Anti-kraak

in the new anti-kraak universe you play squatter
upside-down in your brain at parties you proffer

slim handshakes, some modest attempts at dutch
& a determination to stand there all day like a boer

in a landscape where he is indigenous - the white
light shining from his invisibly big head; yet you

fall under the dim star of sleep (where eerie canals
watch you breathe & you stagger from one station

to another - drugged by sundown, watching the big
orange heat ball swinging royally low over the meer

a cardboard world where settlers merrily invade each
other after dinner ... you lose a continent over coffee

or else blood-red wijn, a casualty of summer time
where the day & the air & the land are belong to us

Pronouncing the Dutch Alphabet

It would be nice to think that the English and Dutch languages are similar.

In many instances – individual words, phrases, roots – they are indeed related; however it is precisely their differences that make true understanding possible.

This is immediately apparent when any native English speaker confronts the strange and rigid (and seemingly atonal) Dutch alphabet. While some letters sound the same as their English counterparts, others sound like other English letters.

Further, this can lead to confusion when English speakers spell words or names aloud, as I discovered when I had to spell my name out to a Dutch teleworker recently.

Listen to this audio clip of the Dutch ‘alfabet’ being read aloud.

You’ll notice immediately that key vowels are different: “A” is like the English “R”; “E” sounds like the English “A”; and “I” sounds like the English “E”. Thankfully “O” and “U” are reasonably consistent.

Let’s not even get started on the consonants just yet. When the teleworker read my name back to me, it had been garbled. I had become Devid Paetia.

Paging Mr Paetia, Mr D. Paetia …

Tongzoenen

in the heart of your mouth there's a tongue
there's a beat there's a heart shaped like 

stars & that's where you are (& valentine's 
day lasts for ten more hours when you're on

the line you're mine i'm whining about how
time will neither speed up nor slow down &

here we are in a zone that's out of time &
out of tune with here & there i stumble on

& stare out the windows of trains & trams 
thinking of a powerkus & of tongzoenen

it's not a zone it is a kus & it is not like 
cous cous but a kus a bus full of kussen &

there's a hole in the clock & it's stopped 
the video froze right at the part where we

embraced the zero dial a figure-eight face
"cut!" yells the director & we just stare 

(go back to the script & learn your parts 
i read the in-flight magazines of airlines 

i have never flown on inspect their routes
the clusters of curving red lines meeting

in strange locations like maui & nairobi (i
exists on some plane level with cloud seen 

from an airbus like an airkus my tongue is
circling inside my mouth & like a shark we

never stop moving even in our sleep & gills
well what are they for? (learn your lines! 

this day it is in transit it's a passenger
without luggage strolling past a carousel

ha ha it says i have no need to wait today
is my name & you are here cross-fade these

heartbeats dj spin your wheels! love songs 
are so yesterday (when we have tongzoenen

on the tip of your tongue is the destination 
i will be there in three weeks okay? okay.