Saturday, January 21, 2012

goodbye den-warcrimes-haag

pretty moment den haag by apennyfortheoldguy

so. i have three more days. on the fourth i leave. goodbye Hague. goodbye Netherlands. goodbye Europa. perhaps it is high time to stop and take stock of the last four months.


(1) for the second time this decade i stumbled around europe broken-hearted, confused, sad;
for the second time this decade i tried to run the clock on days by finding strange cinemas and dreaming myself into a different life.

(2) such fireworks. (i've never seen.) such madness. what a thrill.

(3) the Netherlands is a perfect place for an alien invasion to commence. never in my life have i left a country having developed an outright prejudice,_ but there you have it. i have discovered a place that is truly charmless.

(4) i grew a beard i loved. now it's gone. i see its shadow every day. what an odd thing to miss.

(5) inexplicably, i've had more lovers in the last four months than i've had in the last four years. all but one of them singular, stark experiences. icebergs scattered over 4 months of cold nights. things i couldn't cling to even if i had wanted to. phantom hours. the bones and fossils of affection. i have never seduced more women i have not been seduced by.

(6) in the rain i rode my bike. in the wind, when it almost knocked me over twice - a man walked besides me quicker than i could pedal. i rode by bike in the mist, i could see three feet ahead. the light lit up just that. i kept imagining the world would end and i'd tumble over off away into nothing and nothing and nothing. (it would be so quiet)

(7) when i danced with you i was alive and young and everything was something. you were something i could hold in my hands. i grasped you with my whole body. wouldn't let you go. haven't let you go. ___the ebb and flow of memories. i know you'll come and go. i'll find you from time to time when i drink tea and stare out of train windows and run on treadmills. you'll drift in and out of focus, blurred and green and dancing. i remember when we met, that's unusual too, i don't usually remember things like that. (here's one goodbye i put back in my pocket and avoid spending)

(8) today was my 22nd consecutive day of work. not a day off in almost a month. three more to go. my trash can today was nothing but paper coffee cups, cans of redbull and wrappers from muesli bars. what are you always doing? the others in my office want to know. i can never answer them directly. i don't want to upset them. are you really that busy?, what are you working on? i've crossed the intern-lawyer divide. ahh. just some evidence credibility stuff i say. truth is she's checking the footnotes on my draft. i offered to do it myself but "no. __nonono. we need your brain. come pick up the BiH draft from my office after lunch. A few people have been through it but... just... i don't know, fix it."
___I'm proud of myself, but i'm more proud of life. i had hoped it were true, and it is. work harderest. do anyevery task you get as well as you can. do it enthusiastically and with a smile. #Conquer.

(9) i am presently alive. which means in 4 months i have managed not to kill myself on a bicycle.

(10) the great mexican standoff. i refused to pay rent for my last month, he refused to guarantee return of my deposit. the art of war i kept saying, planning the next email response. the next move. he rejected, i challenged. he agreed, i vacillated. he changed the locks, i got in through a closet. then i walked away, destroyed his reputation, calmed my nerves, tried to meet a deadline and several hours later found myself mostly-naked falling asleep in a massive bed with a beautiful girl whose brown eyes sparkled at me in the dark.

(11) night after night. lying awake. not a wink of sleep. when i had them, i'd take a pill at 3 just to put an end to the shadowed monotony of it. __during the day i'd take the opposite pills to keep me sitting at my desk. sad as a teenage friday just keep reading i'd tell myself. keep reading till it's all over. (the waves) . (the furies) . (by any other name ... ) . they catch/caught up (me).
and then.
they left.

just like that.

(12) i just want to work out. i can run my way out of this. there's a solution to any problem in the convulsions of my body.


it's taken nearly 2 hours to write this.
i don't know why.
maybe time is heavier than i thought.

(and faster)
(and slower)

good bye ICTY - which i'll miss
good bye holland - which i won't.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

birthday notapoem.

