The Underdog by Marjon van Bruggen

Let me sing of broken-down dogs, they wander alone in the twisted ravines of huge cities; or those dogs who have said to reject man, blinking intelligent eyes ‘Let me be with you, perhaps from our two wretchednesses we can make a kind of happiness’. Then all kind of needing dogs: the mud-stained dog, the poor dog, the homeless dog, the idling dog, the street acrobat’s dog; their instincts, like that of the poor man, the gypsy, the actor an, they wake early and seek their livelihood or run after their pleasures. I saw some of them sleep in a ruined building in the outskirts and come every day at a set hour to claim their dole at the kitchen door of always the same kind restaurant. A band of six strong well-fed strays shares the meal prepared for them by the charity of certain sexagenarian virgins, whose unclaimed hearts have given themselves to animals since men in their stupidity no longer want them. Then there are of course the runaway slaves, maddened by love; they gambol for an hour around a beautiful bitch, not very well presented, but proud and grateful for their attention. Perhaps somewhere (who knows, after all) there is a reward for the courage, the patience and the hard work of these adorable dogs. A paradise for these good dogs, dirty, muddy, sad and sorry dogs where they can finally laugh and bark their head off about the silly, ridiculously shaven, pampered yorkshire terrier with the pink satin ribbon waved through the few remaining gleamingly washed hairs on top of her disdainful little head. Even the dirty dog has its pride, so it is good to sing their praise. You are never quite sure, maybe Circe once enchanted you.

Street Death by Marjon Van Bruggen

The car roars off
falling down
all dimensions change
an ant marches in front of my nose
he is HUGE; stops, looks at me
tries to tell me of his burdens.

He speaks Ant, a language I do not understand
rising behind the gesticulating insect
the nose of a shining shoe
a round and moving mountain
the face, belonging to the owner of the shoe
is blurred in a high distance.

The mouth moves, a sound rumbles out
“What is your name”?
how would I know?
reality is different down here
my name probably changed
my head feels light and wet and red.

Someone drags at my arm; it hurts
let go. I am comfortable on the asphalt
can you get the grit out of my mouth?
I know, some teeth are knocked out
it must be an ugly sight
now let me close my eyes.

I cannot stand the ant looking at me much longer
his message….I wish I understood
he seems so serious
the red flows slowly by; a small river
there is a wail in the air and in my ear
it can’t be her; my Mom is dead for years.

There she is. I told you things are different
down here and I feel so content
she will cradle me, rock me to sleep
let me finally come in the world of peace
where she lives now
I try to smile a bit in anticipation.

Oh, by the way, now that I know I tell you
angels have no wings
they only can fly ’cause they are weightless
having no earthly body
all colors slowly disappear
the light gets brighter and brighter.

Scars by Marjon van Bruggen

Seventeen flat sceen plasma Tvs
(rock bottom, this week only!)
change their happy program.

I see images of the earthquake
that root me to the spot, while
people push and mingle around

and hurry, ´cause Australian wine
and English bisquits also fly
because of the rock bottom prices

you cannot let that go, be honest…
but my eyes are fixed on crumbling
houses, churches, fountains, falling

trees, and aimless running in
everpresent dust. Old men seem
to shrivel, clinging to their last

posession, a blanket, a mirror…
a dishevelled dog whines to rumble
The earth shook and left a wide scar.

Suddenly rock bottom
has another significance.

Do What You Can by Marjon van Bruggen

Go little poem, go. The problems
of this world breed like flies
and expand like rising bread.

When your home comes
raining down on you,
you drag yourself up out
of the dust, you find the city
lying at your feet, and you
cannot find your children

you know why you have to go
so GO.

Just appear on recycled paper
in a small magazine and
do what you can, because
the world needs help.

Nadia by Marjon Van Bruggen

Nadia is a girl

She is a Yazidi girl

She is a very brave Yazidi girl

She is a very brave victimized Yazidi girl

She is a very brave victimized and orphaned Yazidi girl

She became enslaved

She was (legally !!!!) raped

She managed to escape and was a refugee

She had to endure all this, because she is an innocent Yazidi girl.

