The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Literature from Mexico City

Owen Vince: 1 Poem Published

Poems by Owen Vince (UK)

Published in The Ofi Press issue 41



Dreams of the city / Santa Teresa (after Bolaño)



The first dream came to me past midnight,

to an avenue of linden trees (which I wouldn't recognise

by day), to white buildings and a square surrounded

by cafe tables and umbrellas to shield their customers

both from the sun and my sight of them. It had a pleasantness

to its arrangement and I heard, in my mother's

voice, that here you can be at home, and love

without fear or doubt. But there I sensed

the giving way of space at last to narrow lanes

as thin as fingers, to

the merciless work of knives

on the pages

of unsuspecting skin.



The second dream came after I returned to sleep. I must

have knocked a glass of water from the table for the city itself

was made only of glass surrounded by an endless

sea, almost as if it were a snow globe

or a lighthouse, if living inside of it were being cut

by snow or snow was a burial

rather than a cause for joy. I watched a boy skim

a flat stone across a pool

of contaminated water – it rose

into the wall and turned the world inside out, the glass

falling like droplets of rain if rain were unbearable

and sharp. I woke

to the rock of a waxing moon

which seemed

to crush me.



The third dream was of a city

nearly perfect in its arrangement -

I walked along a boulevard

of friendly faces, took time

to turn the pages of a book, smoke

a cigarette and watch as people

shared drinks and intimacies

by a glittering ocean. It was merciful

in its plenitude and I wondered

if this now came at some sort

of cost – as if there was beneath

our feet a grave of countless

victims of a plague, or war. I began

to expect spectres or ghosts,

the voice of disease. The only fear

came to me when I knew the dream

itself was coming apart at its seams – knew

that somehow, soon, I would wake

to an empty bed, a fucked boiler,

and a city's rain.

About the Poet

Owen is a poet, ambient musician, and editor. He lives in Norwich, UK. His work has appeared in Magma, The Lampeter Review, and Hinterland Journal, among others.

Image: "Unter den linden at night" by Ernesto.