Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Simone Atangana Bekono

II

Who made the young me sweat in bed
with visions from the psychiatric ward
girls who’ve grown obsessed with the man
and the touch of the man, and the touch of the woman
that makes them realise they want to be a man

I fear the man and want to eat him up
but I am also scared that he has eaten me up
that I was born in the man’s stomach
or ribcage or in a toe
but escaping from his body
has made me lose mine
I want to eat the man up the way I eat Facebook
and installation art
and have for years now eaten up
enormous amounts of light
shining on my face

I hoped to be able to eat the man up
to protect my sisters
but I feel what’s left of the man gnawing at my insides
searching for a way out through my womb
my navel, my open mouth

Every inch of my body
of my thinking brain
is split into two camps
I am a single whisker
fallen onto the chin after an attempt at unification
and the attempt at unification has failed
only my silhouette seems right
I will wash down the drain in the shower or I will crumble
I will drown or suffocate in the woollen jumper
removed to facilitate copulation
meanwhile I search for electricity pylons
on which to hang my shrunken body
charge it, fuse it together
because my body is more than just one body

I require a state of being that will make me unnecessary and all-powerful
I want to build a corridor that leads nowhere
and lock all of my bodies up in it
so they won’t harm themselves and each other
so they will be present as a single whole
without context to confirm it
billions of cancer cells that established themselves in my father
established themselves in my mother
billions of cancer cells that have established themselves in me
waiting for the right moment
silent in a waiting room

All my poems are quiet and still
my poems have been smeared on the side of the bed
my poems are not poems
I am a puddle of blood seeping through a carpet
that tries to turn systems into words
the systems asked, What can you do, now you know?
and I was quiet, deciding to go on holiday

II

II

Wie deed mij op jonge leeftijd zweten in het bed
met visioenen van de psychiatrische afdeling
meisjes die bezeten raakten van de man
en de aanraking van de man, en de aanraking van de vrouw
waardoor zij beseffen dat zij een man willen zijn

Ik vrees de man en wil hem opeten
maar ik vrees ook dat hij mij opgegeten heeft
dat ik ben geboren in de maag van de man
of de ribbenkast of een teen
maar dat het ontsnappen uit zijn lichaam
mij mijn lichaam heeft doen verliezen
ik wil de man opeten zoals ik Facebook eet
en installatiekunst eet
en jarenlang grote hoeveelheden licht
dat op mijn gezicht scheen
heb opgegeten

Ik hoopte de man op te kunnen eten
zo mijn zussen te beschermen
maar ik voel de resten van de man in mij knagen
ze zijn opzoek naar een uitgang via mijn baarmoeder
mijn navel, mijn openstaande mond

Elke millimeter van mijn lichaam
van mijn denkend brein
is opgesplitst in twee kampen
ik ben één snorhaar op de kin
gevallen na een poging tot eenwording
en de poging tot eenwording heeft gefaald
alleen mijn silhouet lijkt te kloppen
ik zal wegspoelen in de doucheput of ik zal verkruimelen
ik zal verdrinken of stikken in de wollen trui
die uit wordt gedaan ter vergemakkelijking van copulatie
intussen zoek ik naar elektriciteitsmasten
waaraan ik mijn gekrompen lichaam uit laat hangen
oplaad, samen laat smelten
want mijn lichaam is meerdere lichamen

Ik heb behoefte aan een staat van zijn die mij onnodig en almachtig maakt
ik wil een gang bouwen die nergens naartoe leidt
en er al mijn lichamen in opsluiten
zodat zij zichzelf en elkaar geen kwaad zullen doen
zodat zij als één aanwezig zullen zijn
zonder context die dat moet bevestigen
miljarden kankercellen die zich in mijn vader hebben gevestigd
in mijn moeder hebben gevestigd
miljarden kankercellen die zich in mij hebben gevestigd
het juiste moment afwachten
zwijgend in een wachtkamer

Al mijn gedichten zitten stil
mijn gedichten zijn aan de bedrand afgesmeerd
mijn gedichten zijn geen gedichten
ik ben een plas bloed die door een kleed heen sijpelt
en van systemen tekst probeert te maken
de systemen vroegen: ‘Wat kun jij doen, nu jij dat weet?’
en ik was stil, ik besloot op vakantie te gaan
Close

II

Who made the young me sweat in bed
with visions from the psychiatric ward
girls who’ve grown obsessed with the man
and the touch of the man, and the touch of the woman
that makes them realise they want to be a man

I fear the man and want to eat him up
but I am also scared that he has eaten me up
that I was born in the man’s stomach
or ribcage or in a toe
but escaping from his body
has made me lose mine
I want to eat the man up the way I eat Facebook
and installation art
and have for years now eaten up
enormous amounts of light
shining on my face

I hoped to be able to eat the man up
to protect my sisters
but I feel what’s left of the man gnawing at my insides
searching for a way out through my womb
my navel, my open mouth

Every inch of my body
of my thinking brain
is split into two camps
I am a single whisker
fallen onto the chin after an attempt at unification
and the attempt at unification has failed
only my silhouette seems right
I will wash down the drain in the shower or I will crumble
I will drown or suffocate in the woollen jumper
removed to facilitate copulation
meanwhile I search for electricity pylons
on which to hang my shrunken body
charge it, fuse it together
because my body is more than just one body

I require a state of being that will make me unnecessary and all-powerful
I want to build a corridor that leads nowhere
and lock all of my bodies up in it
so they won’t harm themselves and each other
so they will be present as a single whole
without context to confirm it
billions of cancer cells that established themselves in my father
established themselves in my mother
billions of cancer cells that have established themselves in me
waiting for the right moment
silent in a waiting room

All my poems are quiet and still
my poems have been smeared on the side of the bed
my poems are not poems
I am a puddle of blood seeping through a carpet
that tries to turn systems into words
the systems asked, What can you do, now you know?
and I was quiet, deciding to go on holiday

II

Who made the young me sweat in bed
with visions from the psychiatric ward
girls who’ve grown obsessed with the man
and the touch of the man, and the touch of the woman
that makes them realise they want to be a man

I fear the man and want to eat him up
but I am also scared that he has eaten me up
that I was born in the man’s stomach
or ribcage or in a toe
but escaping from his body
has made me lose mine
I want to eat the man up the way I eat Facebook
and installation art
and have for years now eaten up
enormous amounts of light
shining on my face

I hoped to be able to eat the man up
to protect my sisters
but I feel what’s left of the man gnawing at my insides
searching for a way out through my womb
my navel, my open mouth

Every inch of my body
of my thinking brain
is split into two camps
I am a single whisker
fallen onto the chin after an attempt at unification
and the attempt at unification has failed
only my silhouette seems right
I will wash down the drain in the shower or I will crumble
I will drown or suffocate in the woollen jumper
removed to facilitate copulation
meanwhile I search for electricity pylons
on which to hang my shrunken body
charge it, fuse it together
because my body is more than just one body

I require a state of being that will make me unnecessary and all-powerful
I want to build a corridor that leads nowhere
and lock all of my bodies up in it
so they won’t harm themselves and each other
so they will be present as a single whole
without context to confirm it
billions of cancer cells that established themselves in my father
established themselves in my mother
billions of cancer cells that have established themselves in me
waiting for the right moment
silent in a waiting room

All my poems are quiet and still
my poems have been smeared on the side of the bed
my poems are not poems
I am a puddle of blood seeping through a carpet
that tries to turn systems into words
the systems asked, What can you do, now you know?
and I was quiet, deciding to go on holiday
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère