Vallejo and I

(Based on a real dream)

The poet sits opposite me. He has that stern face I always see in his photos, with features that seem sculpted with an incompetent ax. At this point I do not remember if he shakes my hand or if he greets me with a trivial phrase. But I do not forget that he seats crossing her legs and looks at me with the sharp eye of a chieftain.

"I come from a meeting with Neruda, he said. It was intense." I say nothing. I merely observe his dark and old jacket; I stretch my arm and drink a glass of something that apparently is water. Then, the shock: "I want you to hear what I recently wrote."

It’s too good to be true. Cesar Vallejo is just a couple of meters from me, and he wants to read me some unpublished verses. But I’m too proud even in dreams , I guess that, because I hide my surprise as he pulls out a yellowish piece of paper from his pocket. 

Now he reads. With all the metaphysical air in the world, César Vallejo reads "A man is looking at a woman …" and I immodestly say "I know that verse,” and he replies" No, I just write it." I try to prove otherwise and I recite with him the whole stanza ( "a man is looking at a woman, / is looking immediately / with your sumptuous bad ground / and look at both hands / and tomb two breasts / and The two men move "), but everything is meaningless, because Vallejo ignores me and continues engrossed in the pastern.

He whistles the ¨s¨, as befits those born in Santiago de Chuco. " Carpentier did the same with the r" I say, and he alludes, I do not know why, to a Marxist quotation. Daring, I ask him for Georgette. "I do not know who she is," he replies. I feel I’ve been dodged, that he mocks and provokes me: "Actually, I dislike your prose. Not even Paco Yunque escapes from this "… He ignores me protected in his long straight hair covered with gel.

I do not remember what happened after he referred to Robert Desnos and Tristan Tzara. I do not know what he said on them, although I know that he said something. B ut I remember that at some point I recited Espergesia; I stated the most sublime poetry of Spanish language, unsurpassed by Quevedo, Borges and Machado, were all in ¨Los Heraldos Negros¨ (The Black Heralds), and I also recognized I envy his poem ¨Bordas de Hielo .¨

That is a corny poem, said he. "It’s the best corny poem of literature," I replied. After that (or was it before?) I felt I saw him smile, and I took advantage to tell two of my poems. Two poems of which only a couple of lines survive in my mind: "Your name is the shadow of my name / It duplicates mine, or almost, but never reverses it ".

That picture is clear in my mind: Vallejo gently celebrated me and found my verses had some similarities with someone´s called Velar Jolasec that I falsely told I knew who he was. "That Polish was unsurpassed, “he said. "Yes, the Poles are colossal," I added.

From that moment my dream is blurred, and I presume I woke up soon. Or, who knows, maybe it was immediately. Perhaps all happened in a few seconds, or maybe lasted all night. But the true, reliable, or terrible thing is that now I write with Vallejo before my eyes, intact and rigorous, as indigenous ghosta with his legs crossed.
 

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