High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Jonas Bruyneel: Glass Borders
Friday Verses

Jonas Bruyneel: Glass Borders

This week's Friday Verses are written by Jonas Bruyneel. We translated Glazen grenzen (Glass Borders). This poem was first published in Dutch in Het Liegend Konijn, a magazine for contemporary Dutch-language poetry.

Jonas Bruyneel (b. 1989, Kortrijk) is an author, performer and musician. He publishes regularly in literary magazines such as Deus Ex Machina, Het Liegend Konijn and Literair Tijdschrift Extaze. At the beginning of 2015 he made his debut with the collection of stories Voorbij het licht (Beyond Light). In 2016 the latter collection was awarded the silver medal for the Literary Prose Prize (Province of West Flanders). In 2019 his historical novel Vijd was published by Lannoo, followed by a series of readings in Belgium and the Netherlands in collaboration with musicians Klaas Tomme and Hadewych Van den Eynde.

With Boonyi, based on Edgar Allan Poe and Duikbootdansje (Submarine Dance), a programme on the twentieth anniversary of the death of his sister, Bruyneel took the stage as a performance poet. Bruyneel was the curator of Memento Word Festival and the Zuidwesterzinnen Literary Festival. Between 2017 and 2019 he was Wordsmith of the town of Kortrijk, a contemporary version of the position of town poet.

As a musician with Uncle Wellington and Wolfe he tours Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Glass Borders

Here they drink
where the handles
rust off their hinges
where the barstools
are too high
the glass rims
too sharp

Where the last mouthful
splits their lips
like a razor

Who remembers
how the geese in the back garden
changed colour like chameleons

They laugh at girls
in cars that are too smal

Nothing says
that a border used to run through here
that to get to the other side
you had to pay

(Dutch version below the photo)

Glazen grenzen

Hier drinken ze
waar de hengsels
uit hun scharnieren roesten
waar de krukken
te hoog zijn
de glasranden
te scherp

Waar de laatste slok
als een scheermes
hun lippen splijt

Wie herinnert zich
hoe de ganzen in de achtertuin
als kameleons verkleurden

Ze lachen er om meisjes
in te kleine auto’s

Niets zegt
dat hier vroeger een grens liep
dat je voor de overzijde
moest betalen

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