Saturday, December 20, 2014



 Luxury means something different to different people. To inmates in the Antwerp jail it are poetry books in a language the prisoners can read as City Poet Laureate Stijn Vrancken found out when the he looked into what category of books were most borrowed from the jail's library. And yes, to his astonishment, it was poetry. So Stijn asked his fellow poets, writers and readers to bring their books to the 'Letteren huis' (House of letters) in as many languages as we had. I brought a stack consisting of Dutch, French, Cornish, German, English and Italian. Walking through the city with my the emptied caddy, I came upon a magnificent place, totally in period, tastefully restaurated. I asked whether I might take some pictures... I was, as I often do, wearing black. So the owner of the shop explained I shouldn't wear black, that doing so is cheap. One should only wear silk and real cashmere and color, and pattern... In other words to buy stunning clothing one can wear but few times on social occasions because otherwise people would say: Oh, there she is with that gorgeous dress, again and again... He then showed me some mindbogglingly beautiful dresses, one with a coat lined in the same silk pattern as the dress itself. I said: I obviously could never afford that lifestyle. His answer surprised me: I should find a sponsor... I can't figure out what he really means. Was he seeing Elisa Doolittle whom he could turn into a lady? Was he suggesting I should invest in one such dress and find a lover with good taste and money to burn?

So I have been wondering what my personal luxury would be: A pretty colorful, aging hippie hoody? Or is it rather being in the warm company of interesting people even if they are penniless, impecunious and without funds, had to flee their country for speaking out, for being at risk because of poems they wrote. My luxury is knowing, Tade, Déo and Hazim, and reading their work... Knowing Rollean and his always nonviolent stand for justice and peace.
May they all be safe. To them safety is luxury.

To me luxury is being with four people in a room and each one is from a different continent...

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