She now has an advocate

who is ashamed

and says so in an assembly of the UN

she is proud to present Nadia

as a survivor,

a Yazidi leader

a Nobel Peace Prize nominee

a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations.

Her name is Nadia Murad.

What a Little Boy should never See by Marjon Van Bruggen

The poor city bathed in blood

each drop in the name of one god or another

aftermath of a violent, destructive

and inhuman storm.

His mum, his dad, both are gone.

Are they dead? He does not know.

Home, he seizes the small statues,

once a cherished gift from them,

now they enrage him; they stand

so placid and silent on bookshelves

and table tops they seem out of place.

Decapitated heads, amputated arms

and severed legs crash in all directions

in splashes of marble, stone and porcelain.

Explosive red flares before his eyes

equalising the street scenes.

This is what he sees the rest of his life.

Survivor by Marjon Van Bruggan

Screams like lava hisssssed the sea

frantically I searched my son

he bobbed by….but dead

just like my wife, I saw

how her eyes drowned last

the devil pulled her down to hell

the panic, the cold waves

the hand of a friend going under

like a dripping bird I hung in air

a long strong rope, an umbellic cord

a helicopter and voices: you are safe

how can I be safe with my loved ones dead?

Illegitimate by Marjon Van Bruggen

Standing at the corner, shoulders down

looking for work, meester, looking for work

I speak the Inglisch, meester,

give me the toil, give me the work___


Stuff needs to be done, so you and you


load up the truck

get on the ladder

work on your knees

don´t smell the glop

wash all the dishes

lay on the brick

smooth the cement

pick the ripe fruit

you mind the babies

empty the waste.


The luggers, haulers, pushers, pullers,

grunters and heavers

shoulders down

caps furled tight above the ears

swarm at the approach.

Give me the work, meester,


What Happens by Marjon van Bruggen

´It has happened

and it goes on happening

it will happen again

if nothing happens to stop it´

sofar Erich Fried.

But what happens when

all false excuses are exhausted?


The innocent know nothing

because they are too innocent

and the guilty know nothing

because they are too guilty.



The poor do not notice

because they are too poor

and the rich do not notice

because they are too rich.



The stupid shrug their shoulders

because they are too stupid

and the clever shrug their shoulders

because they are too clever



The young do not care

because they are too young

and the old do not care

because they are too old.



So…what is a valid excuse?

There is none.

What bad is happening should

be universily condemned and

stop happening as of…


Alarm – Dismissed by Marjon Van Bruggen

Here in the valley, desire is magnified
the wind blows dry as bones.
Abandoned trees are bare and dead
not loved
no water.
The few oranges
shrunken little balls
green with regret
and bitterness.

We are unconcerned.
The world is not yet dangerous.
A summer dress
bare legs
over there are some figs
we amble thoughtless and blind
red dust talcums our feet
Paradise lost.

Exile by Marjon Van Bruggen

Just another piece expelled from this planet.

On this island night comes

at mid-day.

Time is a train,

as usual running late along

a golden rail which

crosses the clock´s face

East to West.


He who makes it here

wonders for the rest of his days

why he is now blind,

seeing only in dreams and nightmares.

He gropes around, hopes

to find a treasure

hidden in the hole where Alice

plunged after her rabbit.


His name is not Alice.

Survivor by Marjon van Bruggen

I know no one is interested

but sometimes, when I feel rescued

the hot sand on the foreign beach

invites to imagine myself

being a fish, choking out of the sea.


I wonder if I were better off drowned

like the rest of my family.


Forty-five thousand made it to Italy

six thousand drowned, because

they tried to live.

Mahmoud´s Impressions 1977 or Later? by Marjon Van Bruggen

Living with the horror of horrors

each day


how many murderers…it could be an army

too many victims for small groups.


Cutting throats

of a hundred people a day is conjecture.


An abattoir

visit comes to mind


I saw

how they cut throats of sheep on a conveyor belt


pandemonium in red

imagine human beings…, don´t imagine it


it is insane.