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POETRY OF JOOP BERSEEPOETRY OF JOOP BERSEE


I Am A Pawn Undiluted River
Heroin Lebanese House Mine, Hers?
Glimpse I Look At My Hands Freedom of Speech
She has rich words Off she went Early in the morning
Ending it I want to go to the Dylan Thomas boathouse Foreshore
Details are slipping Song Into My Brain That Me
The swollen river and the stick Death in Detention in Syria Oak Tree








I Am A Pawn

I love the way nature is cruel to itself,
Or so it seems. Perhaps I have fear in my eyes,
To meet nature on its own turf, nothing
To defend myself. That moment will come.
So far I managed to keep the draft away.
Then one day I’ll be naked, a blue dripping skin.
My black eyes roaring, my nails cutting
Clouds. I can only watch. This foul dog
Will put its snout deep inside and snap my back.
I am allowed to watch. I am a pawn I guess,

The sea a restless broom, eager to sweep.
The sea is a dictator, a dog barking day and night,
Licking the wounds of the coast, where splintered
Bone has broken the skin, drooling froth on
The curved ribs. A heart beating inside. Assignment.
The earth turns and turns and we are dust. I am.
Fire, lightning, waves, storms. The earth destroys
Itself. So we must die, one by one. Today, tomorrow.

 





Undiluted

I used to drink
A lot
To be able to write.

Now I write
Without alcohol,
The blood undiluted.

 





River

The river travels.
It’s a long ribbon
Babbling through
Landscapes of stone,
Plants, small towns
And the chimneys of
Cities with their rich
And poor.

Only when
The river is thin
Can you hear its different
Voices: the trickling soprano’s,
Tenors, a few leaves,
Wings of restless dragonflies.

Compared to an ocean
This is just a drop,
Even when sliding
Like a truck
After the rain,
Carrying dead things,

But also seeds
Made to conquer
The long arm of winter,
Carrying them
Into spring with
Its dark green

Grass,
The rich,
Yellow buttercups
Screaming
Victory.

 





Heroin

The river crawls like a snake in my arm,
Into my bowels, bounces up into my head,
Then flows gently towards a pasture

And trees, lovely beeches, branches of
A forest getting thicker, the sound of
Strange birds louder and louder, purple red

Horizon of birds of paradise. They say
That one day the forests will be gone,
Destroyed by fires, our dining-tables.

But they are wrong. The river flows to
Pastures and the roots of beech trees.

 





Lebanese House


A pool of blood and water
Colliding with dry sand on

The concrete floor. Newspapers
Lie scattered. A pockmarked patch

On the wall talks like a
Nervous, stuttering witness.







Mine, Hers?

My mother is her hands.
She sits like Buddha and
Plays with a few fingers,
Looking at them. First

There were cobwebs
Between her old fingers.
Now they are gone;
Slowly she wakes up

Inside me and starts to
Open the cupboards and
Becomes young again
As she lives between the

Hairs of my eyelashes,
Bending, what do I see,
Or what does she see
Through my eyes, hers?







Glimpse

They had tried
To cover
The sprawled
Limbs

With a blanket.
Traffic going
The other way,
Windshields,

Almost came to a halt,
Faces staring, oval &
Fascinated,
Trying

To catch a glimpse
Of the afterlife

On places
Where
The body
Wasn’t properly
Covered.

 





I Look At My Hands

I look at my hands again.
The last ten days they’ve looked like

Animals, things that live their
Own lives. Aliens moving.
Sooner or later they will go
Places I don’t want to go
To; the recycling soil,
Or the incinerator.

No, they are not exactly
A role model to follow.

 





Freedom of Speech

The counterdemonstrators
Ripped up the peace sign
Of a war protester.

Her sign in shreds
She was in tears.

Not about the sign,
A piece of cloth,

But about those
Returning from war

Frozen
In a box.







She has rich words

She has rich words. For
His friends are her friends.
His beating, whipping words
Are hiding, bruises behind
Christmas trees, holidays
Planned years ahead, his
Unwillingness to say yes.

