Wherever the soul comes from
(for the Dutch poet Joop Bersee)
I have to stop living in this torment if only
for you. I have to begin to live in gratitude
more. This eternity that I think lifts only
when I write. Can you translate this for me,
or tell me what it is about. I only write in
English, and understand English, but I don’t
mean to sound arrogant. Sorry if I sound
arrogant. I don’t mean to be selfish. Sorry
if I sound selfish. There are people in this
world who play holy. Sorry if I come across
like that. All I know is that all poets are
anointed, holy, and sacred no matter what
language they write in, and like you I am
also grand by the way. You wrote a very
fine poem. Thank you for your honesty, and
please stay in touch, sir. Send me another poem.
I’m writing a series of poems on sobriety.
Sister says this house is a palace. Brother
was calm today, and I, I wait. I wait for
the white fields of snow that come in winter.
I lock the backdoor at night. Check all the
doors. I drink sister’s tea. Brother made a
cross when he came out of rehab. He fashioned
it out of fallen branches. A rusty nail holds
it together. And very soon all our lives became
like that cross. Brother became determined
to live, and not give up. He was the eye of the tiger,
and we all lived to become theologians.
We became like chameleons, and all of our winters
soon turned into summers in his hands.