The empty city

Across the rising sun

I’ve haven’t written non-fiction proza here in forever. I actually started this blog to have a place for all kinds of creative work- my photographs, my poems and my more eleborately written down thoughts. I guess that for a long time I haven’t really been in the space that one has to be to write a bit of random non-fiction. It’s somehow ‘seductive’ to write some kind of grand explaination of that, or some kind of intepretation of the fact that, honestly, I just haven’t.

Ofcourse today my connection to writing non-fiction proza, or my ‘story’ with it continues. I’m sitting on my balcony in the sun, typing on my worn out laptop. It’s worn out because I treat my laptop as others do their phone, a.k.a. take it everywhere, let it drop on the floor, eat next to it. Somehow I Iike it like that. I’m sitting on the balcony of my ‘new’ house. I’ve moved last december and it’s great to slowly discover the seasons as I am setteling into this house. I’m on the top floor so this means this balcony gets a lot of sun and I can see a lot of sky- a very blue sky today.

That the sky is blue and the sun is shining does by no means signify that it is a warm day- In the sun, protected from the wind, the weather is wonderful, but when going oustide a winter jacket is still appropriate. But here on the balcony far from the wind, I can just sit in a sweater, and type.

Street art? a sunrise drawn oposite the sunrise.

Last night I traveled along the largest strip of ‘wild nature’ in the netherlands, and saw the sun go down. This obviously man made piece of nature has the natural border of a traintrack. It takes 10 minutes to pass by the plane that is sometimes full of wild horses- and the setting of the sun was a wonderful sight to see. In that moment I remembered I saw a similar scene that day, but on a photograph, and not from a setting sun but a rising sun. I decided then and there, that I should set my alarm at 6 and try to make my way to the nearest ’empty plane’ (a little lake 25 minutes from my house) and watch the sun rise. Now, 4 hours later, I’ve had my 3 hours walk to the sunrise, sitting and seeing it rise, taking some pictures, and walking along the lake avoiding eye contact with the now bright white sun that seemed so save and warm when it was just rising. On my way back home I made it to a supermarket where I for the third time bought a reusable bag because even though I planned on probably going to the super market on the way back from my trip to the lake. Planning for such an predictable outcome seemed more of a hassle than just buying anonther bright pink and yellow reusable bag- It’s just 1,50 and it has bananas on it- What’s not to like?

I missed going out in the city before it wakes up. Funnily enough all of my out of town recent visitors said ‘but the city is so quiet’ it definetly is and yet I prefer it even quieter. The city before 9 is so quiet, the shopping street without the masses walking from one ‘essential’ shop to the other. And the people that are around seem to be peaceful. In the park I saw a couple with a puppy, appearantly dog parents sometimes go out at 7.00 am. I saw some people running since this is one of the activities outside that is great to do on your own. I even walked a stretch along the water, singing songs to myself, the heavens and the birds.

The empty and yet not quiet city is in absense of humans filled with the sound of birds, the wind, the water and the highway in the distance. Funny how when most people are still in bed and at home the city becomes a peaceful companion. And as I type these poetic words hearing the birds in the distance, a voice on the phone, some kind of manual work or machine in a distance, the sun on my skin my eyes tear up of sleepyness, I yawn and I feel peaceful, rested, and sleepy. After all, I’ve done a lot already. I’ll put away this laptop, put some laundry and in the machine and be like the city in the morning, oddly satisiyingly empty, at peace and quiet.

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Perfectly cosy prison.

How is it,

That the stories that you simply wish were over-

Are the ones that get stuck in your head.

over and over, back and forth and never a happy end.

Never forget as an unsolvable puzzle that shows up

just before bed. Realising nothing you could have said

would have made a difference nothing you could do

ever make a dent and yet- they are there like companions

more fateful than commited partners, never failing to

be around. When does a ghost stop showing up?

They say befriend all the ghosts of all the things that haunt

you most but i’m tired of sending greeting cards every

holiday to everthing that could have been-

How does time moves so relatively- for someone who

has to remind themselves to have breakfast lunch and dinner-

why is the most consistent thing the pain, the wound, the love

that just won’t heal, or what’s more, the stuff that will álways

be out of reach. Why can’t it be gone and can’t it be done,

Why can’t I be free.