His hidden mouth
On the other side
Of the fish pond.

What luck can turn sour?

When she is alone in the house
She sometimes melts on the
Old stairs, feels the stairs,
The rough wood. She’ll never
Understand the incurable sore
Which has no meaning.
She just carries it with her.

 





Off she went

In memory of Irene and Pingle


She walked the dog.
The day peeled off a
Life and so the dog died.
A few years sailed past,
Quite a breeze, getting

Wet, wet, ropes pulling
Calluses, cuts, bruises,
Till death caught another
Sail in the wind. Off she

Went, over the fence, to
Where she and dog met,
Where they walk now,
Somehow forever.

How can it be? Or is it
This green field inside my
Head, where I see them
Walk now and then?







Early in the morning

Early, she turns the key,
The engine starts, her body
Feeling the tremor.
She looks at her watch.
And as she releases the handbrake
A train roars through her car,
Spreading its grey wings,
Stars of ashes coughing.
She returns in the evening;
The morning restored,
The seasons packed in a
Ship, colour of sunsets,
And fish and flowers
Enter the basket on the
Backseat of her car.

 





   

Ending it

The man who jumped off that
Building used to be like you and me;
Baby brand new, loved, milk,
Birthday presents, fever, more
Christmas presents, a cat, a dog,

School, first kiss, first hangover,
First job and other chapters.
Then a fuse blew.
Will that ever happen to us?
Blowing a gasket?

Who thinks about that
Walking around in the
Showroom full of shiny cars,
The smell of rubber and interiors?
This car is going to last.

Forget about the gasket.
The engine blowing up.
That baby jumping off a roof?
Don’t be crazy!
Police ribbons are gone now.

   





 

I want to go to the Dylan Thomas boathouse

I want to go to the boathouse.
I want to go to the Welsh boathouse.

A museum now, it has
Been smeared with the grease
Of dirty hands, sticky coca-cola
Hands, juicy hamburger hands,
Shiny noses and the farts
Of tourists from all over
Rubbing another original layer
Off the floor and walls.

They come here to worship,
This shrine,
This white and blue house,
Its estuary and the shed
Where he used to write,

Smoking cigarettes, opening
Rows of bottles,
Not writing a lot -

That is where
I want to go.

Where they visit the grave
And Caitlin’s grave.
She had no time to listen
To his poem while cooking
Cockles holding a baby.

How will it feel
Going to the boathouse?
Perhaps like going to a place
Where someone’s grave
Used to be.

   





   

Foreshore

My mother’s veined
Hands are in her lap.

The left hand starts
Rubbing the right hand.

The right hand that’s her.
The left brings it back

From the chilly foreshore
With its eager waves.

 





   

Details are slipping

More and more details
Slip away as she ages,
Opening a window,
Letting a fly escape.
How it will be chased
By the small bats
Patrolling the house.

She realises these are
Her boundaries her route.
No miracle, just evening,
The soundless wings snatching
From dusk to darkness.

   





Song Into My Brain

I am I am.
I am and being used.
I am and are using.
I am and am a liar.
I am and lick feet with my eyes,
My heart and my brain.
I hear the red warning that the light will be red.
Stop. But please don’t stop,
If you lie or not my ears are wrong in
The wind and the whistle,
The wrong song into my brain.

Liars are born out of a lie,
To do good. Better not
The truth. Lying to let them
Froth at the mouth because they are constantly
Not themselves, the waves,
The oceans and the havoc
They create. We are their masters,
I am a king. But once invited
Without being rude, another lie,
I die the moment I answer and say Hi,
The ocean into each orifice,
There, not wanting to be there.
But the law says I am.
It is written I am.

   





   

That Me

I am so much nobody, often,
When I listen to some of the thoughts
Of big names, big thinkers, Jung.
Somehow all they say makes sense
Unless you put it all together,
Try to add it up, then you won’t
Get one message, one answer.
You need someone to replace the motherboard;
No answer worn out. Computer smoking, burning.

