08 February 2010

No one's favourite

I wrote this poem some time ago and I don't think I will ever find a home for it. It gets a few laughs and some nods of recognition from the local "expat" audience, but I don't know how much it resonates with anyone who doesn't live here. Maybe I should translate it into French and Dutch.... and by that I mean, in alternating lines.*


You are no one's favourite.
You are the child nobody wanted,
discovered too late to get rid of,
whose parents are now divorcing.
Their divorce is bitter and long.
Neither of them wants custody.
It is all about money and pensions.
You sit in a court-appointed room
and suck your thumb.
When no one looks, you stick chewing gum
to the underside of the table.
You draw with pictures of lions and roosters.
They peck and claw.
Your teachers are worried but unanimously
can't be bothered. They know you'll grow up
to be even worse than you are:
on the dole, pissing between parked cars,
and refusing to give up priorité à droite.

* I want to add "because that's what it's like to live here", but that isn't exactly true. The two linguistic communities are nowhere near as integrated as alternating lines.


  1. Yep, that's Brussels. Thanks for the Monday morning lift.

  2. I'm not sure that it's quite right to say that I love it, but I love it.