Thursday, April 16, 2009

I am in a place that looks and feels familiar. The air here is thick, almost gelatinous, and it, too, feels familiar. I sit at a round table in the corner of a room painted creamy yellow and filled with light. Although I am right-handed, a pen is poised in my left. There is a large sheet of paper on the table before me, and it is filled with strange words made with letters I don't fully recognize, though I apparently wrote them. There is an extravagant aloe vera plant in a round terra cotta pot, and nothing else. A bird sings urgently outside.

A phone rings. Suddenly the receiver is in my left hand instead of the pen. I look at the caller i.d., which says "Neruda." I am astonished, and wonder how and why Neruda would be calling me from beyond the grave. I hesitate for a moment, then press the "talk" button. The sound on the other end is scratchy and distant. A barely audible male voice speaks my name, then something else I have trouble hearing or understanding. The only word I recognize, or perhaps remember, is "estilo," as in "stylus," and also "style." The line goes dead. I marvel at having heard Neruda's voice like that.

On the table in front of me now is a glass jar containing colorful fragments of vitrified tile decorated with glyphs and designs. A bright azure blue is the color that stands out most. I awaken here and remember the Spanish word for "tile" - "azulejo". "Azulejo," I say, "azulejo," again and again.

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