neighbors. He relays news of his brother. He hasn’t lost an ounce of favor with that admirable woman to whom I once again offer my respects. And the one who is capable of everything, the one who lives, quite simply, on the heroic plane, the man who has never forearmed himself against existence, the one we encounter at the Soleil Levant, the one who defies good sense with every breath: that’s Benjamin Péret, who has a little whale on a leash, or perhaps a little sparrow... 

Too bad Georges Malkine is in Nice today! I no longer have any idea of elegance, and much of the mystery of this poorly lit city has left for the Cote d’Azur. Maxime Alexandre? He thinks I’ve forgotten about him. You don’t forget despair. The latest news I have of Renée Gauthier is bad. It prevents me from speaking about that young woman who is torn completely between something like passion and an ingenuity that nothing could take away from her. My dear Savinio, abandon Rome and come join us, pushing before you a cart piled with the bodies of Niobids. Everyone I’ve named here is expecting you. Great things are about to take place. We’ve suspended a woman from the ceiling of an empty room, where anxious men, carrying dark secrets, stop by each day. This is how we came to know Georges Bessière, like a punch to the head. We are working on a task that remains enigmatic even to ourselves, in front of a volume of Fantômas stuck to the wall with forks. Visitors, whether born in far-off climates or at the doorstep, contribute to the development of this formidable machine, which will destroy what is in order to achieve what is not. At 15 Rue de Grenelle, we’ve opened a romantic inn for unclassifiable ideas and continuous revolt. Whatever hope still resides in this desperate universe is going to turn its last frenzied glances toward our derisory little shop: “This is all leading to a new declaration of human rights.”

 

*

 

In one of Marcel Allain’s novels, when the mysterious Red-Heart, after a thousand adventures and thirst and prolonged dangers and their illusions, reaches the depths of the Celestial Empire at the legendary tomb where he hopes to find the power-conferring ring, and as nocturnal birds take flight from the dusty stone slab of the desecrated sepulchre… what does he see? The clearly defined impression of a Wood-Milne heel. And no doubt that once again, my friends, we leave the substance for the shadow; perhaps we question the abyss in vain. But it’s the shadow, but it’s the silence that we pursue for all eternity, but it’s the grand failure that endures. Why isn’t there a monument in every city and town so inscribed: To Phaeton, from a grateful humanity? What does it matter? He had a thing for vertigo, and he fell!

If I suddenly consider the course of my life, if I forget the conditioning of my mind, if I dominate ever so slightly the sense of this life flowing through me, that escapes me, suddenly... what does this all mean? Suddenly. I expect nothing from the world: what does discovery matter to me, and how is it relevant as a concept? To know something! The stone falling through the abyss knows only its acceleration, and, to be honest, it probably isn’t even aware of that. Man must be seen in the grip of his mirrors, crying out in the pathos of his own theatrics: what will become of it all? As if he had a choice. Raging sea of ultimate helplessness, I am the cliff that you wear away. Rise, rise, moon child, oh tide: I’m the one who wears away, scattered by the wind. It’s simply habit, when the night is overly dense, with ghosts, with terrors, that I thrust my hands toward the beams of the lighthouse revolving in the distance. Add to that the mental trait that can delineate famous constellations: simple habit. If I chant softly. If I come, if I go. If I contemplate. If I open, exclusively, eyes that have only seen nothing.

But of all the tunes I sometimes hum, there is still one that even now gives me an unbound illusion of spring and meadows and, almost, the illusion of true freedom. Just when I think I’ve lost this tune, it comes back to me. Free, free: it’s the hour when the wind’s chain of shimmering links flies through the moirè of the sky, it’s the hour when ball and chain become slaves to the ankle, when handcuffs become jewelry. Sometimes on the walls of his dungeon the prisoner carves an inscription that sounds like the fluttering of wings on stone. Sometimes he carves on the head of his stake the feathered symbol of Love on Earth. It’s because he dreams, and I dream, swept away, I dream. I dream a long dream where everyone is dreaming. I don’t know what will become of this new enterprise of dreams. I dream at the edge of the world and the night. What did you want to tell me, you, strangers in the distance, screaming through cupped hands, laughing at the movements of the sleeper? On the shores of night and crime, on the shores of crime and love. Oh Rivieras of the unreal, your casinos are not restricted by age, and they open their gaming rooms to those who wish to lose! Believe me, it’s no longer time to win.

 

Who’s there? Oh, very well: let in the infinite.

 

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