poetry issues #17

Thursday, 15 March 2018 15:13

The 17th issue is out, comprising a mix of formal and free verse. Read it here, and/or request a hardcopy, if you can't find one near you (which is most probably the case, except if you're in one of the common distribution areas or extremely lucky).



Impossible Grammar


I strive to tear down

the importance of the object

to the subject.


To breach meaning

I need the connectors to quit

their chatter.


The gerund at the end

forces me to think of action

as consequence.


Go, went, gone.

Paper skin, I will write on you

your conjugation.






I was so fond of leaving

but then the crocuses bloomed

so I decided upon staying.


We just keep on astraying

when our conditions are poor

and I was so fond of leaving.


Then I thought that trying

was the grown-up thing to do

so I decided upon staying.


Seduced by the bird-singing

I had no choice but to stay put.

And I was so fond of leaving.


But the seasons are turning

and winter has a point to prove

to the one so fond of leaving

who decided upon staying.




Maturity Reversed


You’ve seen it in old westerns

how men in pain grind their teeth

in urgent operations in the desert.

That’s what it takes to beat the need.


Like a magpie desiring what shines

I habitually take dives in greed.

Indulging in you, who make me smile

I forget what it takes to beat the need.


Although I’ve dealt with most temptation

and have dared to declare myself free

in your presence I lose my persuasion

and don’t know how to beat this need.






Logs drifting down the

river, pretending to be

rooted, green-leafed trees.


And I


by the false paradigm


I’m swimming

against the current

of my own disposition

hoping that

one day it will turn.


Can the fish ever change

the course of the sea?

Can the log ever grow

new rhizome or fresh leaves?





It's remarkable how life keeps on

creating life with irrational optimism

feeding on the throw-up of emotion.


Even as mere victims of darwinism

we still bridge what we aspired to be

and reality. Survival lies in surrealism.


The cat is licking her newborn lightly.

Her tongue a cloud flirting with the surface

of a velvet mountain of oblivious joy.


At times a long caress will suffice.

First you feel. Then you open your eyes.



 [You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]


Published in news

poetry issues #1-12

Sunday, 28 January 2018 20:26

Poetry Issues #1-12 is a compilation of the issues #1-12 of the Poetry Issues project. You will find all available information about the project here

and you can download the e-book here: Poetry Issues 1-12.

Published in verse


Monday, 15 January 2018 16:10

If you happen to be in Leiden from 15 January to 22 February and you are interested in poetry, drop by BplusC, Nieuwstraat 4. The library's theme this month is poetry and there's an exhibition running in its spaces.

I'm happy to report that Poetry Issues has a display case of its own, thanks to Alida van Leeuwen, who noticed and invited my work to the library.


Published in news

poetry issues #16

Sunday, 14 January 2018 13:12

Poetry Issues #16, out now!


In Rhythm

Unsalted roasted
almonds chewed in half the pace
I walk up and down
always rehearsing the who
told what with which intention.

No matter how much
love you invest in four walls
they always remain
the unmoved victims of their
objective definition.

Up and down on a
herringbone wood floor. Chewing
unsalted roasted
almonds on the double. Who
told what and for what reason.




In between abysmal hollows
her golden teeth would glow
competing with the hearth
that fought the winter.
The fat rooster on her lap
twitched and still bled
as if alive, at each plucking
of a feather.

She had no reason not to laugh
with two gold teeth, a crackling
hearth and a fat chicken
for blessed supper.



Supermarket Dystopia

I can't tell if it’s going to be in California
and I doubt it that it matters

but you will be walking alone
along the great aisles

with a blinking laser gun
scanning products and people alike.

It’s among the frozen peas and spinach
that you’ll find the best green.


On the Wall

They co-existed, the darkness and the light.
And a fine defining line set the question
of together or apart. Relationships
were never meant to be like that, devoid
of shades, trapped in awkward shapes
with twisting edges. Most legends adorn
the shadows with bright stars to be
followed and adored while treading in
the mud of an unforgiving world. Back on
my wall, a show of open ends, attempting
to quickly stitch the cracks while the lights
still burn outside, just before they leave us
in the dark, without shades or decisive lines
foreshadowing the rise of our regrets.


The World

I asked how come there were no windows
and the voice said there was no point.
Behind those walls there were more walls
and who would care about bricks on bricks.
I meant to ask about the light coming in.
The house felt decreasingly like home
and I sold pewter charms for charcoal
to keep my hopes comfortably warm
by drawing rough gardens with trees
and doors with locks that I could pick.


 [You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]



Published in news

poetry issues #15

Wednesday, 01 November 2017 19:08


Since the previous issue was all free verse, there's a fair share of formality in this one: "Retribution" is a pantoum (which happens to be one of my favorite forms), "Northern Beach in Bref Double" a bref double of course, and "Coming at the Florist" a golden shovel. Poetry Issues #15, out today:




Memory should not be exercised.

Like a packet of quit smokes

it better remain undisturbed

in a locked box in the closet.


Like a packet of quit smokes

I hide your grayscale picture

in a locked box in the closet

in all-encompassing silence.


I hide your grayscale picture

mummified and fossilised

in all-encompassing silence

like an angry ancient god.


Mummified and fossilised

you better remain undisturbed

like an angry ancient god.

Memory should not be exercised.




Northern Beach in Bref Double


They arrived at the haven of bronze sun gods

and said: “We want five ships of fine sand.”

The pale seafarers got nasty sunburns but

were back home in time for the Indian summer.


They strewed it wavy, golden and silvery and

the children combed it by hand for better shells.

Even the fish came out of the sea to check it

when the workers headed home for hot supper.


Once, a lion’s mane jellyfish fell for a seagull

who was cruising the shore for leftovers at

a crowded spot. Before she died dehydrated

they both agreed the sea was their mother.


The children relished at the beast’s bad end

but a sudden limp burdened the seagull’s strut.


B Sides


Inside red apples fat worms inside the letterbox

a rageful cat inside dreams spiraling labyrinths

inside a struggling dignity marginalization inside

a deep-chest scream confinement inside unvarnished

sentences run-down desires inside the doll another

doll inside delusion the need to escape inside.




Sociology or That’s How You Rule the World


Your affordances will be reduced to one

as ecology will variate between

plastic A and concrete B.


As long as you let them engage with

stable fables peasants will trust

that one day they’ll be kings.


Turn sacred symbols into commodities

rob the fruits of their juicy essence

but give the natives beads.




Coming at the Florist


The iron door was left open by nobody

and the black cat assured me it had not

been her. Had I sniffed in the shop even

the slightest trace of evening rose, the

doubts would’ve dispersed. With such rain

it was hard to tell. But only my woman has

this sweet marmite blood that shoots such

piercing scents of love through the small

pores of her sweaty, rosy, cosy hands.



 [You will learn more about the Poetry Issues project here.]



Published in news

poetry issues #12

Wednesday, 12 April 2017 12:15

This twelfth issue, whose distribution started today, completes the first cycle of Poetry Issues. It has been a full year of poetic expression and I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I did. From now on the publication will become bimonthly, in order to dedicate some time to other works.

You can read this issue below:



April’s Fool


It’s a joke, all this rain,

and I’m reminded

only by date that this

is the advent of spring.

And I envy the trees.

They seem to possess

the right time for everything:

Like clockwork they go

through winters and springs

accepting, always in majesty,

each turn of season that I

try, strong-headed and vain,

to manipulate and command.

You refused to hold my hand.

Life Without Temptation


I didn’t die nor resurrect

at the age of thirty three.

I’ve lost my chance.

And now I watch myself

mature to death –

an unappealing apple

without an Eve’s hand

to save me from counting

how many meters

before I hit the ground.



Pestered as they were by what happens next

they left their sentences undone, hanging

annoying as fruit flies, unsure of their direction

overwhelmed by the vast possibilities ahead.

But once, fueled by a whole night’s drinks

they raced into the pink-gold dawn that painted

all their hopes anew. That’s when they learned

that language is redundant when your soul

is smooth and it’s not only youth that burns with instinct.



I don’t have to tell you

that we are not what we seem.

You know it better than I do.


Your chatoyant eyes reflect some

passion you dismiss. I have proof

in the shivers I get when you come


to have a coffee under my roof

and rehearse your staged words.

Still, I hear nothing but the truth.


It must be an augmented chord,

what tunes us in each other.

Life before you was a chore.


I’m a moth heading to the lantern

for what is love but death, dear lover?

In Therapy


Most days I don’t remember my dreams.

It’s just that I often wake up with a sigh.


I’m quite hard and detest looking back.

Cicadas and lilac skies don’t amuse me.


In my youth I grieved imaginary deaths

far as I was from the need of an afterlife.


I found purpose in the half-time. I was

meant to be the eye of the universe.




[If you would like to learn more about the Poetry Issues project, read this.]

Published in news

poetry issues #11

Saturday, 04 March 2017 16:21

The distribution of the 11th issue began today. Read the contents here:



You, Yes, You


I’m scared of your dark potential.

It unwinds serpentine

as you avoid collision and

– god forbid! – correlation

with other bodies on the street

all too efficient from having had

brushes with perceived fiends

but mostly eager to possess

a shallow pride you defend

by throwing tantrums of

unchecked greed and insecurity.

The Wanderer



often comes

in strange shapes.


Californian vineyards

and Australian seas

I haven’t seen you.

I don’t know if

I’ll get a visa for my dreams.


Of all the things

I left back home

I miss the hills.

The Drama-King


“I’m alone,” he cried

and pulled his hair

in desperation

from the small seat

on his high throne

but never looked beyond

his own reflection.



On the up side,

I’m not afraid of darkness

anymore. Horror

found me in broad daylight

and the hand was known.

In the Inside Pocket


An item or two of no importance.

An acorn or a corner of a leaf.

A marble and a hair clip.

Found poems meant to guide

and keep us grounded

respecting that we once

were children too.

By Your Sickbed


To attest the fact that

“our life is not our own”

I invent bunches of meaning

and lay them clustered

in the functions I perform.


I can be described at best

as mediocre or even arrested

in a wild adolescence of feeling.

But being given




at efficient action, I twist

with abandon the wet towel

that will cool your forehead.




[If you would like to learn more about the Poetry Issues project, read this.]



Published in news

Poetry Issues #10

Thursday, 02 February 2017 11:40

Poetry Issues has just reached double digits! Enjoy this tenth issue right here:





The breeze stirs and then it moves us forward

with tangled hair and whirling splintered thoughts

and locks us in the chase of portentous

shapes in the low clouds. The soft grass writhes to

break free and its crystal prison of frost

stays relentless in its albinity.

But there is something in the lengthening

of light and the sonnets of the swallows

that travel from the lands of velvet warmth

that begs me to endure and join the strife.

It’s in the slight murmur of the willows

when the grey skies push upon their backs and

instead of lamenting they sing: “Perhaps

this isn’t such a bad month to be born in.”




Bus Commuters


Not the servants of a dark empire

of fast-drying concrete and steel

with hands and faces worn


by the tiredness

of a joyless looping life


but princes and queens

of flourishing kingdoms of the sand

with peach orchards where horses run free.





There is a longer

space between your words and mine.

We are diverging.

Just Watch


The history of

mankind is nothing but a

plucky fist raised high.

But now the fight is over

the color of our new couch.



Trying to rectify the wreckage

caused by the rectangularity

of the wretched electorate

the pious asked the rector

who exclaimed that there

was nothing to correct.



She ordered the surgeon

to remove her organs

and take pictures of her innards.

He was then asked to put them back,

and the money was good and the life

was tough. “I don’t understand,”

she said later, ignoring the sore

while her eyes still searched

on the photographic paper.

“My liver looks perfectly fine

but, where is my soul?”

Student with Purple Glasses


“And where do you dispose

the oil from the frying pan?”