NB: letter to mar + portrait to follow. (when i'm not at work). (with people's... noises) (blame them for cutting this short)


even this time , i can't decide if it holds any water

an imaginary line a clock or two trip over ::
here now ends.starts another walk around the park.

i always feel loved at the quiet dinners. the same words we've used all day
spin them around our cups and roll them out again

it's almost midnight. they know the score but ask anyway: will i call a girl or hava drink or what?

(i smirk. another of those questions we lose immediately down a drain and don't miss).


i'm grateful for the lack of wind. _for once
i arrive with something in my lungs.

to be considerate i let my room sit on mostly in darkness.
we share tea and nod through the things our mothers sisters fathers tell us -
the same words we've used all our days.

when i smile for my sister i remember what honesty is ;

i don't know much about the circus-show. in the parking lot i meet my friends and what we have
we hide in our bones.
_____(good luck worms gnawing their names off)


when she picks up: you remembered i say. her response settles it: mothers don't forget.

i had hoped she would. it would make me feel better for not knowing how to count days.

i wouldn't give you the satisfaction she says.

because i feel suddenly so completely loved i'm overcome with guilt for each of the allbirthdays i've (always)forgotten - all my lost chances to make someone feel like this delicious


i lie , alone . : ' , _think_ .

compare it.

when women purrr.breathe through the night, _gradations in gravity
__it's a tide ,
_______warmth.. _and sound,

in four hours i'll get up again for work.
on sunday.
__(it seems appropriate to me that today is a sunday)

the clock reads 3:59pm.
_i edit what i edit. __check what i check. ___occasionally add a sentence.

you're going home alone and working tomorrow? she's a little appalled. howwhy?


because at the fingertip of my 29th year,

perhaps for the firstest time , (( maybe it always feels like the first when it's fresh ))

at the liptip of my 29th year

i can finally stand. _upstraight.

and over beyond that curve there's a-something i can't imagine yet ,


what's new.

these are our words , always been.

our days, a few of yours in my pack of cards, a few of mine in your wallet.

when i sleep in the cold i whisper mar's blanket:

____it could never have been anything else
____it could never have been anything else
____it could never have been anything else

(thank god).


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

now playlist

30 dec - 3 jan

written on the sky by max richter

an echo from the hosts that profess infinitum by shabazz palaces

solitary native by alix perez & sabre

kaputt (LP) by destroyer

clouds (live unplugged) by patrice

palace by A$AP Rocky

video games by lana del rey

song for shelley by larry fegan the vegan

marvin's room by drake

sahara mahala by the jezebels (recently removed from illicit music list)

a little piece by the jezebels (as above)

the rock of 2011

i suppose it's expected that i write about 2011. a review or something. but i can't. not that i don't want to, i have lots i'd like to explore about it. but i actually can't. there's no way to do it and not write about _her. __i can't do it without her, she's too much of everything of it.

the problem is i can't seem to write about anything else either. it's a bit of a standstill. a mexican standoff. a rock standing between me and myself.

but tonight's not the night to try and fight it. i'm too tired. too old tonight. maybe tomorrow i'll be younger, and i can tackle it then. maybe tomorrow i'll be braver and braver.

tonight no.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

31 december 2011

flowers around your feet by meyrem

after some minutes of staring at the ceiling i decided no. i'll go. no point sitting at home all day. so i got dressed, had my delightful bowl of cereal, got the tram got tea got on the train and headed off.


one of the most helpful things would be to know what my triggers are. for days i'd felt a sadness approaching. you can sense it in your brain's weather. you just know it's on its way. you hear it pacing outside your door, that sort of thing. i wish i knew what event(s) trigger it, invited it in. ___anyway, here it was now.


i stare out the window and think if maybe it's simply a response to the 31st of december. on anniversary dates i'm often contemplative and moody.

in my head i compose a quite nice poem i don't currently remember a word of.

i drink my tea.

