Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Sasja Janssen

I PUT ON MY SPECIES

1
I was born from a dot at nine one morning
the first morning possible because it didn’t come
out of night, it coloured from a bright fuchsia to a sulphurous yellow
I still remember that.                                 

The right one, the right sharpness and size, made by someone
handed a 9H, briefly transfixed
they called her God apart from me. 

A horrible first, but I finally stopped being
no one.  

2
I wore a swaddling cloth that would become a shroud
it’s impossible, yet it is so.
Not far from here I became a dot again, the only one 

but a weaker one, perhaps made by a 9B by that same
person, she corked me back into myself, the cottons continuing to
give off scent in my wardrobe.


I believed things happened simultaneously.
Could be the species I had to put on, could be the movement
could be the happiness or craziness or both, rain with sunshine.

I believed it had to snow, thought behind it
and I grew into my own test card

deceptively identical, like any other’s.

4
I mastered living immediately and predicted what would happen next.
When love came not even in the guise
of a young angel I forgot my dot and caught fire, yellow
a fuchsia heart. 

Then I forgot about forgetting, naked like a single rose.

5
After that I took off my species, to see if I was empty
to see if I dared to, drained of blood I dared. 

The others stared at the way I was, that there was nothing
left of me, should there be a remnant of me or something? 

6
I was instantly less good at living, you shouldn’t take off what
you can hardly get on, back into the cast became shapeless.

IK TREK MIJN SPECIES AAN

IK TREK MIJN SPECIES AAN

1
Ik werd uit een punt geboren op een ochtend negen uur
de eerst denkbare ochtend omdat hij niet uit de nacht
kwam, hij kleurde van hardfuchsia tot zwavelgeel
dat weet ik nog. 

De juiste, juist in scherpte en in volume door iemand
met een 9H in haar hand gezet, kort even genageld
ze noemden haar God behalve ik.

Een gruwelijk eerst, maar ik hield er eindelijk mee op
niemand te zijn.

2
Ik droeg een geboortehemd dat ook een doodshemd zou zijn
dat kan niet, toch is het zo.
Niet ver van hier werd ik ooit weer een punt, de enige

wel een zwakkere, misschien met een 9B gezet door diezelfde
iemand, ze kurkte me in mezelf terug, voorlopig bleven de katoentjes
geurend in mijn kast.

3
Ik geloofde dat de dingen tegelijk gebeurden.
Kan zijn de species die ik moest aantrekken, kan zijn de beweging
kan zijn de vrolijkheid of waanzin of allebei, kermis in de hel.

Ik geloofde dat het sneeuwen moest, het denken eronder
en ik aangroeide tot mijn eigen testbeeld
verraderlijk hetzelfde zoals dat van elk ander.

4
Ik kon meteen al heel goed leven en voorspelde wat ging komen.
Toen de liefde kwam niet eens in de verschijning
van een jonge engel vergat ik mijn punt en vatte vlam, geel
een fuchsia hart.

Toen vergat ik het vergeten, bloot als een enkelvoudige roos. 

5
Ik trok daarna mijn species uit, om te zien of ik leeg was
om te zien of ik dat durfde, de bloedeloosheid die ik durfde.

De anderen loerden naar hoe ik was, dat er niets van me
overbleef, moest er wat overblijven van mij of iets?

6
Ik kon meteen minder goed leven, je moet niet uittrekken
wat bijna niet aangaat, terug de mal in was uit de vorm.

Close

I PUT ON MY SPECIES

1
I was born from a dot at nine one morning
the first morning possible because it didn’t come
out of night, it coloured from a bright fuchsia to a sulphurous yellow
I still remember that.                                 

The right one, the right sharpness and size, made by someone
handed a 9H, briefly transfixed
they called her God apart from me. 

A horrible first, but I finally stopped being
no one.  

2
I wore a swaddling cloth that would become a shroud
it’s impossible, yet it is so.
Not far from here I became a dot again, the only one 

but a weaker one, perhaps made by a 9B by that same
person, she corked me back into myself, the cottons continuing to
give off scent in my wardrobe.


I believed things happened simultaneously.
Could be the species I had to put on, could be the movement
could be the happiness or craziness or both, rain with sunshine.

I believed it had to snow, thought behind it
and I grew into my own test card

deceptively identical, like any other’s.

4
I mastered living immediately and predicted what would happen next.
When love came not even in the guise
of a young angel I forgot my dot and caught fire, yellow
a fuchsia heart. 

Then I forgot about forgetting, naked like a single rose.

5
After that I took off my species, to see if I was empty
to see if I dared to, drained of blood I dared. 

The others stared at the way I was, that there was nothing
left of me, should there be a remnant of me or something? 

6
I was instantly less good at living, you shouldn’t take off what
you can hardly get on, back into the cast became shapeless.

I PUT ON MY SPECIES

1
I was born from a dot at nine one morning
the first morning possible because it didn’t come
out of night, it coloured from a bright fuchsia to a sulphurous yellow
I still remember that.                                 

The right one, the right sharpness and size, made by someone
handed a 9H, briefly transfixed
they called her God apart from me. 

A horrible first, but I finally stopped being
no one.  

2
I wore a swaddling cloth that would become a shroud
it’s impossible, yet it is so.
Not far from here I became a dot again, the only one 

but a weaker one, perhaps made by a 9B by that same
person, she corked me back into myself, the cottons continuing to
give off scent in my wardrobe.


I believed things happened simultaneously.
Could be the species I had to put on, could be the movement
could be the happiness or craziness or both, rain with sunshine.

I believed it had to snow, thought behind it
and I grew into my own test card

deceptively identical, like any other’s.

4
I mastered living immediately and predicted what would happen next.
When love came not even in the guise
of a young angel I forgot my dot and caught fire, yellow
a fuchsia heart. 

Then I forgot about forgetting, naked like a single rose.

5
After that I took off my species, to see if I was empty
to see if I dared to, drained of blood I dared. 

The others stared at the way I was, that there was nothing
left of me, should there be a remnant of me or something? 

6
I was instantly less good at living, you shouldn’t take off what
you can hardly get on, back into the cast became shapeless.

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