Skip to main content

Poems by Mark Boog Translated By Nikki Dekker

Good news.  A very fine young Dutch poet, who also writes and published in English, Nikki Dekker, has translated several of Mark Boog's poems from the Dutch for Eyewear.  Boog is one of the most popular and criticaly appreciated poets currently writing in The Netherlands.  Here they are, published here online for the first time.

      It seems it will rain

It seems it will rain.
In silent anticipation the grey morning,
which just can’t help being dry, little.

Somewhere the relief of expectations
that come true, no matter how bleak. Not to rain
is unacceptable.

The other, accomplished, and the shortcomings,
they complete each other. Illustrations,
nothing but illustrations.

On the bed, in the room that looks colourless, bled to death,
a colourless figure. White, scrawny and forthcoming
the facade and the linens.

What is the bed doing in the living room?
The bed lives in the living room.
It will rain, it is dry.

Nowhere Fish

How can something not exist
of which we harbour a presumption?

Such are the questions that keep us going,
that keep us standing, tenuous as a heron

brooding at that waterside,
feigning, chasing,

the clear water a horrific mirror –
find a fucking fish like that,

we only see ourselves, presume ourselves
in the bewitched wrinkling.

          Concerning Profit

Because profit and loss
are so hard to distinguish,
we do not distinguish.

Then what do we see?
How the same repeats itself?
It does not repeat itself. Even we can see that.

The weather? The weather! Predicted by those better than us
it nonetheless withdraws itself. Overwhelms, overthrows,
overflows. Threatens.

And high, higher than we thought possible, birds.

There is always hope

This is the way in which I wish to waste my life,
not the way in which you wish to waste your life.
No matter how much I value feedback, shut up.

Let the fish question, along the surface search for breath,
give them the bowl they wish for: have. Catch them only
for hunger or by way of gentle pastime. Or just because.

Still unexpected. That they didn’t see it coming,
of course surely saw it coming, that they until the end,
until the early, redeeming, way too early redeeming end,


And gods

And somewhere gods, amount unknown,
who for example hover and stay unruffled.

It lightens the path to the supermarket
barely, to know that the path is unlit.

We lose ourselves in blissful rationalizing,
which is thoughtlessness but then lovelier.

We guard the unsaid bravely, fanatical,
as fuming dogs their prison.

            Behind us the signposts

The fact that decisions have already been made
before we make them, ought to reassure
but does not, as is decreed,

and bearable is merely the knowledge
that we know everything, or at least nearly everything,
in any case enough. We reason ourselves a way

through the raging landscape,
which would immediately be overgrown
with asphalt, if it existed. Still we twist

the pompous signposts behind us. At the loss
of them who follow us. Our example,
after all, can hardly be called exemplary.

            Among the people

Wide spreading himself he goes.
The streets empty, actually empty.

Others? As little as possible.
They hinder the wide, the being.

Nonetheless: the stars, somewhere the stars,
recognized by street lanterns.

In other seasons too, there are problems,
but now they particularly catch the eye.


Teeth bare, hair erect, froth
in the corners of his mouth – facing us,

the Other, who makes us what we are.
It is finally Spring, still a bit chilly,

bright weather. Wasn’t it a long winter?
It was a long winter, which is over.

Sun, birds, coffee, news, no news,
children, body that won’t co-operate.

Hat off. Rolled up sleeves. Deep and
dark growling. Cautious orbit.

To shake the outstretched hand,
the smile and the greeting. The day. The day!

The above poems were translated from the series Nergens Vis (Nowhere Fish) as published in Het Liegend Konijn (The Lying Rabbit) issue 2, October 2011. They will be included in Boog’s latest collection, Maar zingend (But Singing), is forthcoming from Publisher Cossee in January 2013.

Nikki Dekker (Amersfoort, 1989) writes and translates in Dutch and English.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…