i watch things pass me.


there are firecrackers everywhere. at first i think it's just mischievous youths setting them off under people's cars, but then i pass a family - a father and his two sons and he's showing them how to light them and when to throw them. Amsterdam sounds like a war zone. relentless shelling. my first thoughts are the siege of Sarajevo. my second thoughts are the first time i heard a bomb hit in Haifa. only difference was that in Haifa the ground shook. the ground doesn't shake. i stop being scared, but it has a strange effect to walk through a city that sounds like it's under constant artillery barrage.


it's a horrible day to be here. every riff-raff-miscreant-mislead-youth from England and continental Europe has descended upon Amsterdam for a new year's spend smoking, drinking and whoring. everyone you pass is a red-eyed youth in a tracksuit speaking in louty-vernacular and spitting too often. mostly men. a few girls straggle along from time to time.

at one point the crowd is just too much and my heart-rate rises noticeably. this hasn't happened in a while i think to myself. i breathe deeply and look for the most immediate route out of the horde. yes yes, that's right, next i start to feel a little nauseous, i'm strangely comforted by how consistent this is with my memory of former panic attacks.

but i'm out of it all soon enough. i walk towards the edge of a larger street where people are better distributed. i do little skips over puddles and concentrate on the church in the distance. i wonder if she's disappointed in us.


it's new year's eve. i can't not attend. i'm always conscious not to over-step the boundary between 'independent/mysterious/fickle/he-sometimes-just-doesn't-show-up' and simply 'plain-weird'. not showing up would be 'plain-weird' behaviour. i have to show.

shaking off the spooks is going to take a serious campaign.

i load up a playlist of southpark episodes. grab two redbulls out of the refrigerator. take one pill (not two, that'll calm me into roboticism). pull up the Get_PSYCHED! playlist on my phone and play that in the background.


FROM: apennyfortheoldguy
TO: another guest

SUBJECT: (no subject)

outfit selected. temptation to revert into PJ mode successfully averted. all signals cleared for take off


the municipality arranges a firework display. but i don't notice them, i don't even know in which direction to look for those ones. on every street of the Hague residents armed with professional grade fireworks are lighting the sky. it's unlike anything i've ever seen. the almost freezing air is smoky like a nightclub. in the centre isle of the street men attach things to lightposts with electric tape and put out boxes that look like car batteries. they light them with their cigarettes and run quickly back to our side shouting with a smile 'big boom' or 'little boom' or 'big light' or 'whoooosh'. each of these, i learn, is a true description. big boom sounds more or less like tank artillery crashing into the building next to you. the whole street shakes. big light makes midnight look like midday.

some of the neighbors see me jumping up and down in glee screaming let's burn something and hand me a box of firecrackers and their lighter to keep me out of trouble. i spend the next 50 minutes running up and down the street lighting these things and throwing them around and an hour later notice the tips of all my fingers are burnt.


when i look back i see person A speaking to person B, who's leaned in to hear his words, and he's leaned in to hear hers. Person C and D have disappeared together. My boss sits at the table behind me having a conversation with someone from Serbia, asking him specific points about grammar and pronunciation. someone i met 2 hours ago is speaking to someone i met 2 weeks ago in animated fashion in furious french.

i'm not particularly involved in any of this. i'm watching from the kitchen, where i've covertly made myself a cup of tea and am watching with distanced pleasure. i'm spotted: is that... tea?
- do you mind? i just helped myself.
- no, actually, i was thinking how much i'd like a cup of tea myself.
[i put my mug down and re-fill the kettle]


eight people stand around in the kitchen, each holding a mug of tea to their lips. approximately four conversations are passing between them.

i'm not sure if i'm involved in any of them.

but this is my life. i'm involved in that. and the year has put itself to sleep as gracefully as it can. and, what i can say about 2011 is that it'll sleep with a few bumps but no nightmares. and we celebrated her funeral like a birthday.