Nightmares are made of your thick grey smoke and your gridlocked streets
Stinking of bloated rotting money
Paralyzed by white hypocrisy
Tarp-covered holes where windows roofs walls should be
Your genocidal kings adorn
Dark tunnels and deserted squares
Flickering flames honor
Forgotten men slaughtered for the crown
Under the stinging rain
The shivering rain
The beating rain
The heavy wind drowns out the memory
Of the flesh that haunts you
Grease running down the pavement
Old as sin
Fresh as the beer flooding your veins
Tongues and lips biting out guttural harmonies
Accented cries falling on tone-deaf ears
Ugly and scarred from a sprawling concrete cancer
Rising from the ashes of your splendid past
Poor like the dirt
Poor like a shriveled heart
Poor like a homeless man writing poems on scraps of paper
In the neon alleys of your swarming underbelly

I fought with all the life left in my body to come back to you
Lost in a country that would never call itself mine
I balled up my last shreds of hope and hurled it at your swelling putrid heart
You took it, let me sink into you like molten copper
Lonely town
I took my first free breath in the middle of your labyrinth and was reborn
You are the strength in my limbs the breath in my lungs the sun in my smiles the despair in my soul

I have missed you like I missed my skin

Incomparable mess horrible hateful impossible city

I love you

Winter diaries

It feels like the tail end of winter, like the hard part is over. It feels. But it’s not true. Time is a circle and it’s barely mid-February. But two days of sun feel like more hope than I’ve got since the beginning of the year. People in parks, streets, squares, terraces. Making music, drinking, hanging. It’s like the outside’s in color again, like music is made of sounds. Polarize has meaning, infused directly into my bones. Brussels is my oyster.

Villo and Lime don’t want me but my legs will push me through. I sit cross-legged at the Vismet and drown my home-made pistolet au salami in unintelligible Flemish. Still in Vismet, I find a forceful bout of sunshine to help me draw Miles Morales. Brussels lives around me.

I rock out to my phone and walk and walk and walk and barely stop for coffee. It is gross how much I am one with this city. Lonely fucking town, I love your tourists and your hills and your hard edges and waiting eight minutes for a metro. The moon is out over the Cinquantenaire. Nothing scares me. 

Romanticizing Brussels in the spring

There’s something in the air, in the late afternoon of my sweet countryside town, something that brings me back to walks in the early spring of secluded Belgian parks. Something about the softness of the sun, a certain crisp chill in the air, the smell of trees breathing in and out.

Brussels is amazing in the spring. When the sun is up before you and keeps you company all the way to work. When trees seem to come out of hibernation and suddenly the grey streets burgeon with bright spots of green and soft blue. People everywhere on lawns and monument steps. Cafes sprout terraces benevolently lit up by a stray ray of sunlight.

Street musicians dust their accordions and get off the subway to play in the cramped shopping streets or the deserted square in front of the Opera. There’s probably not a lot of money to make there, but the acoustics are amazing.

If you’re really quiet and the tram isn’t passing by, sometimes you can even hear birds. Or run and chase pigeons off the Grand Place if it pleases you. It’s still a bit cold so you go and get a waffle from the ice cream truck and you eat it at a bus stop, lulled to satisfaction by the sun reflecting off the plastic ads.

Soon it will be time to trade jackets and scarves for… lighter jackets and scarves. Soon it will be May and the streets around the Square Jourdan market will smell like lilies.

There’s something in the air, maybe you’re in love, a little bit.

Maybe you’re in love with the city.