Saturday, February 23, 2008


A revered old poet and friend turned 86 today and we visited him in the old peoples home so that he would feel special and not forgotten. One brought pretty, happy flowers, the other a Javannais, a third bought drinks for all. What did I learn today? That one goes on writing and reading, questioning and following one's heart. That loneliness can be alleviated by holding hands even if it are the wrong hands, that hold little conversation. That friendship and warmth can put a sparkle and a fire in one's eyes, accepting that melancholy will come back when one is on one's own again in the small room and the bed full of papers pulled out for the visitors. Miel wrote pencil on paper:

The poem
I write
in this finite
of infinity

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Army of the Air

In the grey winter morning light the glamour of a European high street doesn’t really reflect on the recruiting office of the Air Force, huddled between Gucci, Hermes, Cartier, Vuiton and the best delicatessen for paté de foie grass and such titbits. Why is it there in that location? Do they want to give themselves an air of riches and class and make one forget among all the opulence about gore and blood that is inevitably part of any conflict…

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Written Lives

If you are at all interested in the authors who wrote the classics, do read this delightfully irreverent series of mini-biographies. Nothing of the tedious pompousness some ‘real’ studies seem to be clad in, but a human, compassionate view of the characters as told through a few anecdotes. A light easy read, very instructive and insightful. I learned about His Sadness Turgenev, the likable Drunk Lowry who is followed around by various fires, sharing this trait with the family of Sherman Alexie. Of course we learn about endless affairs and believe me in 1862 during the permissive, even libertine Edwardian period in England, orgies, sodomy and other ‘irregularities’ were quite normal. That is as long as they were kept within one’s circle of higher class, salons and artists. Strange to read the list of lovers and knowing who died of syphilis… Javier Marias adds a short series about the portraits of well known writers which will make you take a second look at any pictures you have lying around of yourself. A pleasant interludium

Friday, February 15, 2008


‘Like water for Chocolate’, meaning made for each other, is one book by Laura Esquivel, turned into a marvelous picture. I now just finished Malinche a story where history and Native American myth, legend and interpretation of history and facts is mixed together in a short, fast read. If you are interested in language, you need to reed this book. Malinalli, becomes Cortés’ interpreter and lover. He hopes to build alliances. She tries to avoid disaster. Thus she ponders on how the interpret the words of the parties involved. She has long been seen as a traitor to her people. Esquivel shines another light on the end or beginnings of cultures. Interesting is the weaving together of the Old Mayan religion with Christianity, and we learn a bit while reading. And yes it is a love affair of Cortés and his interpreter, that had to clash and break because of his violent ruthless hunger for power. What puzzles me is that this novel is written by a woman and through the main female character's eyes. Yet the cruelty of the human sacrifice is seen as bad, whereas the cruelty and sadistic behavior of Cortés is seen as erotic. Is it because Malinalli has been given away as a slave a few times in her life that she seems to be in a SM kind of relationship, or is she just trying to save her hide and give in to whatever is needed? Or did some trace of prejudice sneak in against Native American cultural expressions?
-What he brought with him, aside from delusion of grandeur and a yearning to see the world, was a desire for liberty.
-Cannons and horses were effective when dealing with savages, but in a civilized context, the ideal thing was to seal alliances, negotiate, win over, and all this could be done only through dialog, of which he was deprived of the very start. --- This was a mission that would be built from the start on the basis of words. Words were its bricks, courage its mortar. Without words, without language, without speeches, there was no mission, and with no mission, no conquest.
-Malinalli believed that words colored memory, planting images each time that a thing was named. --- Being ‘The Tongue’ was a great spiritual duty, for it meant putting all her being at the service of the gods so that het tongue was part of the resounding system of the divinity, so that her voice would spread through the cosmos the very meaning of existence. --- Words were warriors, be they sacred warriors, or simple mercenaries.
-Migration is an act of survival.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Got an electric problem with my laptop. So I will not be online for a couple of days... :-(

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tutu Pouane

Tutu Pouane was one of the star studded cast of the crazy, great show Goddamn! A tribute to Nina Simone. Yesterday night she was playing a nice theater at 11 minutes walk from where I live and she brought her program 'Song'. From her band the piano player and base was there, both great and as a special surprise we had Dré Pallemaerts on the drums, our big international Jazz star. You hear him in the link here with Robin Verheyen. Tutu Pouane's soft slow songs were deeply moving, her technical prowess in the the jazz vocalizations just wonderful. The night filled us with beauty and tenderness, gave energy and we had sparkles and tears in our eyes. I love Jazz because of the ritualized structure, which gives a framework for each to excel and be the best s/he can. With a nod or a beat they understand when to take over or join in to create transcendental beauty, power stemming from working together or tenderness from the answers to each other's calls. If only the music of life where like that...