Is my thinking a program? Machine like?
Can’t be, considering my medication.
I am already not myself.
I want to go to the sea to see for myself.
I want to scratch my arms and put plasters on them.
Sometimes I wonder what dies when I die.
My birth can have influenced every day of my life.
The butterfly is not a pair of pretty wings.
Perhaps the park has surrendered to its insects.
Or is it a haven for them to eat and be eaten?

No wonder the joints, alcohol, drugs, glue sniffing
From the early morning till the yellow/brown season,
Autumn or Fall. Who consumes those
Leaves, the dying insects, sick birds, old shoes against a fence?
Whose footprints are those? Does it leave footprints?
Am I a TV, the remote control hidden in
A stranger’s hand? Hindu, Christian, blackjack.
Me stored in a cold room, almost ready for
The autopsy, blue eyes staring, cutting.

This is my car lying here. Even when it is gone,
Gone through a chimney, smoke and ashes,
I will be there because my body tells me so.
Birds follow the stars and the sun and I am hungry
Or need to go to the bathroom, toilet.
I stare at my eyes and wonder who I see. I listen
To my strings, my nerves so tight. I listen to the
Banana’s on the kitchen sink, cruising, telling me
What time it is. Not one clock the right time.

 





   

The swollen river and the stick

For Jackson Pollock


The swollen river and the stick. Black paint.
The swirls of enamel splattering the earth:
Horizons and dust, comets, empty faces,
the stars never tired dark on their way.

The comet called Pollock caught in a box.
Brushes gone hard. Caught in a car. Oldsmobile:
He entered, top open. The cylinders were moving
as the earth moved through black and

the holes of fire, God’s spit, running
as deep as the waters where ships rest,
their eyes taken by teeth and death
of light and spring. The salmon

rushing towards the green leaves.
Sheets of dented metal, hands in the air.
Who’s hands built this grave for a man?
This is his best painting, this one.

This is the one that died, thundering.
The 1950 car overturned, yellow and brown,
totem waiting for him, lavender fields,
the last photograph, lost everything.







Death In Detention In Syria

(Zainab, 18 yrs old)


Not the first, not the last.
The first woman, but not the last.
Zainab al-Hosni was silenced.
But first she had to sing their
Song, fill in the gaps. She didn’t
Need her skin, you can sing
Without a skin. Skinned, skinned.

Then they silenced her, decapitated,
Fingerprints removed, her
Arms hacked off. Not the first,
And not the last. The first woman in
Syria to die in custody,
Who died in custody since protests
Erupted in March 2011. 3011. 4011. 5011. 6011. 7011.
All over the world. In each and every country.
In the open or hidden, growing nevertheless;
Read your history books.

There are always new people
To hack and to die, bodies to rot,
Presidents to swing with a broken neck,
In the streets of the President.
The tree has come down. The paper
Has been made. The airline ticket to the judges.
The rope is waiting.

You cannot hide behind gold and silver.
You cannot hide behind champagne,
Your puppets drooling dreaming together
With you. Death is silence. Quiet. Closing in
On you, today and today and today mister President.

24/Sept/2011







Oak Tree

For Jamey Rodemeyer* - gay.


The beggars were pounding at the door.
Digital pole-axes. Ugly eyes, mouths
Surrounding you. Spider webs, foul
Mud. Their ancient words came crawling
Out of guts, the pearls of worms, loud
Chambers of stone. Tremor of words
Softly vibrating into your spine.
Water in a silent pond, sudden ripples,
Wandering flood, where is your harbour,
Where is your day, your cornerstone?

You are a wheel, refusing to stop,
Involving our eternity as long as we breathe.
The wheel keeps on turning, even after
Our begging for mercy has decayed in God’s hands.
I wonder where your story will end.
Born like this. Died like this.
Remembered by unseen creatures in the sea,
Secret words in an old book. But also
Fortissimo, tearing our ears, brains
As the soft voice becomes louder,
Larger, grows from an acorn into
A tree. A tree is beautiful, or
A tree is simply a tree.

28/Sept/2011

*14 year old bullied for being gay to the
extent that he committed suicide.

 



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