Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Marjolijn van Heemstra

SUGGESTION FROM AN OLD MATTRESS

I get it, I'm no reverie
on time and, at first glance,
no great metaphor. But if you look at it
like this: life is being falling weight
and happiness is being carried
then I'm still surprised that nothing
in you thought: that thing there against the wall
waiting for the bin men, that
pack of used-up feathers, is actually
a poem. At least

a third of your days were passed
on my springs, I know the weight of
your sleep, worrying, submission. Out of
thousands I would know, him too,
your dance of lying, turning, pretending
to slumber - you can't fool me, he
who lies is light. Make of me a ship, a
raft on which, each and every night you embarked
and stayed with who you belong to. Like a big
soft hand I supported everything,
felt the most intimate growth right down to my
stuffing, bolstered the swelling belly and
later the addition of the nipper, but wait,
we're missing something out: sex.

How the wood creaked beneath me, one
night two legs broke, you two, half sinking,
remained entwined. I know all the positions:
doggy style, snake, flat on the belly, smothered
vowels in the quilting. I know how hard,
how wet, where your hands grasp, know
the kilos of buttocks and breasts, the rhythm,
panting, even the tastes, you simply can't
imagine what a mattress retains. The
stains on my deck are a sea chart
of desires.

I know the specific gravity of all
Limbs that congregate in bed
of a morning, infant legs, the heavy
toddler's head, the mass of throbbing flesh
for which you live. I know what you
weigh and have no wish to
interfere, but in this not-so-sexy
swooning over time – many words,
little body – an old mattress
covered in stains is an excellent opportunity.

SUGGESTIE VAN EEN OUD MATRAS

SUGGESTIE VAN EEN OUD MATRAS

Ik snap het, ik ben geen mijmering
over tijd, en op het eerste gezicht
geen grote metafoor. Maar als je het
zo bekijkt: leven is vallend gewicht zijn
en geluk is gedragen worden
dan verbaast het me toch dat niets
in jou dacht: wat daar tegen de muur
staat te wachten op het grofvuil, dat
pakket van afgedankte veren, is eigenlijk
een gedicht. Minstens

een derde van je dagen voltrok zich
op mijn vering, ik ken de zwaarte van
je slaap, gepieker, overgave. Uit
duizenden zou ik herkennen, hem ook,
jullie dans van liggen, draaien, doen
alsof je sluimert – mij beduvel je niet, wie
liegt is licht. Maak van mij een schip, een
vlot waarop je elke nacht opnieuw vertrok
en bleef bij wie je hoort. Als een grote
zachte hand heb ik alles ondersteund,
de meest intieme groei tot in mijn vulling
gevoeld, de zwellende buik gestut en
later de boon die erbij kwam maar wacht,
we slaan iets over: seks.

Hoe het hout onder mij kraakte, op een
nacht twee poten braken, jullie, half zinkend,
verstrengeld bleven. Ik ken alle figuren:
viervoeter, slang, plat op de buik, gesmoorde
klinkers in de molton. Ik weet hoe hard,
hoe nat, waar jullie handen grijpen, ken
de kilo’s van billen en borsten, het ritme,
hijgen, zelfs de smaken, je moest eens
weten wat een matras bewaart. De
vlekken op mijn dek zijn een zeekaart
van verlangen. 

Ik ken het soortelijk gewicht van alle
ledematen die ’s ochtends in bed
verzamelen, peuterbenen, het zware
kleuterhoofd, de massa kloppend vlees
waarvoor je leeft. Ik weet wat jullie
wegen en wil me nergens mee
bemoeien maar in dit niet zo geile
gezwijmel over tijd – veel woorden,
weinig lichaam – is een oud matras
vol vlekken een uitgelezen kans.

Close

SUGGESTION FROM AN OLD MATTRESS

I get it, I'm no reverie
on time and, at first glance,
no great metaphor. But if you look at it
like this: life is being falling weight
and happiness is being carried
then I'm still surprised that nothing
in you thought: that thing there against the wall
waiting for the bin men, that
pack of used-up feathers, is actually
a poem. At least

a third of your days were passed
on my springs, I know the weight of
your sleep, worrying, submission. Out of
thousands I would know, him too,
your dance of lying, turning, pretending
to slumber - you can't fool me, he
who lies is light. Make of me a ship, a
raft on which, each and every night you embarked
and stayed with who you belong to. Like a big
soft hand I supported everything,
felt the most intimate growth right down to my
stuffing, bolstered the swelling belly and
later the addition of the nipper, but wait,
we're missing something out: sex.

How the wood creaked beneath me, one
night two legs broke, you two, half sinking,
remained entwined. I know all the positions:
doggy style, snake, flat on the belly, smothered
vowels in the quilting. I know how hard,
how wet, where your hands grasp, know
the kilos of buttocks and breasts, the rhythm,
panting, even the tastes, you simply can't
imagine what a mattress retains. The
stains on my deck are a sea chart
of desires.

I know the specific gravity of all
Limbs that congregate in bed
of a morning, infant legs, the heavy
toddler's head, the mass of throbbing flesh
for which you live. I know what you
weigh and have no wish to
interfere, but in this not-so-sexy
swooning over time – many words,
little body – an old mattress
covered in stains is an excellent opportunity.

SUGGESTION FROM AN OLD MATTRESS

I get it, I'm no reverie
on time and, at first glance,
no great metaphor. But if you look at it
like this: life is being falling weight
and happiness is being carried
then I'm still surprised that nothing
in you thought: that thing there against the wall
waiting for the bin men, that
pack of used-up feathers, is actually
a poem. At least

a third of your days were passed
on my springs, I know the weight of
your sleep, worrying, submission. Out of
thousands I would know, him too,
your dance of lying, turning, pretending
to slumber - you can't fool me, he
who lies is light. Make of me a ship, a
raft on which, each and every night you embarked
and stayed with who you belong to. Like a big
soft hand I supported everything,
felt the most intimate growth right down to my
stuffing, bolstered the swelling belly and
later the addition of the nipper, but wait,
we're missing something out: sex.

How the wood creaked beneath me, one
night two legs broke, you two, half sinking,
remained entwined. I know all the positions:
doggy style, snake, flat on the belly, smothered
vowels in the quilting. I know how hard,
how wet, where your hands grasp, know
the kilos of buttocks and breasts, the rhythm,
panting, even the tastes, you simply can't
imagine what a mattress retains. The
stains on my deck are a sea chart
of desires.

I know the specific gravity of all
Limbs that congregate in bed
of a morning, infant legs, the heavy
toddler's head, the mass of throbbing flesh
for which you live. I know what you
weigh and have no wish to
interfere, but in this not-so-sexy
swooning over time – many words,
little body – an old mattress
covered in stains is an excellent opportunity.

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