She asked the landlady,

sincerely worried about the lack

of environmental planning.


There was a halo of smoke

rushing around her platinum hair:

“Just pour it on your trash.

It’s excellent sauce

for the lunch of the seagulls.”



[If you would like to learn more about the project, read this.]




Published in news

Poetry Issues #9

Thursday, 05 January 2017 16:29

Poetry Issues #9 is out today. You can also read it here:





Shambling in his old-man slippers

out to the humble unkempt garden

he checked closely with the first dew

in the hanging cheap-blue plastic net

for puny craters on the smooth lard

planets of seeds and dried mealworms

to see if any sparrows had come

or if he would spend the winter alone.




His Greatest Act


He had the mane, alright.

But with the untowardly stretched

pink satin shirt and strassy pants

none of the kids could really tell

that there was an old defeated lion

and not a great illusionist trying

to escape the burning iron cage.




New Paganism


We are so eager to become

nothing but bodies

freed from the hold of endless excuses.

Carnal pleasures aren’t for the fainthearted.


We are so eager to find peace

in the white noise

of a hangover brain. We aren’t ashamed.

This is only a primordial ritualistic instinct.


Quiet people are afraid of Chaos

but they seem to forget

that he gave birth to their cherished Day,

that wry officeholder with the glowing teeth.




The Gigolo Triptych




She dismissed it as

disruption. A waterfall

in a dried up land.




He lowered his head

as his hands smoothed along in

search of her wallet.




She invested in

a more trustworthy asset:

Church-cut dignity.




A Love Story


In the heart of the city

that doesn’t have a heart

I followed the lamplights

for one last time.

The oracle had told me

that a black river ran

through you

and hope had to cross it.

I paddled up the mucous dream-stuff

up to the city’s poisoned hills.

You were nowhere to be found.



[You can read about the project and find other issues here.]

Published in news

Poetry Issues #7

Friday, 04 November 2016 14:28

The seventh issue is out. If you can't get the printed version, you can still read it here:




It’s a beautiful day, outside

One of the last, if not the last


Before a heavy winter sets in

I like to think of windless autumn


Days as rare, and endangered

They make the wait more puzzling


What am I waiting for – perhaps a force

To make me – step outside



Family Values


Happiness was a bottle

of iridescent soap water

meant to burst in bubbles

on my mother’s marble floor.

She was annoyed and banished

from our common home

what she saw as stains.

She, who mercilessly counted

good times in fridge magnets.



In Flight


I looked suspicious.

My heart was in the hidden

pocket of my bag.


I forgot to put

my breathing mask on before

I turned to help you.


Falling, the dancing

lights on a welcoming sea

told me I belonged.


Pain was the red paint

on Claude Monet’s poppy field

in Musée d’Orsay.





Our joys were made of plastic and fluorescent lights.

Raised by chip factories, we’d grown virtual feet.

Our time was running out like early morning coffee

and patience was the throbber on our loading screens.


Raised by chip factories, we'd grown virtual feet

and the first impact with sun-smelling turf felt strange.

Patience was the throbber on our loading screens

until we paced for hours in bleak waiting rooms.


The first impact with sun-smelling turf felt strange

but it shook off our belief in confined square spaces.

Until we paced for hours in bleak waiting rooms

our experiences had the depth of all-inclusive tourism.


What shook off our belief in confined square spaces

was the flawless animation of detaching yellow leaves.

Our experiences had the depth of all-inclusive tourism

and we just couldn’t get higher on computational speed.


The flawless animation of detaching yellow leaves

while time was running out like early morning coffee.

We just couldn’t get higher on computational speed.

Our joys were made of plastic and fluorescent lights.



Dinner for the Wolves


If I were a daube de boeuf

at an intellectual dinner table

would I find purpose and pride in

being eaten and praised and escorted

with pinot noir straight out of Burgundy


or would I try to crawl off the silver plate

daring to blotch the too white linen

and then straight off into some

drain leading to the gutter

where I would call out

my revolution?



[Read more about the project.]



Published in news
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