Wrote the diary of stones
The gaunt face, the stars
The mystery of destiny
Towering in silence, the barren waste
We gathered close, we hoped and dreamed
Imprisoned at the foot
One coal-burning stove
One light bulb per barrack
Shared the mess
Shared the latrine
The climb began innocuously
A gentle slope rising up
Through grasses and wild flowers
The ubiquitous Wyoming sagebrush
Much in evidence
As well as elk
A sacred place to the Crow people
A place of bleakness and prejudice
Rendered beautiful in the sunlight
With many babies born in the camp
Poet’s statement: This is not about the situation in Turkey directly (though some of the lines seem to resonate with the “standing man”). It is about solidarity and how resistance connects with survival, living under the sun, free.
Heart Mountain actually refers to one of the concentration camps in the United States, where Japanese nationals were put during the Second World War. Lots of babies were born there; some survivors even have fond memories of the time, despite the fact their suffering was very real. In this light also a photo, the first ever picture my son took… overexposed, a lovely work of “failure,” of “non-compliance,” producing something strange, not bad at all, rather likable actually, a new kind of life. I guess I think this dynamic applies to solidarity and resistance in general.
Jan Lauwereyns (1969) is a poet, essayist, and neuroscientist. He lives in Fukuoka, Japan, where he is Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Kyushu University. His research interests, in both science and art, focus on the active boundaries of perception. He writes in his native Dutch, in English, and occasionally in (a spoken-word variety of) Japanese.