Sunday, March 27, 2005

A Great Story About Zero

My notebook. Picture Daphne Buter. Posted by Hello

I was writing something beautiful. I think it was the beginning of a great story. It was a story about air. It was about nothing special, yet. It was just the beginning of a great story about zero. After some time I began to detest what I just wrote, so, at one point I wrote that I stopped writing and that I went downstairs and watched TV and after some time I realized that there was nothing on it. Then I saw the room was just as empty as the TV screen. I felt captured by something eerie. I noticed our cat was sleeping deeper than dead.
It began to rain. The rain was heavy and fell from a profound purple sky. I watched that sky for maybe fifteen minutes. I saw things in the heavens that would make a great story.

BTW, it is still raining and the North Sea rose, and while I write this, fish swim in and out my womb.

Two Good Ways To Break a Chain Letter

Writer, editor, photographer, friend Wayne E. Yang passed me this one. It is a hovering cyber-chain-letter. Well, here we go.

1.You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, what book would you like to be?

I definitely would like to be dead. I think that would be the best solution for a scorching problem like that.

2.Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character.

Yes. But I didn’t like it. I was a character in the story too.

3.The last book you read.

Collected poems by Rutger Kopland, a Dutch poet. But I have to admit I’d read it before. I only read it again because it lay open on the floor of our bathroom. Too many books lay open on bathroom floors all over the world, I guess.

4.What are you currently reading?

I extreme dislike this question because it gives me the feeling I should be reading something. Should I? Soon I’ll be currently reading my husband’s manuscript, it is about wrestling techniques of the brain.

5.Five books you would take to a deserted island.

Five big enough to keep me warm, and a box of matches.

6.Who are you going to pass the stick to (3 persons) and why?

I’ll pass the stick on to writer, editor and artist Stan Crocker because he likes chewing gum and he’s a most amazing guy; and to Susan Henderson because she’s a wonderful writer and person, and to my neighbour Harry, because I’m sure he’s currently reading a book about crop growing, and he doesn’t understand English, and he has no Blog, and that are two good ways to break a chain-letter.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Birds In A Children's Sky

Three Birds. Painting: Lente Buter (12) Oil On Canvas. Posted by Hello

Once upon a time there was a tear. It tumbled from the universe and landed in the eye of a bird. The bird lingered from tree to tree, weeping, untill the end of times.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Why Do Parents Kill The Children Of Other Parents?

Picture Daphne Buter. Posted by Hello

Once upon a time, we saw it on TV, children, about a few hundred or more, were killed by adults who believed they had a right to do so, because they just knew for sure their God agreed.

My little girl, who’s eight, walked into the living room and saw the horror on TV.

She started shivering, and I hold her.

"Why do parents kill the children of other parents?" she asked me.

I tried to explain why, so, I didn't speak a word.

My little girl, who’s bone skinny and who smells like salty flowers, went into the garden to make a bed of plants and insects. She took her music box and she lay down in our garden, framed by poppy flowers and bugs. She listened to the twinkling sounds that escaped from the box, while inside the box a tiny doll, a fragile lady ballet dancer in a pink dress, circled around on a pin.

My little girl said she had to look at the sky and that she had to think about big people, that it was why she lay there, to watch the dept of sky and to think about big people.

I watched her watching the dept of sky; I watched her thinking about parents who kill the children of other parents; her fresh eyes wide open, frozen in a frightened gaze.

After some time she asked me to lay beside her to watch the blue filled with hovering clouds and lingering birds. And we lay there, watching the clouds and the birds and the endless space behind them, where the heavens and Gods begin, and the world with all the children who ever died in the name of the many Gods who created us or we them, was our arctic nadir.

While we lay there, I feared for a moment that this world ruled by adults, isn't a safe place for children at all.

I Am The Dust That Quivers From The Words

Colossal walls, a catacomb. Bleached cage
of dust with prints
Of children’s fingers on the windows.
Where chalk drew words out of my mouth.
Scrapes on the blackboard, shrieking tells me
to shut forever up
More quiet than existing undiscovered
Where no one wants to be
In lethargy
This is what I’ve learned of the

School. What was I doing there? I remember scent
Of always just geraniums – red leaves on window-sills;
I hear the closing of green doors and fire fills
A furnace that my right cheek
Swelters. I see a bucket filled with coals
that vomits horse’s eyes in metal maws
That pant and moan like predators

There where I rose. Ruined towards the inside
Of what a cosmos was. Maroon inferno –
I am the ash.

