from 88 Dreamsby Juan Eduardo Cirlot translated from the Spanish by Fedra Rodriguez
An immense moon, whose whitish decaying matter is thickly strewn with volcanoes, was quite close to me, surrounded by an absolute darkness. The lower edge of the sphere leaned against my work table.
The room was full of unmoving animals who awaited an unknown signal to come to life and fall on me; especially serpents and beings that resembeld wicker sticks.
Nativity figures had an ordinary shape and were arranged in their traditional places, however, they were immensely distant from each other.
The “woman from Paris” came out of the darkness and approached me. She was naked and her body was of of grey clay, viscous and wet. Nevertheless, I was not repulsed but instead I felt a great happiness to be there, next to her.
I was tossing logs into the bonfire and, when falling into the flames, they were transformed into birds. From far away and surrounding me rose a magnificent rampart, circumventing the entire horizon.
In a river, with water up to her knees, there was a naked woman, of white flesh and large harmonious limbs. Several crocodiles swam nearby. Finally, standing up on its hind legs, one of them embraced her.
I kill off many enemies, always fighting with two swords, one in each hand.
Upon arriving in the city of ice, built amidst the peaks, I felt wholeheartedly happy; a great serenity took hold and made me unconscious. I watched as my hands became pieces of crystalline water.
He was forced by María del Carmen to live under swamp water. As it lacked depth, he had to move forward lying on his belly and, only from time to time, could he take his head out of the mud to breathe.
The convict is taken to the place of torture,
kept in leg irons and dragged by a horse; although the animal does not move very rapidly, this forces him to perform many swift movements while walking, to prevent from falling to the ground. The device that will put him to death is a crane which feeds on living flesh.
Its metal has a sort of reddish vibration.
There is a big gray chamber, illuminated by an open door, from which smoke pours out. The walls contain signs from the Hebrew alphabet.
I was heading for a great landscape of calcareous contexture in the dead of night, and with some dry olive branches I beat my own hip to turn myself into her.
At the end of the corridor, as soon illuminated as in the dark, there was a clown smiling at me.
I had my chest opened by a large wound and precious gems flourished in the lacerated flesh. I was stretched out on a desk covered with a white tablecloth. There was no other piece of furniture in the room, and the dirty flaking walls saddened me more than my own wound.
One could barely see through the vibrating atmosphere. On one end of the horizon, there was a pale and trembling sun; at the opposite end, the moon appeared. I extended my arms to orient myself and could go into town, but it no longer existed.
In the church, the images of saints are not on the altar, but rather on the floor in disorder.
She is sitting beside a window that almost takes up the entire wall. She is dressed like a bride and her white gown is stained with a few drops of my blood.
Towards the terrace where I find myself, the stars go down as spheres in various violent colors, setting against the intensely dark sky. Bolts of lightning strike in the distance, but I feel an immense sweetness, because I am thus living with celestial objects.
Secluded beaches, bristled with black masts, with posts that look as though they were made of burned wood.
The dreams in which, obviously, I am in danger, as I find myself under imposing and crystalline bodies of water—large rivers, a sea—give me joy.
I see an organ as high as a mountain. Then I go to the cathedral and as I open the door, I see that it is full of lions which roam through the nave, the altar and the high pulpits.
Sometimes I am a Christian thrown to the beasts; at other times, a spectator who, from the circus bleachers, contemplates the spectacle.
A city slowly melts away as if it were consumed by an invisible fire.
In the main square of a town they celebrate something like a bullfight. But it consists of the following: a girl torments a bull that is incapable of defending itself, and she slices off its skin in large strips, rips out its tongue and gouges out its eyes.
When one places their hands on the table, great symphonies are heard.
From the pockets of my jackets, left throughout the house, hung on the back of the chairs, scattered all over the ground, stuck in the closet whose doors only open halfway, a multitude of strange objects that I cannot fully recognize comes out; some of them appear to be bird feathers, others are like crumpled and burned papers.
ContributorsJuan Eduardo Cirlot
J.E. CIRLOT (born April 9, 1916) was a Spanish poet, art critic, mythologist, hermeneutist and musician. His best known work in English is his seminal Dictionary of Symbols. Beginning in the 1940s, Cirlot ascribed himself to Surrealism and Dadaism that soon took on a spiritualist tradition of universal longing. His passionate interest in symbology permeated all of his literary activity and work as an art critic. Cirlot was a member of the outlawed Dau al Set "seventh face of the dice" school, and he frequently collaborated with Joan Brossa and Antoni Tàpies. Cirlot conducted comprehensive studies on medieval symbology and hermeneutics, accruing an impressive collection of swords, and his prolific and varied poetic output, more than fifty books, remained independent of the trends that dominated the poetry of the postwar period; nevertheless, his impact has never ceased to be reevaluated through continuous revisions, re-editions, appearances of unpublished works, and tributes. He passed away on May 11, 1973. To the best of our knowledge this is the first time extracts from his journal 88 Dreams have appeared in English.Fedra Rodríguez
FEDRA RODRÍGUEZ HINOJOSA currently works as a translator, writer, journal referee, university lecturer and academic researcher in the fields of Francophone Literature and Intersemiotic Translation from Literature to Cinema. Her works in the field of translation comprise different language combinations, such as Portuguese and Spanish (both her mother tongues), as well as French, English and Galician. Her most recent translations include texts from writers representing different genres and periods, like Raymond Roussel, M.P. Shiel, Xosé Neira Vilas and Muhsin Al-Ramli.