I know the melancholy of copy centres,
of hollow men with yellowed papers,
bespectacled mothers with new addresses,
the smell of letters, of old bank statements,
of income tax returns and tenancy agreements,
demeaning ink that says that we exist.
And I have seen new suburbs, fresh and dead,
where people do their best to seem like people,
the street a fair impression of a street.
Who are they copying? Who am I?
A father, mother, world, some DNA,
you stand there with that shining name of yours,
your head crammed full of cribbed and clever hopes
of peace, promotion, kids and piles of cash.
And I’m a dog that’s kennelled in its cantos
and howls for something new, something to say.
Light. Heaven. Love and death. Decay.
I know the melancholy of copy centres.
Menno Wigman, 1966–2018
translated by David Colmer
photo © ANP