I smell a wooden table, wax, the inkpot filled
with stories, once. And see, a brush and some pink paint;
the worthless gifts that teachers do present
And which I never earned by dreaming
To coast away from so much lack of meaning
Since I was so inefficient

I see her shoulders, there, a sapphire gentle bridge;
two blonde pigtails.
I see the hair of my best friend return
in my mind’s eye. So breakable

I hear the echo of her laughter drowning in the slowly bell.
My God, it sounds like shrieking in an everlasting hell
And I who wasn’t authorized to leave, but stay
Where no one wants to be
A child like me

sat stationary in that catacomb
Not doing anything that did come close to living
So that she had to leave for home
Where until now the tormenting goes on
Because she couldn’t get there on her own

And in the afternoon an empty place
That fills her up since then
I am not free. As well in me she is
a daily near to be.

The teacher spoke, his face in agony,
to all the children of our class
while just to me,
“a weighty combination drove her dead.”

School. You live in me and I in you was driven mad.
Behind your eyes the sky can be at times a pale
or blue statuette.
I am in that place to stay
Where no one wants to be
drenched in me. That bottomless
of ash
Where I am not,
and neither was,
but task.

I am the dust that quivers from the words
That never discontinues with convincing us
without a sight. Year in, year out,
in ranks of captured light.

Just A Story About Someone

This Is A Picture Of Someone, Taken By Someone. Picture: Someone. Posted by Hello

This is a story about someone. Someone's morning began just like all other mornings of someone. A star rose on one side of the planet, and someone noticed it. Someone woke up, and someone let the dog out. Someone came home and someone woke someone up, and someone made love to someone. Someone panted and someone moaned and someone begged and someone groaned. Someone heard someone because someone's wall was too thin, and someone shouted that someone had to stop, someone.
Someone heard the phone ring, and there was someone on the phone who said 'hello' to someone, and someone said 'goodbye' to someone. In the evening, someone became ill and someone died, and someone cried, and someone came over to someone to pick up someone and someone put someone in a coffin and someone was buried and someone buried someone, and someone rose to heaven and met there someone. This was a story about someone and I wanted to tell it to someone.

Are You Lonely?

This Is A Chapter Of My Room At Night. Picture: Daphne Buter. Posted by Hello

Last night I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t know where to go so I stayed at home. The room around me was as a big granite womb and it iced my blood. I walked over to the window and gazed into the darkness and it iced my eyes. The space around the house as a big arctic sky and it iced my mind. The universe was around everything as a big black hole and it iced my heart, and I was afraid I might die sooner than expected.
Then, out of nothing, I heard a voice singing “can you feel it?”
First I thought it was the voice of a banshee, but it was the tune of a mobile phone. When I answered the call, there was no one who spoke. I didn’t know what to do, so, I said: ‘Are you lonely?’ Then the connection was broken.

I think it was just one of those nights someone was trying to tell me nothing.

Monday, March 14, 2005

A Killing Dutch Bottle

The Bottle That Killed My Mother. Posted by Hello

When I was about five years old, my mother sometimes bought me a bottle of children’s perfume, for 25 cents a bottle. The small bottles contained water with the smell of roses. The bottles were about 8-9 centimetres high, and they had the shape of a little man or woman, or a cat or a dog, and on top of the head sat the cap. When they were empty they were thrown away. The bottles disappeared from the shops maybe in the late sixties.

A few years before my mother died it became a habit for her to visit flea markets every day. She wasn’t a very rich woman. My stepfather gave her 60 guilders (about 25 $) pocket money a month, the rest was his'. Anyway, my mother bought old things that had not much value, often things that were related to her past.

Three years before my mother died, one day I said to her: ‘Do you remember those little children’s perfume bottles you used to buy me when I was a kid? Would you seek for a bottle like it?’

