Archive for June, 2011

the river


Sometimes a wrinkle is a river

and the eyes are the fountain

where  tears gather to stream

That is what wrinkles are for

I told my grandmother

And she agreed


the old woman


As the ferry left the cold harbour

She was still standing there on the quay

With her grey hair waving

And her hand shaking

Everything moving, still she was a rock

She didn’t want to go

Be a part of the boarding flock

Just to go to the mainlands hospital

For her funeral to be

She just stood there and waited

For her time to come



Just another love song but one straight from the heart


Give me one reason why you should love me

when all that I am is a mess

Tell me why  you are not running  away

or better yet, tell me not, more or less


Tell me not why you should leave me

Tell me nothing I don’t want to know

You say I am the most beautiful

And I think that you must be blind

You say I am the one for you

And I think that you are too kind


More or less a mess and loving you

More or less worthy of you

More or less and that is what we are dreaming of

Tell me we are not blinded

By love


 dedicated to my husband, who doesn’t speak English 🙂

entry for thursdays rally

dog on the qui vive


Just when the postman is about to deliver

the letter that could mean a lot

the dog hears a noise

and the dog makes the choice

for the letter

not  to matter

attacking while it falls on the mat


So that is that,

and it is fine

job well done,

letter gone.

Important letters

Are not what matters

In the world of a qui vive canine


Dance of the Northern light


Lie me again of love and of light

So the night makes  sense to me

As tonight there is no night

And darkness won’t shelter me


Love me again in a night of just verse

As tonight there is no night

This night the time is in converse

Lie me again of love and of light


of dances of the  green Northern light

now darkness won’t shelter me

As tonight there is no night

Let  the night make sense to me


Hold my hand


Is it weird to ask you

although we don’t know each other very well

to hold my hand

for a moment

so I can feel

someone cares

someone is there with the same blood temperature

someone is not a cold fish

Thank you nurse.


to do or not to do


One foot out of bed and I ponder

Maybe it is better to stay

under the covers

investigating you

like the real bedroom sleuth

But my other foot already follows

and gone is the mood

I wonder what the rest of the day may be like


Abe again – entry for Bluebellbooks

These are 3 chapters to this story, entries for Bluebellbooks short story slam,  the first 2 have already been entries, this is the last one. To make it easier to read, the first two episodes are here too.


“When the wind hauls, you can hear the Indians come,”  my cousin Billy had said. Apparently, he said it often, he was a drunk I suppose, and rather useless in his little hometown somewhere in Arizona. Now I had never met him,  we lived in The Netherlands, but his mother wrote her brother, my father,  letters, describing her hard life in the cooking hot desert, living with her awkward son. She made it a tradition to tell us about how often Billy had been in trouble with the local police,  how he ruined the roof one day setting fire to it,  how he was found more dead than alive in a well and so on.

“He is getting weirder and weirder,” she wrote one day.  Her monthly letter had, for some reason, been lost in the mail and travelling for weeks before it finally got delivered and we all were anxious to know what he had done this time.

It was Summer, a hot day had ended in a thunderstorm and the lamp flickered. We sat around the table drinking lemonade as my father read on.  “He now thinks he can see ghosts. He claims he has befriended a man with a Stetson on a horse,  riding towards the horizon every night. He calls him Abe.”

“He must have seen too many John Wayne movies, “ my mother chuckled. “That part of your family has always had a screw loose.”

“There is no movie theatre where they live. Nothing there but sand, rocks, snakes and#3p” His voice went silent, abruptly. He stared at the window.

The lightning put everything in a flash, and for a second we could all see the arrow, sticking on the windowpane. Then it was dark for a moment. Thunder made speaking impossible. The lamp had died.

My mother found a candle and matches. My father went to take a look at the window.

There was no arrow to be seen.

“Read on,” my mother said, she was hoarse. My father’s hands were trembling.

“Billy is getting worse and worse,” my aunt had written. “What am I to do? I think I will have to send him over to you. ”

“No way!” my mother  immediately exclaimed. “He can’t stay here! Why, he can’t even speak Dutch! We haven’t seen him since he was a little boy!”

“Tomorrow I will send her a telegram that it is out of the question!” my father said.  “Now all of you, go to bed!”

At that moment, there was some knocking on the door. A visitor at eleven o’clock in the evening?

My father put the door ajar.

“Yes?” we could hear him ask.

“Hi there!”

We stared at each other. An American?

My father let him in.

“My name is Abe,” he said. “I just want to tell you that your sister’s son Billy decided to stay in Amsterdam. Good evening.”

He left as quickly as he had come. We stood in disbelief as we heard horse hooves running away.

The telegram was never sent and no one ever heard of Billy anymore. My aunt died that same year.


entry for

part 2: Billy

It was a dark day in Amsterdam, some years after Abe had visited our home. I was eighteen now and lived in Amsterdam , where I felt right at home. I rented a tiny room with no running water. My best friend at work was a gay hooker, he would make money during our lunch breaks from the city’s energy company, where we had to copy forms,  and with those extra earnings he bought fancy  food to share. We would often eat his salads and sandwiches in the Vondelpark next to our office building, me sitting, and he standing, for obvious reasons. His name was Rick.

He was a real nice guy, earrings and lipstick and all. So this one day it was too rainy for eating in the park, and none of his regular customers had phoned for a trick, as he called his second job, so we decided to take shelter in a café and have lunch there.

It was the kind of weather we had when this Abe showed up years before, thunder and lightning. As the storm started to get nasty outside,  we entered. We wanted a beer. The café was full of rather stoned hippies who smiled friendly and instead of beer, we decided to go with the flow and have tea.