And yet, as I imagine my freedom I think of how lonely I’d be

If i’d have to give up the fight, give up the swiming cause

there won’t be no more drowning there will be a draught

all the scary water is gone and I almost find myself thirsty

looking for something to keep this echo chamber plentyful

of sounds. And as I make the rounds looking at the walls I

find no doors. And yet I realise I’ve haven’t always been here-

but where else? What will remain when my perfectly cosy- ghostly

prison is gone?


Rechts langs de weg, links langs het fietspad.

Ik schrijf bijna wat ik wil zeggen,

Als ik op gehouden word door een

heel aantal tegenstemmen. Zinnen

met maar, en nou, en eigenlijk.

En natuurlijk niet- en of, dat kan je

wel vinden maar dat werkt zo niet.

De zinnen en woorden maken

dat mijn hoop en mijn droom

hopeloos klinkt voordat hij goed

en wel is geboren. En door het geluid

van alle luide stemmen die ik heb

leren spreken in mijn binnenste

door ze eerder te lezen en te horen

en bewezen te achten, word

het steeds stiller en kleiner in mijn

gedachten. Mijn verbeeldingskracht

word tegen gehouden met een groot

opdoemend wat als dat sterker lijkt

te zijn dan mijn hoop en realiteit.

En toch, al zijn mijn gedachten onrustig

als ik mijn vingers op de toetsen leg

kunnen ze toch zonder tegenstemmen

tikken en bewegen. Dus ik schrijf tegen de

stemmen in:  

Ik vind het woord ‘kansarm’ altijd gek- het idee dat sommige mensen ‘kansarme mensen’ zijn, en dat je die beter niet in je land kan hebben/ binnenhalen, terwijl en kans altijd buiten je zelf vandaan komt- lijkt me meer een probleem van de samenleving die geen kansen geeft dan de gene die er niet genoeg heeft..

En dat reageer ik dan op een filmpje over ‘waarom ik links ben’

Door al mijn rechtse en neo-liberale en pessimistische gedachten heen.

Volg Sahand Sahebdivani op

The world before 10

I’m getting to know a new world

A new space, a new place, a new

neighbourhood, a new me,

And it’s been good- so far, and I’ve

found walks to calm me down

to pick me up and to inspire.

But today, today was different-

I saw the world before 10.00.

I saw the world just after 8.00

and the street that is otherwise

so full of people lockdown or not,

was empty. And I could appriciate

the yellow bricks of the road and

the subble curves of rows of houses,

And the birds- The birds, the birds

the birds.

The park was empty, where otherwise the

people walk in files all along the

same lines today it was quiet.

Serenity of still water and blue skies.

And the birds, The birds the birds the birds.


All of the things at once.

A guy once wrote to me- in a handwritten letter-

‘my thoughts and stories are like horses all trying

to get trough the same small gate’, or something

along those lines. I don’t know if he stole those words

or they are a welknown concept, but on my first day

of 10 days of freedom I feel my thoughts, words,

and stories, but mostly my actions do the same.

And rather than just doing one thing at the time

I make the priorities argue with eachother intending

to do one and then doing the other, trying to pick up

the pieces of living as if someone else would clean up

after me, for weeks.

Isn’t mess beautiful?

And so I made a list that has

the making of other lists on it. I want to somehow

put to paper all the things that this body, this mind

this soul desires like making a rod in the build in

closet so I can hang my coats there instead of

in the middle of my bedroom, but ironically it

did not make it on there yet- the list iImean.

I did do some things thatIi didn’t write on the list

yet so I write them down now and cross them off imediatly after-

Like a TV screen from the 20th century.

and as iIm ready to go outside, and throw away

two types of trash wihch will alow me to kill

3 birds with one stone, I decide that way more

urgent is this: Writing a poem about living

in chaos and loving it. Next thing to do: write

‘write a poem and publish’ on my creative to-do

and wishlist and crossing it off.


love and love and love.

The little girl holds her

brother for the first time.