My mother remembered them and she promised me she would find one for me. From that day on my mother became obsessed by finding a bottle like it. Every day she walked to flea markets around Amsterdam for her search. After some time it made me sad, because she couldn't find one. Every time we spoke each other she began talking about her search, and that she couldn’t find a bottle like it. After a year I began asking her to stop searching for it. I said ‘forget about that bottle. It has been just a thought, but I don’t want you to waste your time on seeking for something that cannot be found. Just give up.’

Then my mother would say: ‘No. I cannot give it up. I have to find it. I just know one day I'll find it.’

This went on for three years, and it made me feel guilty. I wished I never had asked her to find that bottle for me. And every time I called my mother she used to say somewhere during the phone conversation, ‘I didn’t find it yet, but I will one day.’ And I used to answer: ‘You don’t need to find it. Please give up on that stupid bottle.’

But she didn’t, until she died.

My mother died all of sudden on a day in February. Just as always she had been to a flea market that day. I heard my mother had died in the late afternoon, shortly after she had arrived home. I went there and my mother lay on the floor of the living room. My brother was there, and my stepfather, and my sister with her husband.
The undertaker arrived to take my mother away.
When she was moved from the house we didn’t speak much. I walked up and down the living room, slowly, thinking, trying to believe she had really died. And then my eye noticed the bottle, on a shelf of a cupboard. It cut my breath off, I was so shocked only by seeing it. I said to my stepfather in a whisper: ‘Christ!. That bottle over there. How did it get there?’

My stepfather looked at me and he answered: ‘It’s yours. Your mother brought it home today. She put it on that shelf and said, ‘mission completed. That’s for Daphne.’

Saturday, March 12, 2005

We All Are In A Hurry To Die As Soon As We Can

Picture: Daphne Buter. Posted by Hello

We all start in this world by being little. First we want to grow taller and taller, and if we cannot grow any taller, we try to grow bigger. Not bigger in size, but bigger in importance.

When I was a toddler I remember my mother took me often to a little shop in our neighborhood, where she bought wash powder and soap, and tablets for stomach burns and headaches. If I looked around me I noticed every costumer was bigger, taller and older than I. I was the only one who couldn’t look over the counter. This annoyed me and made me feel sad. Because I was frustrated by it, I tried to make myself more important by kicking the counter with my miniature gleaming shoes.

If I see a toddler trying to look over any border, I always am touched by the struggle of children to get older, bigger, taller, more important… We all are in a hurry to die as soon as we can.

Now I am at an age many people around me are younger, smaller, and shorter than me…

Sunday, March 06, 2005

A One Night Stand

Cafe Bar Reijnders At The Amsterdam Leidseplein. Picture: Hans Buter. Posted by Hello

I had a friend who’s name was Xaviera and she was used to have one night stands. She always told me stories that sounded something like this: "I had a one night stand one night with a real awesome guy who smelled like butter, but I forgot his name because he was just one of my one night stands."
I was about 23 and I never had had a one night stand. I really wanted to have at least one one night stand too, thus, one night I went to the centre of Amsterdam to find myself a one night stand. I went to Café Bar Reijnders in Amsterdam to pick a victim up.
It was my lucky night because an ice-hockey-team was drinking beer and all the guys looked like they needed a one night stand real bad. I said, "hey, puck slammers, which one of you shall I pick to be my one night stand?" Remarkably enough all those guys yelled, "no thanks, Xaviera!"

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Red Light Districts Of Amsterdam

Hands Of A Dutch woman. You get the picture?
Picture: Daphne Buter Posted by Hello

We lived across from one of Amsterdam’s red-light-districts when I was a child. I liked to gaze at the half naked women who were drowning in red shadows. Their hair was red and their bodies, even their bra’s were red. All the men that went inside the little red houses became red as soon as they appeared on the other side of the windows, on the red side of the red whores. Next the whores closed their red curtains and I watched the clock. The men stayed inside for maybe 20 minutes and came outside with cute red, red-light-district faces.

Now the district is still there but the lights are no longer red. The whores drown in black-light nowadays and they look hygienic and healthy with huge tinted silicone breasts. They wear all kinds of fluorescent colored push-up bras. Green, yellow, pink, orange… Even their hair and lips and legs glow in the dark. Their high heels look like smoldering rockets, like nuclear weapons to kill all men with.

Only the men that go inside still come outside with cute red, red-light-district faces.