The Third Reich of Dreams

In place of street signs,
which had been abolished,
posters had been put up
on every corner, proclaiming
in white letters on a black
background the 20 words
people weren’t allowed
to say. The first was "Lord."

In the middle of the night the telephone rang.
A dull voice said, "This is the Monitoring Office."
I found myself begging and pleading that this one time
I be forgiven—please just don't report anything
this one time, don’t pass it on, please just forget it.
The voice remained absolutely silent and then hung up
without a word, leaving me in agonizing uncertainty.

"Public Interest Comes Before Self-Interest"
Banners with the slogan fluttered
in endless repetition along a street.

An old man was reading
in his apartment when,
quite suddenly, the walls
around him disappeared.
From the street outside,
a loudspeaker boomed,
"According to the decree
of the 17th of this month
on the Abolition of Walls..."

I dreamed that it was
forbidden to dream,
but I did anyway.


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