Two prose poems by Nyk de Vries



A small group was passing through the street with Bibles in their hands. My father was standing next to me, grinning. He said, “Those people still believe in God.” He probably stopped to think about what he’d just said. The word “still” implied progress. “Those people still believe in God.” It suggested levels of increasing insight. My father sniffed and mumbled, “We still believe in progress.” Silently we watched the slight figures until the small group had disappeared around the corner. Then I looked to the side and behind me. There was no one there.



It had slowly grown dark. I stood up and saw yellow taxis driving past. Outside I hailed one and took it to the south district where I had a date with someone I knew from high school. We went into a bar, told each other the latest news and drank beer and wine. A renewed romance was in the air, but it just went on and on. Around eleven we were startled by a shuddering hamster that rolled over the floor and died on the spot. I’d seen it coming. When you chat for too long, something dies.


Nyk de Vries was born in Friesland, a province in the northern part of the Netherlands. He is a writer and a musician. Since 2000 he has written two novels and a collection of flash fiction, Motorman & 39 andere prozagedichten (Motorman & 39 other prose poems). He is currently working on a new collection and an album, the CD version of his Motorman collection. Nyk de Vries lives and works in Amsterdam.

David Colmer is an Australian writer and translator who lives in Amsterdam. He has won several prizes for his translations of Dutch literature, including the 2009 NSW Premier’s Translation Prize for his body of work and the 2010 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for The Twin, with author Gerbrand Bakker. His most recent book-length translation is Dimitri Verhulst’s The Misfortunates, published by Portobello in London.

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