Friday, 21 March 2014

Act


We see a dimly lit room. Grubby, dusk, confusing… Say: a death-to-the bone professional office, with the obvious dying Ficus, but very dark, with confetti on the floor… and a few beheaded stuffed rabbits scattered about.

In this room, seated on wicker chairs, are gathered 27 people, all dressed in black or dark brown hooded costumes; most are grinning, or perhaps they are wearing masks. One of them starts to sing.

In a frail voice, he starts producing strange and beautiful songs of his homeland. Of flowers and puddles. Of heather in August. Of the soul of a seagull prostitute. Of Gods and Gravel. Of silken clay and skinny rain. Of blessings and mercy, of eyes and death.

When he is finished, a deafening silence breaks out. No one speaks or moves or stirs. Not even a louse. Then… one in the back is making un-inspired arm-pit fart sounds.


‘Thank you’, the singer mutters… ‘thank you.’

Some of the others follow the first in making armpit noises. The singer joins them reluctantly.

Camera rolls back.

Lights out.

(Suggestion: Music starts building up, Chopin’s Nocturne No. 2, first on itself, then penetrated by a fast Dixieland version of ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’, louder and louder, joined by a layer of Butthole Surfers’ ‘Woly Boly’, up till unbearable levels and distortion… music fades out in reversed order.)



.................................................................................................................
 
We zien een duistere kamer. Groezelig, grijs, vreemd te plaatsen. Laten we zeggen: een driewerf doodse ‘representatieve’ kantoorruimte, met de bekende stervende Ficus, maar heel donker, en met confetti op de vloer… en een paar onthoofde pluchen konijnen her en der.

In deze ruimte zien we 27 mensen zitten in rieten stoelen; allen zijn gekleed in zwarte of donkerbruine gewaden met een kap, de meeste grijnzen, of misschien dragen zij maskers. Eentje begint te zingen.

Met dunne, onvaste stem zingt hij vreemde en prachtige liederen van zijn geboorteland. Van bloemen en plassen. Van de heide in het najaar. Van het hart van een meeuwenhoer. Van God en Grint. Van zijdezachte klei en magere regen. Van zegen en genade, ogen en dood.

Als hij uitgezongen is breekt er een orkaan van stilte uit. Niets beweegt of roert zich. Nog geen luis in het voorhuis. Maar dan… doet iemand lusteloos een scheet na met zijn hand in zijn oksel.

‘Dank je,’ stamelt de zanger… ‘dank je.’

Sommige anderen beginnen nu ook de okselscheetgeluiden te maken. De zanger doet ook voorzichtig mee.

De camera rolt achteruit.

Licht uit.

(Suggestie: Muziek zwelt aan. Eerst zachtjes Chopin’s Nocturene No. 2, maar dan vrij snel doorbroken door een hard aanzwellende snelle dixieland versie van ‘Oh When The Saints Go Marching In’ harder en harder, gevolgd door een laag van Butthole Surfers’ ‘Holy Boly’ tot ondragelijk niveau… dan sterft de muziek weg in omgekeerde volgorde.)

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

[nt]

How graciously she walked the boulevards, on her high heeled shoes in pitiful pink, her voguish handbag and her slender personality.

[nt]


Fascinated as he was with humanity and all its wonderful work, Doctor Sockberger decided to spend the rest of his life studying lichens.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Tony the Sick Pony

The lyrics of Hugo Matthyssen's song "Tony de Zieke Pony" as translated by me...


It was raining like streams, and it smelled of rotting grass
And the mud, it pulled my shoes into the ground
I stumbled manfully through a sorrowful swamp
With a self-made smile upon my mouth
A helping of macaroni with some cheese is a feast
It is to say, for he who’s really hungry
But a sick pony can also be a source of joy
For a man who really cares about sick ponies

It was as dark as hell and godforsaken cold
And I just kept on slogging through the night
Over there, that pony stood under that willow thicket
Sweating his sickness out in a canal
A man that’s only used to the luxury of the city
Where superficiality is watered down with booze
That man understands nothing about ponies and will never get it
How a sick pony can bring someone to ecstasy

Tony the sick pony! (3 x)

I scratched myself on thorns
I stumbled and I fell
Yes, I hurt myself repeatedly and indescribably
But still a great joy kept buzzing in my soul
Some sort of happiness, oh how fine I felt
Furniture of mahogany, large trays of salmon and lobster
On the look of it, just pure superficialities
While a sick pony has so much more to offer
But you have to be receptive for it

Tony the sick pony! (3 x)

I searched for many hours and although I couldn’t find him
I always knew the sick pony would be near
There was something ineffable connecting me to it
In that obscure, that severe wilderness
The world is demonic, a place filled with false pleasure
And for money, even the holiest is for sale
But as long as sick ponies are grazing not far from here
There’s a chance of rescue and some hope

Tony the sick pony! (3 x)
Is near

Monday, 3 March 2014

Messianic Rant


I’ve heard people – and invariably with gleaming, voluptuous pride – gladly call themselves a ‘the glass is half full’ kind of person. First of all: baloney! And secondly: a very foolish pride, wouldn’t you agree? The statement itself is fallacious, and the pride erroneous, because it is based on the false assumptions that dissidents of this doctrine 1. have a morally lower standpoint and 2. see the glass as being half empty as if the water level is on its way down… on the way of being completely empty. This is not the case, but contrary: they themselves see the water as a diminishing body!

