Saturday, November 30, 2013

The last performance of VENN: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

This is the last scene from the last performance of VENN. Yes I attended the performance again. I didn't know how I would react since the element of surprise would not be there. I must admit that I liked it even better than the first time, seeing more, recognizing some of the movements which touched me deeply. Also the music and voices went deeper into me. Seeing the intimacy of certain parts when a person becomes a shoe, a chair, a shower, a coat for the other. The violent scene when a woman gets beaten up without being touched really got under my skin at the second viewing. The waxing and waning of the gestures of a few dancers to the a full stage and the massiveness of the group movement was exhilarating, gave energy.
The gestures preceding the spoken word where beautiful and they contended that there was more communication with fingers and wrists and arms than when people started to speak... I must admire the students of the dance school of the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Antwerp. Some of them are just in their first year, others, with the heavier roles, are in their last year. So no the preparation starts for the final exam, which I hope to see as well. Art is balsam to the soul...
To all of you thanks.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui: Venn

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui will be awarded the title of Maestro Honoris Causa by the "Stichting Conservatorium Antwerp. The production Venn which some of us saw thanks to the vice president of said foundation just blew me away. It was moving, funny, spectacular, intimate, beyond beautiful, and splendidly danced by the young group of dancers. The music and voices were of the same quality. The harp and the percussion, the violin, alt-violin and cello where so right for the sublime choreography of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. The sober light effects and stage supported in every way the sometimes exuberant, sometimes overwhelming, sometimes funny or intimate scenes. I also fell for the silent and spoken parts where the gesture was before words came about. No pictures of this public try out,  yet the images I saw I won't forget. If you have a chance, go to one of the performances. You'll come out fulfilled and more complete. The dance dealt with a new interpretation of different themes from Foi, Origine and Orbo Novo. The energy on the scene is wonderful and gives so much to the audience that we can deal with the onset of winter. Iris Bouche has woven all the elements together in a grand performance of all.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day of the writers in prison

The action of PEN-Flanders for November 15th is creative and beautiful. The poem by Liu Xiaobo: You wait for me with dusts- a poem dedicated to his wife- has been split up in its thirty one lines. 31 Flemish authors have each read one of the lines: the famous and infamous, the revered and the up and coming, the young, the old, all in a great mix to do something useful for colleagues in prison all over the world.

The poem by Liu Xiaobo has two versions: one with English subtitles which you find here.
For the Dutch version only without subtitles click here.

Je wacht op mij met ’t stof

  - voor mijn vrouw, die elke dag wacht
                                                        door Liu Xiaobo

niets rest je in jouw naam, niets
dan op me te wachten, samen met het stof van ons thuis
al die lagen
bijeen, overlopend, in geen hoek        
wil je de overgordijnen open trekken
de roerloosheid van het licht verstoren     

boven de boekenplank is het met de hand
geschreven etiket verstoft
op het tapijt ademt het patroon het stof in
als je de pen graag een stofpunt wilt geven
wanneer je me een brief schrijft
worden mijn ogen door pijn gestoken

je zit daar de hele dag lang
durft niet te bewegen
uit angst dat je voetstappen het stof zullen vertrappen
je probeert je adem in te houden
en gebruikt de stilte om een verhaal te schrijven.
In ogenblikken als deze
is het verstikkende stof
de enige bondgenoot

jouw visie, adem en tijd
doordringen het stof
in de diepte van je ziel
wordt de tombe centimeter na centimeter
vanaf de voeten opgestapeld
komt tot aan de borst
staat tot aan de keel

jij weet dat de tombe
je beste rustplaats is
waar je op me wacht
zonder bron van angst of paniek
daarom verkies je stof
in het donker, in kalm verstikken
wachtend, wachtend op me
je wacht op me met stof
en weigert zon en werveling van lucht

laat het stof je maar helemaal begraven
laat jezelf maar inslapen in ’t stof
tot ik terugkom
en jij wakker wordt
en het stof afveegt van je huid en je ziel.

Een wonder – ontwaakt uit de dood.

April 9, 1999


Dutch Job Degenaar /Annmarie Sauer
WIPC Nederland/WIPC Vlaanderen
februari 2011
Friesland /Amberes  from the English translation:

Here at PEN, we believe that keeping Liu Xiaobo’s words alive is the best tribute to our imprisoned colleague.

You Wait for Me with Dust
for my wife, who waits every day

Nothing remains in your name, nothing
but to wait for me, together with the dust of our home
those layers
amassed, overflowing, in every corner
you’re unwilling to pull apart the curtains
and let the light disturb their stillness
over the bookshelf, the handwritten label is covered in dust
on the carpet the pattern inhales the dust
when you are writing a letter to me
and love that the nib’s tipped with dust
my eyes are stabbed with pain
you sit there all day long
not daring to move
for fear that your footsteps will trample the dust
you try to control your breathing
using silence to write a story.
At times like this
the suffocating dust
offers the only loyalty
your vision, breath and time
permeate the dust
in the depth of your soul
the tomb inch by inch is
piled up from the feet
reaching the chest
reaching the throat
you know that the tomb
is your best resting place
waiting for me there
with no source of fear or alarm
this is why you prefer dust
in the dark, in calm suffocation
waiting, waiting for me
you wait for me with dust
refusing the sunlight and movement of air
just let the dust bury you altogether
just let yourself fall asleep in the dust
until I return
and you come awake
wiping the dust from your skin and your soul.
What a miracle--back from the dead.
April 9, 1999

Translated by Zheng Danyi, Shirley Lee and Martin Alexander
- See more at:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The day of writers in Prison

So many writers are in prison for exercising their right of freedom of expression. Some are in solitary confinement, some have been tortured, some are not allowed to have contact with their family. Some do not receive the mail we write... Although the prison directors sometimes keep all the mail that arrives for such a prisoner of conscience. That special day, for all the PEN-centers in the world is tomorrow Friday November 15.
A poem by Enoh Meyomesse, a writer from Cameroon:

you visited me that day
and a black night without
without moonshine
without firefly without genesis
without anything
to cut with the machete
such as the one where my steps
were lost behind the
shed of the village
oh God of the sky
a night
   ink black
comes down on me
and you oh earth
    yes you oh earth
        you had stopped

First poem from his book: Poèmes Carceral
written in the prison of Kondengui

Leaving Las Vegas

Las Vegas
small and large
stuck in a chain link fence
around a plot of
brown and green glass
William Carlos Williams
thanks for taking
a walking

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Leaving Arizona

It is all this
the expanse of land
wild vastness working on the body
the winds of sand and storm
working on the soul
the water of a wilderness
swift silty screaming cold
and the shooting stars
above the sandy night
and silence and quiet

It is all this
when one is awakened
by the moon

It is all this
and the people
one holds
the poets
the foxes
the deer
the friends
the coyotes at night

It are the mountains and mines
the minds
and never mind

It is all this...
so free and so wild

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Leaving Chloride

to go to the other life
one has
brings melancholy
Saying goodbyes.
Hoping to meet again.
Closing up.
Switching off.
Feeling the sun
going to winter
There too friends
I hope to meet again.
There too a full life.
Yet leaving here
leaves bewildering
loss in my soul
there is no way back
if it
it is what I cannot
just trying to tell

Friday, November 1, 2013

Get out in the canoe

A light metal canoe
a river below the dam
walk it to water
paddle your arms
feel the current
against you
listen to the light
a bell like riffle
against the stern
lapping of water
light illuminates the deep
counting eight whiskers
channel cat barbels on
Ictalarus pinctatus

in the waning of the light
the dark mirror
barely reflects

no thoughts
no life
but night
and Friday evening