I see something in her eyes

that i know so well-

she is touched and loves

that little bundle even though

she doens’t know why or how.

I tell him I love him, although

since he calls books cookies

This is above his paygrade but

I know, I know he knows I

love him. There is so much love

in me, that I’d so love to freely

give. For now I’ll just hold it in my

chest, and in my prayers.

Jane Eyre

Funny how- almost 200 years

She lets it go.

later, I look upon her, to see

myself, a woman, a men,

in the female gaze. And as

I move past the wonderful

drama of two people falling

into forbidden love-

I’m reminded. The moment

that Jane says- ‘just because

I’m poor and I’m plain, and little-

and I find myself finishing a the

sentence: and a woman. –

That you think i have no soul, no heart.

It’s such a striking image.

I dont know if I ever fully took

credit for my soul and heart

as she did. Or gave a man

credit for his soul and his heart

like she did. And yet- tonight

it is not this exclamationIi’m

reminded of- it’s the other one

where she stands up for herself:

The fight she puts up- leaving

the man she loves cause she

cannot be his wife. She replies

to his ‘But why’ with a simple:

I care for myself.  And so-

I hear my voice in her voice

strengthened. If she could

stand up for herself, for

her values, for her value.

So can I.

The image above is based on a wonderfuldrawing from

The last day of 27

It is said-

that I would be born the 28th,

rather than the 29th. But since

I stayed inside a few hours longer,

It will indeed 10227 days ago

tomorrow that I have been out on this planet.

10227 days are a lot and yet-

it’s been mostly sleeping, lying

in bed, dreaming, preparing,

and seeing how time and grace

change the things around you.

how suffering doesn’t last forever

how things change and grow

slowly slowly. And in a hearbeat.

The joy and heartbreak that is

now simply a memory. I’ve

evolved and learned by simply

breathing with my heart open-

Through the years I’ve build

on the heart that is my home-

it has the most beautiful

stained glass windows

that cause the

most delightful colorful shadows

sometimes I spend so many hours

simply looking at the floor seeing

what the light does inside of me

that I forget the vast world that is

out there- the people I love-

the people I’ve found and the people

that are there to discover.

There are so many days unremembered

but they show in my body, mind, soul.

I’ve grown in each and every way,

in each and every day. And every

day, I meet myself anew- as if a stranger.

A stranger that is different and other

and new and loved- so loved.

Every day I learn what words to say

what words to pray, what needs and

depths are inside of me. The child

in me, the joyful and the vulnerable

the parent in me, the dreamer and

the profet. the friend, the aunt, the

daughter, the lover the other.

Isn’t it wonderful-

To be- To be human so far, today, and

tomorrow, at 28.



There is something,

He says. Something that

only dutch kids, let me

rephrase all dutch kids

make and know in their lives

een kijkdoos.– A cardboard

box with a whole world inside.

And I must say that I don’t remember

exactly how he showed how dutch

it was to have that do that but-

These days — lockd down days


I feel like i live in a kijkdoos.

Or rather the world around me

has become one. The outside world

Is just a decor, with doors opening

to nothing. All I can do is look, from

a distance, now touching no entering

no singing. Like walking in a western


decor, wanting to go into the most

wonderful shop when you realise it’s

only a front and the door is stuck.

Imagination is powerful and

wonderful and so is a ‘look box’

but.- I long to go places and

feel not so constraint, and be able


To look ahead,

or rather, back.

or more. What if I,

In twenty years

look around me,

what would i like

to see?. I could think

of a world I wouldn’t

regognise, a mirror

telling me, what time

has done. How I have

grown. What love was known-

but! I digress. It is not

me i am concerned with

it is the world I’m part

of now. I wasn’t part of

the world twenty years

ago, like I am now,

but I know who was.

Twenty years ahead may

look so far but it’s not

how they see it, the people

it talk to, sharing strong

memories of travels,

friendship and work.

How would I like to

see the world work,

twenty years from now.

The funny thing is since

reading books from a hundred

years ago, seeing how little

knowledge has been added-

I wonder how much will have

changed when we simply move

with the slow pace that we’ve

taken so far. Everything might

change, or hardly anything at all.