I don’t say ‘the glass is half empty’ (meaning: on its way to emptiness). I say ‘why isn’t the glass completely full?’ Móre than full even! Far beyond the limits of the glass itself… infinitely full, over the brim and into the great unknown! And a bigger glass! And better, not even in the same league as common glass! And of far superior content. And a glass with water not just enough for me… but for all of mankind!

Your typical militant optimist, the maudlin gospeller of ‘The Glass is Half Full’ is not so much happy with his glass and or its content. Oh no: he is extremely happy with one thing above all… himself! ‘The glass is half full’ is a self-compliment of the worst kind! And to add injury to the insult: it’s an infamous blaming of the rest of the world to suggest them being less thankful for the bounty they have received! It’s like telling a one-armed man to stop feeling sorry for himself as long as he’s got the other one in reasonably good working order.

I’m not proud to see all these shortcomings of life on earth and looking for improvement… And I’m not here to blame. Remember that. All I’m writing for is that I don’t care for being called a miser and an idiot by people without imagination. You say you’re fine with your half glass… Okay. I hear you. But I don’t believe you, first of all. And what if half of that half glass is poured into a smaller glass… is that second glass half full again? Well, let’s say it is and you call it ‘half full’ and you’re satisfied again… I may be too (as I have little needs, littler than most of you I take it!), but that is not the point! The point is: I will never call it half full with a smug grin on my face, proud of my false evangelical, ascetic sainthood, like you do! A tepid windy day with a cold drizzle… you’re free to call it ‘fine whether’? But I don’t. And neither do you… let’s be honest.

You settle for three-coloured pansies. Why not five-coloured ones? Or seven? Why not multi-coloured pansies that sing & dance… break, folk, tap & lap dancing pansies! Pansies that make weather forecasts and fill out your taxes? Pansies that sing the gospel and do the boogaloo? Pansies that turn into tulips one day… into roses the next… the next into peonies… and then into blue whales with seventy seven beautiful soft warm breasts that produce slightly chilled Drambuie? Have you tried Drambuie? It’s delicious! I don’t look down on three-coloured pansies, but I am realistic about them. That’s the point I’m making.

Why settle for oom-pah music when you can have Chopin? Why shrug your shoulders about two-faced, half arsed politicians, greed, race hatred, war, light beer, child labour and this daily horror picture slide show of mental haemorrhoids we call a social network? Dream Up, not Down! Come on, people! Why no golden flowers full of naked elves cracking jokes who give you directions to where you really want to go... in several convenient languages... with a complimentary city map, coupons to your favourite restaurant and scratch tickets? And a real smart phone! A sensible philosophy, picked up by everybody. Real progress, real improvement… But no… you’re fine with it and count your blessings as the rats are climbing from the sewers into the houses. Perhaps not your house… You can eat your cookie while babies are bombed in faraway dusty cities. Cheers. And you’re even proud of your view and say I’m a miser…

I say you’re no optimist: you’re just a very small thinker!

Butterflies with gold brocade wings, making sweet xylophone music as they fly and giggle… bees that, while they sting, inject high doses of endorphins… silver streets with angels gently tickling your balls most delicately… No more depressing, rain-drenched cul-de-sacs smelling like wet dog, littered with hobos and chip bags. No more ‘talent shows’ on TV. Sex & drugs for everybody! And, if it’s not too much to ask, a government based on wisdom, tolerance and generosity for all.

Are you a real optimist… or are you just devoid of dreams? Do you call ‘half’ some sort of optimum? Is your complacency so big, or just your fantasy so small? You say the glass is half full… you say that life is good. Then I say: you don’t know me and you don’t know good.

The glass is half full…
The war is half won
The brain is half working
The book is half interesting
The deal is semi-legitimate
Humanity is half saved by Jesus
The football is half over the goal line
The man is half continent
And half his teeth were saved
Half the orphanage was saved from the flames…

Yippee! That’s what I hear you saying when you say that your glass is half full. And you call my glass half full too. So… what about someone else’s glass? You’re no optimist… you’re selfish… self-complimenting… and a terrible pessimist! Yes, I’ve said it! You’re seeing things as starting from nothing, expecting nothing, wanting nothing and you pretend you’ll be chuffed with half a finger of putrid water, just for you, yourself, your own material gain… instead of seeing things from a divine ideal for all to enjoy. Go out of my sight with your half full glass… and take my half too! You can have it.

(Writing this, I was half serious.)






