Cemetery Gates / Armchair

Cemetery Gates / Armchair

Cemetery Gates

A dreaded sunny day
so I meet you at the cemetry gates.
Bilderdijk and Beets are on your side.

A dreaded sunny day
so I meet you at the cemetry gates.
Bilderdijk and Beets are on your side,
while Herman Gorter is on mine.

So we go inside and we gravely read the stones
all those people, all those lives, where are they now?
With-a loves and hates and passions just like mine
They were born, and then they lived, and then they died
Seems so unfair, I want to cry.

You say: “There the light reflects in the blue crystalline
and you pretend to have thought it up yourself.
But I have a library subscription, sir,
and I know whose version I prefer!

You say: “’Ere long done do does did”
words which could only be your own
and then produce the text from whence was ripped
some dizzy whore, 1804.

A dreaded sunny day, so let’s go where we’re happy
and I meet you at the cemetry gates.
Oh, Bilderdijk and Beets are on your side.

A dreaded sunny day, so let’s go where we’re wanted
And I meet you at the cemetry gates
Bilderdijk and Beets are on your side, but you lose
cause Herman Gorter is on mine.

*

Armchair

It smells like figs after a rainstorm.
A long time ago it gave up, but I didn’t listen
to its croaky song. It has a broad back,
a territory, and heartbreak, of course.

It is the last of an ancient lineage
and so not very adventurous
but so cosy, caress it and it sighs
or clatters like an old letterbox,
heartfelt fatty, warm air octopus.

Old sorcerer’s dog who only barks
when the moon manages
to beat the voodoo
tangle into skeins.

*

You take one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s and translate it into Dutch. And then you translate it back into English and look, it actually got slightly better. When will those English people finally learn that they can whitewash their own language through Dutch? A missed opportunity by Morrissey not to start talking about his library subscription. We owe this invention to Bart van der Pligt, by the way; if I am not mistaken, this was his translation. One line is actually by Vondel. He also made a superb midi drum sequence for this song which never found its way to musicians, who are too busy performing these days. Too bad!

Armchair is one of those poems from the animated universe which is the real energetic universe we all used to live in. We all know one of those fantastic armchair wizards, I think, and as I was translating it I suddenly heard Morrissey again, you’re the one for me, fatty. I guess I’ll never manage to escape the grip of that octopus.

Martijn 25-01-2023

By their shhhroom shall ye know them

M.H.H. Benders is a most recognised poet of his generation, a student of the universal mycelia,  Amanita Sage and mycophilosopher. He wrote sixteen books, the last ones at the Kaneelfabriek (Cinnamon Factory). He is currently working on ‘SHHHHHHROOM a book on mushrooms and the Microdose Bible, which is an activation plan to restore your true identity coming next year. Keep in touch!

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