High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Tijl Nuyts: Musti
Tijl Nuyts © Koen Broos
Tijl Nuyts © Koen Broos Tijl Nuyts © Koen Broos
Friday Verses

Tijl Nuyts: Musti

This week's Friday Verses are written by Tijl Nuyts. We translated Musti. This poem was first published in Dutch in Het Liegend Konijn, a magazine for contemporary Dutch-language poetry.

Tijl Nuyts (b. 1993, Istanbul) is working on a PhD on mystical heritage and modern identities at the University of Antwerp. His poems, short stories and essays have previously appeared in, for example, Het Liegend Konijn, Tirade, Awater, Deus Ex Machina, DW B, Streven and Mvslim.com. His debut collection Anagrammen van een blote keizer (Anagrams of a Naked Emperor, Polis) was nominated for the C. Buddingh’ Prize in 2017. He is poetry editor of the literary magazine Kluger Hans.


Musti sits at the table, stares straight ahead darkly:
scared and a little drunk.
The rumours: there’s talk of something bigger,
something that reaches beyond the x of his mouth.

She-cats long to disappear in his night eyes.
The open jaws of the television. World is ablaze.
The lamenting of religious doorbells.

Musti can’t handle it,
seeks answers in raki, in prayers on Amazon.

Musti creeps like a thief into his own kitchen,
falls asleep in the fridge, where the yoghurt lives.

At dawn Musti sharpens his claws
in the laundrette in Avenue Lambermont.

(Dutch version below the photo)


Musti zit aan tafel, kijkt troebel voor zich uit:
bang en een beetje dronken.
De geruchten: ze maken gewag van iets groters,
iets dat voorbij de x van zijn mond reikt.

Kattinnen willen in zijn nachtogen verdwijnen.
De open muil van de televisie. Wereldbrand.
Het geweeklaag van religieuze deurbellen.

Musti kan het niet aan,
zoekt raad in de raki, in gebeden op Amazon.

Musti sluipt als een dief zijn eigen keuken in,
valt in slaap in de koelkast, waar de yoghurt woont.

’s Anderendaags slijpt Musti zijn klauwen
in het wassalon in de Lambermontlaan.

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