Friday, 28 February 2014

Bontekoe


Subtitle: Religious Selection

It was about time. Yesterday, I started reading in one of my countries most famous historic books, written by fellow ‘Hoorner’ (a citizen of my hometown Hoorn). I’m talking about the book published in 1646 "Journal or memorable description of the East Indian voyage of Willem Bontekoe of Hoorn, including many remarkable and dangerous things that happened to him there".

After losing his previous ship due to pirates of the coast of Barbary, and the subsequent slavery and hardship, skipper Willem IJsbrandtszn. Bontekoe is finally freed and made captain of the large East Indiaman “Nieuw Hoorn” that sailed to the Dutch settlement of the East India Company on Java (Indonesia). The journal is the accounts of the voyage, made between 1618 and 1625.

In the Sunda Strait (between Java and Sumatra), the barrels of rum in the hold of his ship catch fire by the clumsy doing of the ship’s carpenter. Then the fire spreads to the stock of coal and the men are unable to put the fire ou
t. Some sailors and the merchant save themselves by boarding the lifeboat, Bontekoe stays on board. Finally the 300 barrels of black powder explode and 2/3 of the men are blown up on the spot. Captain Bontekoe himself is badly wounded and barely rescued by the men who had fled the ship pre-blast in the life boat. The reduced crew sails on, they suffer from famine, scurvy, attacks from natives (from which many more die), mutiny and poisoning… But get this! When they – only by the magnificent navigational skills and outstanding leadership of Bontekoe himself! – finally find their way to the safety of the Dutch colonisers… the captain sinks to his knees and thanks the Lord God for guiding them to safety. Most remarkable!See more


 

The Limo

On February 14th, Saint Valentine's Day, I witnessed a sight that refuses to dissolve itself from my memory records. It was a large, white stretched limousine that took the road to the local prison.

What was this, I wonder? The first thing I thought (and hope it to be true) was of a man who thought it a perfect joke to go to jail in ironic style. [If I will ever have the privilege of being send to jail, I’ll take a gigantic limo too… whereas I’d go pick up a Royal or Public award on a donkey’s back (if it’s good enough for Jesus… it’s good enough for me).] Or, contrary wise, a car sent for to pick up a released convict. Or perhaps a man or a woman going on a conjugal visit. Or perhaps just a gangster who’s only car is this limo. Just questions again… never an answer.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Monday, 27 January 2014

IV

17 January 2014
                                                                           IV

You’ve escaped, my prose and I'm sorry you are dead. You quietly undid the doors on a moonless night and snuck out, leaving a goodbye note underneath a rock. I believe you were last seen in the boondocks as a captive of ruffians, enslaved, beaten and flattened to taste.

There was so much I still wanted to say to you, my lamb… I could have tried to explain. Why you were sick and untouchable… and you had to die running or retreat on some hill, to be destroyed by a cyclone, lightning, hunger and fallout. Why you had to go.

I was wrong too. Saw you, marauding, running with a bunch of strangers, thugs, ragtag sleaze, intoxicated imbeciles and genius fiends… notorious, burlesque… dancers, depraved priests, the source and summit of antique liturgies in back alleys fit for murder… You were the death of the party, the life of life. I didn’t know.


I saw you crawling like a snake, sliding in the dirt, hissing… believing no longer in the company of friends… with fangs to kill, relying on your senses, precision and ambush. Naturally, I was misguided: I thought you were the scaly beast, the dusty venomous worm shedding its skin in the grass. So wrong… When I found out, it was too late and you were gone…you weren’t the snake: you were the skin!

Friday, 24 January 2014

III

25 October 2013

                                                                          III

My prose was up on the mountain… getting a taste for gulls and sacred songs… eating bitter herbs from barbaric lands. Then it was tempted by angels, seduced by harlots. My prose flinched… went for cloister and hermitage. When it broke out, it took a journey through the slums, asylums and jungles. It started living with the undereartheners, advanced in the abhorrent, the occult, the absurd.

She became a beast. An enemy, operating under many aliases. She murdered her uncle and poisoned the dog… wiped out entire villages. There was no precedence for acts so beastly and depraved… but all executed so delicately and sublime. My suave brute, my vampire queen. We remember when she was young and awed by splendor, with hips like herring boats and teeth like lionesses. I had leaded a white goat to the altar for her in those days…

That was before you were sick and tarred with shame. Now we are much closer. That’s why I keep you hidden and chained.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

II

22 October 2013
                                                                           II

My prose lives shy and crooked in a lined burrow… like a wounded animal. It watches the passing of the camel train on rainy nights, doing three solitary dance steps. It winks, as lovers do, and villains. My prose itches, like a bald sweaty head covered in termites. But it lives, even though sequestered behind thick monastic walls in a strange sunlight. Now and then, it is allowed out for a walk on the premises.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

I


18 October 2013
                                                                            I 

My prose is sick... My prose is wicked... My prose is unattractive. By day, making a grand entrance from showbiz stairs, all smiles, clad in a silver glitter jacket. At night… scraping around on all fours in urine soaked alleys underneath a blue silk balaclava. It laughs… it sings… it coughs.