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I drank until I was simple enough to be loved. I let myself be loved. the earth tore open beneath my feet. I drank until I was simple enough to be loved. the drink started a fire in my throat and halted my thoughts. I drank until I was simple enough to be loved. she rang and I shivered. she fought for what I squandered. son to the thought. father to the prayer. viper coiling round the legs of the grand iron bed. kaleidoscope of grainy pictures. I smoked until I was calm enough to stay. the earth tore open. she rang and I shivered. we fought for what I squandered. the son to the thought. the father to the prayer. a viper coiling round the legs of the grand iron bed. I smoked until I was calm enough to be loved.
the man at the other end screaming down the line has no patience for the dialling tone. she doesn’t answer. the man at the other end screaming down the line is standing on a plain. for him a field of flowers. in the middle of a meadow two lovers lying down without a phone. on the left side of the meadow there’s a plain. on the right side a woman in a phone booth waiting for a call. a wire runs from the phone booth. in the middle of a meadow two lovers lying down without a phone. a thick white wire above them. when the woman answers the phone the birds fly away. they’re making off with the flowers the man screams. he waits doesn’t wait for the dialling tone. he waits for the birds. then.
he drags a child through the sand. that jams. that jumps up. make yourself scarce. make yourself change species. that you die out. he drags a child through the sand. that stalls.
rings under her eyes. fast forward. candles on the cake. fast forward. rings under her eyes. her child runs wild. gets angry. control your anger. delay. fast forward. fast forward to the plain. two lovers lying in a meadow. without a phone. without a view of the phone booth. without a view of the plain. the beach tore open beneath my feet. the child fell. she rang and I shivered. the flowers vanished from the dunes. I smoked until I was calm enough to see the lovers in the meadow laugh. drank until I was quiet enough to be loved.
Written by Tsead Brunija and translated by Willem Groenewegen.
Tsead Bruinja writes both in Frisian and Dutch. He was born in 1974. In 2008, he published his fifth collection of Frisian poetry, Angel / Sting. He has also published three Dutch poetry collections. Translations of his work have appeared in magazines including Atlas (India/UK), Action Poétique (France), Mantis (USA) and Mentor (Slovenia). In 2008 he was nominated to become the Netherlands’ next Poet Laureate.
Willem Groenewegen (born 1971) is a bilingual Dutch and English poet and literary translator. He made his debut translating poetry with English translations of nine of K Michel’s poems for the anthology In a Different Light (Seren, 2001). During the ’90s his English poetry was published in various pamphlets in Britain. His Dutch work has appeared in magazines and anthologies, though he is better known here for his translations of Dutch poets into English.