The air was thick of hashish.  Everyone was talking English or Arab, and we forgot we had to go back to our desks to push pencils.

We befriended some Americans and went to their hotel room, my friend to smoke pot and I just listened to their fantastic music recordings from India and sort of danced to it. Hey we were hippies, right?

All of the sudden there was trouble in the hotel, we heard shouting and angry banging on doors. It was a police raid, no idea what they were looking for. The Americans got nervous.

We all decided to leave the shabby hotel room by the window,  it was a bit of a climb down. We had to take a fence, and all of a sudden, in the middle of a thunder-storm, we were in somebody’s city garden.

“Hi there.” The man in the white suit waved, we had to follow him inside. “Welcome, come in,” he said, in English. “So you are Americans? The police is after you?”

We all nodded, even Rick and me. He seemed to like Americans.

We stayed all evening,  drinking wine and eating nice little dishes of raw fish (sushi, but we didn’t know that then).

The rain stopped. Rick and I had to leave and we said our goodbyes. It was obvious the Americans were too stoned to go anywhere.

“Thanks for the shelter,” I said.

“You are welcome. This is not really my house, you know. That food isn’t mine. It is from the man who wants me dead.” He laughed.  “He is in Germany now. He took my wife, so I take his house. He will have a surprise when he comes back tomorrow! Six stoned Yanks in his living room! And this!”

All of the sudden I saw a picture on the wall. It was a picture of my cousin Billy, the same picture my parents had on the mantelpiece for years.

“That is him,” the criminal creep said.  “And I will be waiting for him.”

I now saw a gun sticking out of his pocket. I pulled Rick out of the house and we ran away. I tried to tell him what had happened, but he just cried.  He was too stoned and drunk. I took him to his room where we both fell asleep. The next day we went to work and never spoke about what had happened.

A week later my mother, now a widow,  called me at work. Cousin Billy had died and in his will he had left everything to her.

I didn’t ask how he had died. She got a nice inheritance and went to America to live with her sister-in-law.

entry for

part 3: Abe again

When my mother died a few years later, there was still some money left from Billie’s inheritance and I got some cash to go on a holiday. Of course my best friend Rick went along. We made an odd couple perhaps, but hey we had fun.

We hitchhiked to Spain and there, in a marina, we decided to buy a boat. A Yacht, it was a wonderful ship.

Now neither of us had a clue how to sail, but that didn’t seem to matter.

We left port on a beautiful evening.

“Frannie?” Rick asked while we were watching the sun set.   “Do you want to live forever?”

“Sure,” I said.

“I don’t. Well , that and the test results came in positive.”

All of a sudden everything changed. The weather, as a storm started. Rick, as  he was a patient now. He got HIV.

We sailed through a rough sea and entered a port of which we didn’t know the name. It was a big harbor town.

We decided to sell the ship. Rick needed some rest.

Somehow we managed to get 20.000 dollars for the  ‘Amazing Madness’, as the yacht was called, and she was not worth every penny.

We needed a place to live. Then I saw this board.

“Heavenly cruises.  Boarding now.”

A cruise! I was convinced this was the thing to do. There was a small office, a bit shabby, with one, very skinny lady, who looked at us with sad eyes.

“You have come for the  Heavenly Cruise,” she said.  We nodded,  Rick was too sick already to stand.

“Tickets,” she said.

“We have none yet.”

“Okay.  I had some cancellations. How much can you spare?”

It wasn’t the best deal I ever made, okay. I paid all my 20.000 and we were signed off through a door. It lead to a quay and there she was.  The “Rose”.

“It isn’t really a passenger ship,” Rick said.

“No, I think it is an old coaster?”

We followed some people, there was a silent queue walking up the gangway. One by one we went aboard.

The ship left the harbor and soon we were in full sea.

We were given a small hut and there we slept for hours, we were exhausted.

When I rose to get some food, I noticed something.  Everyone on deck looked sad. Depressed. Sick. The ship was in a very poor condition.

“Where can I get something to eat?” I asked some old man in a uniform.

“Why bother,” he asked.  “It will be over soon. No need to eat.”

I was a bit astonished, but all the passengers seem to think the same way.

Some were crying, two were dancing in the rain.

I did some investigation, this was really a strange ship. The captain and mate were very old men, and they looked as if they were dying.

Every one looked as if they were dying. There was no food anywhere.

“I missed the briefing,” I said to a lady in an old fur coat.  “Where exactly are we going to?”

“Oh, it will be over soon,” she said. “Look, they are already putting the dynamite on fire.”


And then I noticed a pamphlet.

“Euthanasia cruises. Your last voyage.”

Suddenly a little boat showed up. A man climbed on board, grabbed me and carried me down again. The other passengers and the crew members just looked dense.

“Wait, what is this, what are you doing?” I asked. “Rick! Rick is still there!”

 He wore a cowboy hat.  He put me in the little speedboat and we went like lightning, away from the “Rose”.

I recognized him, while there was a big explosion.

It was Abe.

“Howdy,” he said.  “Just in time, huh?”

The end

entry for


this story was awarded ! 🙂

The slammed door


The rough wood of the slammed door

was tearing up my skin

Like your one-day-beard

before had scratched my chin


You wouldn’t let me in

and the door fell

out of its rusty joints


There was a whistling breeze


Then I saw

there was no one in

at all

just a table with a razor bowl

and a rusty razor


The big blush

“The sun has been flirting with me” is a quote from David Agnew (BelfastDave)  who generously allowed me to use it  🙂

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