The Dream of Dario
( in a deep resonant voice)
Thinkest thou to be somewhat of celebrity?
The prince of Golconda, a literary deputy?
Or perhaps a direct progeny of “El Conde Lucanor”?
( ASTURIAS is shocked, scared out of his wits)
W-wh- who… is that speaking in the middle of the night?
A ghost ? A spirit? A vision from the past?
Someone or something to haunt me as my troubled soul lies aghast?
SILENCE! The voice of one who speaks from a past forgotten,
in the wake of all the fame you have begotten.
It is not the ghost of Lida Sal, nor the presence de algo mal.
Steel your nerves and calm your timid heart.
For I am only another soul that too had to depart,
An admirer of your work and your awards I be,
Lustful for the glitter of the golden prize hanging above thee.
Of great similarity does this happening bear
To the tales and myths of my literature fair,
To the stories from my writings of magical real-
SILENCE! Your vociferous interruptions have upset my corroded liver
And I do not even have a physical body.
Arm thyself for discourse, fill up thy quiver
Prove thyself to be of good taste, not gaudy
I apologize, Your Ghostliness, for my lack of alacrity,
I was only remarking upon the similarity,
Of this encounter, and the fantastic and mythical aspects
That we see characteristic of magical realism.
Surely you are aware of the supernatural happenings in many of my stories,
And the glories contained therein.
Yes, of such I am well aware,
but one must never forget the works of those who bear,
The burden of trailblazing and exploring new,
Frontiers of literature, as fresh as the dew.
Your Ghostliness, whatever do you mean?
Could you provide me with more context,
And not be so lean?
It has come to my attention that, in light of your recent successes,
(looks over at the Nobel Prize award hanging above Asturias’s bed)
Thou hast committed a sin worthy of multiple redresses.
Thou hast failed to pay proper respects to the greats,
The giants of Latin American literature of late.
Thou standeth on the shoulders of countless poets and bards.
Be on the lookout, for I have thy calling card.
It appears that I must educate thee, seeing thou hast a slow,
understanding on what I am most known to be: el padre del modernismo.
(DARIO disappears in a ghostly flash)
(The day after, ASTURIAS, shaken up from last night’s supernatural visit, decides to take a walk in the park. He walks by a park pond, and his reflection in the water turns into the reflection of DARIO. DARIO has taken ASTURIAS back over a year in time, yet ASTURIAS does not realize it)
Be careful, now, Miguel, of the following route.
One might wonder if in thy suit
Thou mayest drown shouldest thou fallest in,
to this body of water, and fail to float, seeing thou lackest fin.
Akin to the tale of thy character Lida Sal,
And perhaps findest thyself drifting down the canal.
Ah Lida Sal, Your Ghostliness!
Of that you are correct,
And I must be honest, your latest lesson I did not expect
To come at such a bright hour, as the sun blazes bright,
I had always thoughts ghosts came in the night.
(Protesters from the May 1968 movement flood the park and city; great commotion)
Miguel, seest thou the great tribulation of my beloved France?
I brought you from the future to endure this glance,
An image of Goya's dream: Saturn devouring his son recurring
As the pain of capitalist imperialism is stirring.
(ASTURIAS looks around at the tumultuous scene and frowns apprehensively)
With so much noise and commotion,
One can only think it is raining cats and dogs;
I feel my imagination a new locomotion,
Creating within me a different way to look at this tableau,
I see is flock of Spartans yapping and shouting in a distant row;
It feels like they are demanding political recognition
My coloured corn skin breathes sadness, as I see those pigs dressed in charcoal beating with iron sticks and shielded by escutcheons.
These revolutionists armed with banners of all sizes written in blood their profane prose of disagreement, Marxism and a large number of chanters.
( Dario responds)
Thy quintessential style, the trademark of your prose,
Characteristic of magical realism, oh how every word flows;
Of thy sound and skill, I not would expect anything less,
For thou hast created your own style,
Those who hear are blessed.
Once I critiqued a white-whiskered grandfather,
the church and the pope as well,
because I wanted to stay away from those European contraptions,
And escape the dismal cell.
To create is only natural.
And this I say with glee,
That Benito Jojón is to my liking
He likes to check the package of Lida Sal. I
on the other hand, love the perfume coming from the breast,
this most definitely would make me feel blessed.
This part of our lesson is over.
(DARIO takes ASTURIAS back to December 1969)
(ASTURIAS is at Cafe Madrid below the hotel he is staying in and is drinking a cup of coffee. The ghost of DARIO appears once more in the reflection of the coffee as ASTURIAS lifts up the cup to his lips)
Before thy sip, lo, I have returned!
It is time that thou shouldest learn!
The final and last lesson in the series,
An end to all of thy queries.
In my life, I was dedicated to defying materialism.
‘Twas one of the tenets of my work in modernismo.
Rejecting Western materialism was in my most desired intentions,
yet at the same time, I forgot about my own traditions.
Ah, yes, the pursuit of material goods so rampant in our culture.
(Sips his coffee)
Just when I had thought thou wast learning,
(Seems I shall have to keep on yearning)
Dost thou not realize
And hast not my prose opened thy eyes?
To see that materialism allowed for that sip,
Of coffee to get in your strawberry mouth?
Hast thou in thy acuity slipped?
(ASTURIAS coughs and sputters coffee)
Your Ghostliness, whatever do you mean? My strawberry mouth?
Insatiable in nature,
Unquenchable in thirst,
The search of the West for goods to produce and consume,
Such has produced the worst.
Conditions for the workers, so harsh to mention,
Reflect capitalism’s true nature as the source of declension.
For in that cup of coffee, ambrosia to thy lips,
Were workers and men beaten at the lash of whips.
I suppose this could end our lectures here,
Until we meet again, for I must disappear.
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