The town is encircled by panting, sparking nature.


In the evening - it’s unbearable in the hotel -
we walk in our casual skins to the edge of
what we’ll be doing tomorrow,
            the point of our trip,
                                    the impressive crater.

The irregular surface
—mind the bluish gas
when shoes start to melt we’ll have to go back—
is the crust of respect and suspicion.

Dangerous the trick of finding out through putting off:
how hot does it get in the hive
before it streams out, comes back with sulphur, and evaporates
without meeting the other?


                                                       Translated by Karlien van den Beukel





The body is the end of the world. Nothing is further off.

It’s not everything in the body.

It was wrong of me to have passed myself off as a physician. And I should never have let myself in with the landowner and his family. But I was an anatomical Atlas; temptation got the better of me.

My methods: those of a mountebank. My fancy Latin: pernicius, curius, et causa ignota; rubor, calor, dolor, tumor, functio laesa, the corticostracial not unrecipricious. But what I did know, was dark! Deep!

To all appearances, I made an appearance.

I knew my way round the body of my peasants. My hand, inserted underneath, found its way up with sure touch, to reappear out the gullet. For my hand there’s no such thing as darkness. The gut, full of nerves, is the brother of the brain. The gut is the soul organ.
After a wet spring I squeezed out the serfs’ damp lungs; treatment was undergone with a dreamy gaze.

‘Why this flesh, doctor? Why a body?’
‘The Lord wants us to feel it when he slaps.’

‘Oh, my poor eyes! Help me, doctor!’
After Timaeus: complaining about pending blindness is unreasonable in someone who’s displayed such lack of interest in reality as you, old soak!’ 

Health is what makes the dead look younger.

In this mute and slack region my speech and deeds came to the landowner’s notice. He sent his gloved chauffeur to collect me. We drove over the dyke to the country house. A mist rose over the sea. ‘In the middle of the ocean is a glowing rock,’ I paraphrased The Book of the Middle. ‘Water that touches the rock boils at once, and turns into steam. It is the essence of the sea. So it is with man.’
I pointed him out the exact spot. The vehicle nearly veered off the dyke.
This was mentioned in court and used against me.

That pale face in the autumn garden, on that misty afternoon; that pale hand picking dead leaves off a shrub. Shred of undoing.

I see the inside; the outside I construe.

The landowner had to laugh when I pointed out to his daughter how unnatural her being a vegetarian was:
‘It’s not half as bad for a piece of meat to disappear into the body as for a plant.’ Sweeping statement. Later the prosecutor took as it as an implied justification of cannibalism. The mother of the landowner was treated to the following words: ‘I consider advanced age an attempt at flight.’
Family friendship ensued.

The other family friend, the skinny divinity student:
‘And the immortal soul, Doctor Jerkpuppet? Where in that beautiful body of yours is that?’
‘The soul is an annoying glowing globe, which disturbs and blinds organs.’

To her:
 ‘According to Plato, the womb is a being that wants to make babies. When it remains without fruit for a long time, though the time is ripe, it can only repress its aggravation. It wanders all over the body, it blocks the airways. The body becomes desperate because it doesn’t get any air and catches all sorts of diseases until the desire and the passion of both sexes bring them together.’
‘Doctor! You … silly sausage!’ Sausage? If only she knew.

Left teaches it to right, top to bottom, back to front.
‘The body likes taking it easy, you notice, and you are in mortal danger if you leave it in peace, says the saint of Avila.’
‘Doctor Smartarse!’ Doctor Feelgood!

That tongue wet fire, the palate cool and ribbed as a sorrel leaf! The shocking experience. The effects rippled over the region.

‘My body always uses me, your honour. If other bodies were sometimes also to use me, it wouldn’t make my misdemaneour any the greater.
‘Sophistry! Refrain! You’re impossible!’

Thus: I was driven from a backward region. Our basic structure is totally without hope, yet our nervous system is made out of optimistic stuff (Francis Bacon).


                                                       Translated by Karlien van den Beukel



Filled in from beneath in fuzzy grey a woman appears
to climb, filmed climbing. Special effect: it’s you.
You are there too, also surprised
and moved. ‘So this film is still around.’ ‘Yes.’

Uh? Half-past four in the morning. So I’m still dreaming of
although you haven’t been in form for quite some time
My reasoning powers withdraw behind a dark disk

without will, half-wit, taste no, sensulating stimied
having half way in life passed having been stuck away
(now) uninterested in how others take what’s got to do with them

fire in the mill with sails at half-mast


                                                       Translated by Karlien van den Beukel




Quit taking a running start. The evening spread
is around you, the pounds dropping on in you.
What’s taking your old maid’s blush, your raspberry
double blaze? The pump of the central heating
suggests its wheezes to the central heating pump.
Why, there’s a comforter in you who presses you
against his chest. Now safe, both of you become
smaller, as houses fly by away with the ground.

It’s full and empty here, and full of movement,
movementing and light of the velveteen dark. And still
a phantom of a Ch’an Chinese not one I think abbot
of a mountainside monastery with baskets supplied.

Heavens, what a beautiful smile fly and god and
in pure Dutch the Chinese says way to go, joy is so.

way to go joy is so, way to go joy is so, in pure Dutch
beams the Ch’an Chinese way to go, joy is so.


                                                       Translated by Karlien van den Beukel