A Wilderness of Interconnections

9 poems fom a sequence of 82
by the Dutch poet


Sometimes, when looking at her, I see
Only myself, she reflects me, being
Round, inaccessible. Who is it that
I know, that I go into,
That goes into her and feels
In the deepest part of her that he
Is outside her, who is it that is me? – I
Rubbed over the earth, she got wet,
I rubbed heart and soul, and she began
To flow, I glided with her

Moving; the flakes of her iris
Darkened as if clouds were gathering
Above waves, as if a storm were rising.
I saw a gazing grow in her. I saw
A blinding in her eyes in which
I saw myself mirrored, a blinding
Laden with my image, that was me. Then
My sleep broke and my dreaming lay
Open and I heard the foghorn
Complain the whole ungodly night.

Translated by Christine D’haen


The ribs of the bridge are laid out
Like vertebrae within the lymph of
The air and tremble in the heat.
Back that arches from the bank
To an other side. Through the land-
Scape flash mirrors, windowpanes,
Glinting edges of blades. Wind
Rolls in carried on light over the
Crests of waves, his slaves. Blazing
They run stooped beneath his

Royal blows. The sky briefly
Gurgles out of her metallic
Throats. Villages, cities reside
Invisibly behind their names.
Wilderness of interconnections,
An extension of ribs; I slide
Down the nodes of her back,
Rope ladder toward a jungle of
Bliss. Between the back roads and the
End, is there a true mean?

Translated by Wanda Boeke


What makes something brilliant
Is its clarity, broken
Up by a sharp pattern:
The wind among leaves
On a sparkling day,
The falling of water in
A silvery stream, branches
Frenzied by frost on
A winter’s night, glass
Lenses that broke her melting

Glance; the blow of the axe splitting
Glittering wood, the axe
That shatters into
A splintering crown –
And nothing for me to get
Up for other than whether
I’m hungry or in pain –
Oh, how blindingly un-
Diminished things can be
Sometimes in memory.

Translated by Wanda Boeke


On silver feet the cutlery
Tiptoes through its meal. She sits
Straight as a board while I slouch.
Stately as zeppelins insects
Hover among the roses
Whose buds stage the contours
Of Instanbul, but then without
Minarets. I dished up our
Happiness, but my appetite
For her has no taste for a food

Other than hers. We cool ourselves
With the napkins. I want her
Barer, her back worn smooth as
Ivory by the fingering
Of a thousand and one nights
I want to see wholly perfect. Polish
Spatters off her nails as her high-
Heeled movement around the table
Nears. I lay her out in the grass and
Open her like a fan unfolding.

Translated by Wanda Boeke


Who can read Plato’s symposium
Anymore, where even before the
Discussion begins the women are
Sent away, where the highest lauded
Love is that between men? What self-
Respecting woman? It will all
Have to be rewritten! To my friend,
Who buttons his cuffs with paperclips,
Preferably the ones of his tux, I
pointed out that the most highly

Developed animal societies
Are the feminized ones and he
was stunned. But our discourse – about
Resentment – was light and learned and we
Dined. Soon we could be seen on
The dance floor, doing a foxtrot.
He followed and I led. Oh what
A joy, it all had to be turned
On its head and stay that way, on that
We had meanwhile agreed.

Translated by Wanda Boeke


So beautiful, the way her
Naked body leaps through the
Breakers, her breasts high, her arms
An extension of her back
Reach up. Beneath her skin like
Still never developed
Wings that want to open
Out I see her shoulder blades
Moving briskly. An un-
Disfigured Venus she is,

Rising from the marbled
Foam, alive. Ah, how sweet
The way her softness
Withstands the muscled waves! She
Holds her hands in front of the
Hollows with wiry hair. Rocks
Kneel down before her, resting
Against each other offering
The masterfully polished
Forms of their backs to

Her. In sculpting their masses
The polisher of the tides needed his
Eons, but nature was able
To create her perfection
In a brief thirty-one years.

Translated by Wanda Boeke


The polders lie snowbound, the roads are
White with salt, the overcast of clouds
Hangs low and it is cold. Heaven and
Earth are an envelope folding around
The void. The sun comes up like a
Traffic light. A crane spews steely
Cables like a dragon and in a sandy-
Backed ridge the ribs of tractors
Lie cracked and crushed. Over paved
Rises, in which the ruts of carts

Are inlaid like rails, those
Born with wheels rush along like
Rats or lemmings. And once again
I enter into this human
Traffic. The clouds stoop down until they touch
The ground and cars speed off. Flurries of
Snow whirl from the skies, in swift pursuit
Of them. Oh, this ache of absence that has no
Future, not because the other is
Gone, but because she’s still there.

Translated by Wanda Boeke


For weeks on end the wind
Was the only one to come by. No
Telephones cut off or
Final notices, just sleep
And the stirring of the sea
And on some evenings a silent
Movie like a sunset
Taken in, a tautly stretched
Screen down which the bleeding
Body slides, the sky is

The color of raw meat. I write
Poems and mend, write and heal.
Then one time at a bar, an
Angel, glued to the jukebox
As if to wings, cigarette
Tucked in mouth, is humming
To the love songs, we are
The only ones,
love hurts,
Write and heal, the wing
Of night bends over the sea.

Translated by Wanda Boeke


The mountains smoke from the autumn-
Fires they stoke, and all the trees
Have ruby cheeks from the
Glow. I was going to the North
Through the darkening forests of
Europe, rusting in the autumn,
Rusty with cars, through villages
Without sidewalks, like chasms; the
Long shadow of October
Already dwells there. Along neural

Pathways that pass through the valleys –
In the gray of highways and of
Trains and everything’s wet with rain –
The metallic gulf stream
Of the traffic pulsates. The West is
Lonely now, the millennium
Is ending. What is sweeping away
The clouds, the web of industry,
And blowing in from the fields
Is a womanly wind.

Translated by Wanda Boeke