by Yannick Dangre


Sunday morning. People jog

through your head, but you don’t know them. You see

only their poker face, the kilos

of lost joy that have wormed their way

into their hips.


Sometimes you laugh at it. At other times you bite back

the music and impotence that pound through their ears.

Loss of face splits the park.


You’re well aware, you too should do something

about your health, about the fattening

of memories and old lovers

who sing through your joints like arthrosis.


You ignore it. You prefer to play poker in a book

or pub for a better future. You lose

and even your most tender ex guffaws as she

repeats her parting song.


Stairway to heaven. Vondelpark. For years

a broken iPod has murmured in your heart.



He is nine and still wants to be a lion.

You try to tell him

about inventors, Porsches, poets

who sold their hero’s death years

in advance, but he wants none of it.


So you’re walking here again and watch

your son dreaming his way through

the bars. ‘Look, Daddy, look,’ he coos


and you nod. Long ago you too heated

your attic room with pure lust for life.


Each night you’d creep through girl’s hearts and

with pen or patent slink away

from your contemporaries. It didn’t work. No fame


or dough or Porsche. Just a wage slip

that mocks your pride and a son

who just won’t become a king.

From Retroactive (2014); translated by Paul Vincent