Thursday, August 22, 1996


I'm mulling Bert Schierbeek's words 
in Een Plek, in Tirade, vol. 32,
an essay on homesickness
and of lost youth, circa 1988,
in translation. What is lost?
Besides the words themselves?
But I don't understand Dutch
so this is all supposition.
What is homesickness?
You left that place armed
with a wooden sword
and a flask of cold tea.
Armed unto the road,
you were, it was not negotiable.
You had to fight for it. The distance.
A boy running away from home.
This place was never the place,
but places where the heart wanders off to.
The house of language
is the same everywhere,

said Faulkner. A prison
of hypnotic rhythms, and cadence.
I would tell you more, Dear Reader,
but I am not authorized, and
I can't tell you where Bert's words
leave off, and mine begin. it's like that.
There are so few gods left to contend with.
Think of transposition. Bert said:
The Beat Generation had to leave,
they had to go on the open road
looking for a piece of lost America.

A downtrodden culture.
Looking for their own roots
with their heads in the clouds
they were homesick for a place
they made it for us, said Miller, in Paris.
Hell, and the front door of paradise opened.
America is a dream of displaced Europeans,
and a rather curious vagueness
of the literature of place.
What is home, asked the traveler.
I am always stranded—no matter where I go.
I am homesick on both sides of the world.
It's an equal-opportunuty thing.

22 Aug., 1996? some time before Aug 24.
slightly rev. 10/28/2015

‘Bert Schierbeek Een plek’ In: Tirade. Jaargang 32

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