Archive for November, 2013


In the café with no music
where the presumed mute barman worked,
there used to be a silence
in between your thoughts and mine,
a secret universe where we could meet.

As you made one of those thin cigarettes your ally
and smoke would curl upon the yellow sooted wall,
the contours of your face were fading in the grey.

Only a street away from school
was the place where all was possible
but nothing happened.
Your hand was close to mine,
you could have reached.

Remember how the barman stood as always,
his neck seemed broken
as he dried his glasses with that cloth,
the sunbeams with the dancing dust,
us dancing without touching without music
but the beating of our hearts so every move
was moving us apart some more.

The barman smiled and sunshine made him like an angel.
He didn’t hear the silent conversation that went on.
It used to be a place where we would be in silence between classes.

Out of the café’s window we could watch the birds fly free
across the graveyard over the old stones,
where no one lied that we would know,
we didn’t need much more at all.
This place, not ours, was our shelter
from painfull foolish loudness, laughter.
We sat in rain outside during our lunch together
or helped the barman do the dishes, and this was so enough.

Some moments after we had left one day,
the barman screamed out loud.
He fell while we were inside school. The postman was his witness.

We came to know. His death, which was the end of our silence,
although we did not know him well, meant that we had no choice but talk.
As if a rope had broken, something snapped and let all go,
we had to speak of him a while,
and of much more, we cried the rainy day that he was buried,
when we realised no people came to see him off.

We hardly knew his name but how we knew his voice.
And now his scream, that we had missed by seconds,
came standing there between us as the reaper,
the dust still dancing in the sunlight.

The café was no longer our hiding place from noise. It closed.
Sometimes I see your face in smoke
or hear your heart in silence.



The bracelet belonged to my mother’s grandmother,
my grandmother’s mother, my great-grandmother,
my granddaughter’s great-great-great-grandmother,
and it was made of the chain of a watch
that belonged to god knows whom.
And one day it will be hers,
my granddaughter’s, to pass it on
to her granddaughter, and she will say:
“This once belonged to your great-great-great-great-great-grandmother,
my great-great-great-grandmother,
your great-great-grandmother’s great-grandmother,
the mother of your great-great-great-great-grandmother,”
and the kid won’t give a damn.

I would like to put a photo here of the bracelet, but it is in the attic somewhere 🙂 The picture is my great-grandmother and her husband and children, my grandmother with the dark hair, her sister was blonder 🙂

The maze

Lost at times in time and mind and never really found,
playing hide and seek with shadows of your past.
Emotions are best players in this game.

Lost, your name is mentioned nowhere, no familiar voices,
you have no one to go to, thoughts live in a maze.
To be alone is not a phase; it is forever.

Lost again and this time serious, an end,
here is no difference between your nightmares and reality.
Now all is lost and life is over: this – you know.

Found as you are in what is called psychosis
and this means constant nightmare. No escape.
A prison cell where you hear screaming in the darkness.
But you won’t tell. No, you won’t tell. You promised.

The pretender

There is a comet coming
and if we rise real early
in the dark, cold night,
we might have a change
to get a glance,
to see this ball on fire,
a coming piece of hot ice from afar
pretending to be some kind of a star.

I doubt I want to leave my bed
as from description
I think that we already met
in a bar some years ago
and his name was Harry.


Sharing the first light

Someone distant to share
the first light of morning,
dust dancing in sunbeams.
After a night of feeling alone,
to find, saved in a message
your words, returning and lingering
to give this day meaning.
Someone to share
just about everything.


Demented in my dream

In my dream already I’m demented,
I don’t remember how to catch the ferry.
Like on a square, how to know where you are
when all the houses seem to be the same.
To buy a ticket, I am running up and down, get lost.
I’ll be too late, I call, people are watching,
eyes with unhidden scorn.
There are trains too that I shall never catch.
In my dream I still am myself,
but more and more forlorn.

Dement in mijn droom

In mijn droom ben ik allang dement,
ik weet niet meer hoe ik de boot moet nemen.
Het is als op een plein, hoe weet je waar je bent
als alle huizen op elkander lijken.
Een kaartje kopen, ik ren heen en weer, verdwaal.
Ik zal te laat zijn, ik roep, mensen kijken,
niemand wil mij horen.
Er zijn ook treinen die ik nooit meer haal.
In mijn droom ben ik mezelf nog,
maar dan steeds meer verloren.

Finding lost

Some fragrance takes you back
while you are not prepared,
a thought gets lost among distractions,
and what it was that you were searching,
you forgot.

Your steps return. The task undone,
although you feel as if you gained
new energy that’s coming with the flow.
You can go on and each time you get lost again,
it will be so.


I took in everything I saw
with force, as never to forget
that moment on the platform
in errasing snow: the coats around us,
the red wool of the scarfs
and the damping breath.

Sometimes you know that tragedy
is happening under your eyes.
In dying Winter light, in sounds and movement
of the leaving train it was apparent
that you were on your way,
never returning.

We had not said it
but we felt it just the same.
Already out of touch you said my name,
the sound fell screaming on the rails.
When all was quiet,
the setting sun was burning
and you were gone for ever.

A Caring Woman in Winter

There is no telling how long days will be dark,
depending on weather, calendar and mood;
she is knitting a sweater, the sort that he wears
on days when the Pole air enters the house,
the arms by now three times the arms of a man.
This makes her feel good. Though he tried,
there is no stopping a woman in Winter who cares.



He says he is working on a book
and cannot be disturbed, for weeks
he has been lonely in his attic room
and every now and then a curse
is heard, a sigh escapes,
but the rest is silence.

Sometimes the window opens
as he throws out his thoughts
on paper sheets that flutter in the Autumn air
away to some far destiny unknown
and weeks go by
and years move on
and he’s still there. The writer.


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