Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Last Post in Doel

Doel is a small village in the harbor of Antwerp that has to be flattened so that some of the 100 largest Maersk ships can dock here. How many towns have to disappear for these ships? How many people's lives are uprooted and in turmoil. The same happened in Ruigoord, near Amsterdam. At least the town is still standing and it has been turned into an art enclave, where artists work, people visit but where it is forbidden to live. The Ruigoorders have opened an embassy in Doel as a token of support. As far as I am concerned lets close the nuclear plant in Doel and let the people live in Doel. The last post at the last action.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I have learned and felt today that hailstones on your head hurt. Raindrops on your nose however are gentle greetings from a faraway brook where poets are born... or so it seems after the ice.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jazz Middelheim II

Saturday night was great. Chet Mood with Philip Catherine. Nice sweet atmosphere on a languid summer's night. And then came Toots Tielemans with his Dutch Trio. Toots is a Jazz aficionado since 70 years. He and his harmonica and the three great musicians on the base, the drums and the piano giving joy and beauty. The gentle working together, the amicable atmosphere was just contagious. T.T. played several songs for his wife, it was mothers day after all, and as an encore he gave us a heartbreaking rendering of 'Ne me quite pas'... I chocked up, tears streaming... The lyrics by Jacques Brel floated into my head through this exquisite painful piece: I'll be the shadow of your dog, I'll bring a drop of rain from a country where it doesn't rain.... Fragile breaking sound and feeling. Melancholy and Romance on a summer's night in the park in Antwerp.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jazz Middelheim

With a friend from work I go to concerts. We both have a longing for live music. So Jazz Middelheim it was yesterday and will be next Sunday. The Flat Earth Society was wonderful: melodious, innovative, funky, a big band with space for all personalities. Feel good music with oodles of quality and good unconventional music. Then as the apotheosis of the evening was to come Zorn, Lauri Anderson and her husband Lou Reed. They had performed this work once for a benefit in The Stones in New York. It was difficult. If it had been a cd I would have switched it off. Zorn was aggressive and arrogant overplayed the other two. Or so it seemed to me. In the few 'quieter moments' there were brief glimpses of possible beauty and understanding. Of the people who stayed one quarter really got it and were applauding enthusiastically. I need a teacher for the post experimental free music post avant garde sound of uncoordinated self-expression ...

Thursday, August 13, 2009


This shop, the church, the general layout of the village, the ground plan of the cemetery and the local inflection and pronunciation of German is about all that is left in the material world of my mother's youth. Of course the new village will never replace the memories of a happy childhood during years of holidays spend here. That place will magically always exist, maybe just as a myth. So I felt lost and forlorn. The ravages of WW II are still visible, legible in these German towns. Their hearts have been ripped out by allied bombs and the cheap modernity that came instead is sad testimony to it all. In most cities it was a chance lost, in Duisburg the fountains and the water in the city and the walk made it all alright. Just as did a meeting with a poet and a pick nick in the park. Thus new memories are made.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The adieu for Marcel van Maele

Marcel's ashes today were put in the honor park at Schoonselhof Cemetery. His voice is silent, except for the readings that have been taped.


While silence vexingly begs for attention

time stumbles over the clock

and folds its wings. A wobbly table

with tinkling glass.

No time to listen, no time.

Consider and prevail

how averse of experience

imagination drowns in empty glasses.

Words have left the heart,

rarely leaving their shade.

Shadows sneak into the void,

from silence to silence, still.

Marcel Van Maele