you, Borromini

screwdriver you

boring right into earth’s hell

all through Dante’s sacred floors

not a shred of hope


inside San Ivo

up high, in the lantern’s heaven

the sun tilts off centre

axial symmetry perverse

Rome’s capstone


the edifice – one bottle

your lantern unplugged

the city would drown in spumante

your weightless white walls

anchoring no soul

baroque’s vacuum pump

my body fleeing its pigeon hole


ad astras down to earth

remains but the vanity of it all

your endless meandering

the concave convex screens

mimic a hesitant’s soul

its carnal wandering

through hills sublime

through gorges of lust 


was tun?


into the abyss

bathing myself in the seething wine

of your inferno

or up again

saving the soul’s eternal resurrection


not leaving your Ivo ever again

stay on the edge

live dangerously

paint red-hot desires

on your sheetwhite canvas walls

and leave them

just like the sorcerer you were

so virginal


here no candle burns

you are the light

not choosing this or that

foolishly wise and sinfully holy

 a Madonna Fornarina

for sinners and pilgrims

on the outside forever


you Borromini, you

San Ivo – Rome’s interior

screened off by a square

offside as always

the building barely containing

its spumante pressure

Sierksma Rome June 2003

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Author: rjsiersk

Sierksma was born in Friesland, a 'county' in the northern part of the Netherlands with its own language which he does not speak and with an obstinate population to which he both belongs and does not belong. A retired Professor of Social Philosophy and Aesthetics, as a Harkness fellow he taught at Rutgers and Berkeley Universities in the USA, and at GUAmsterdam and TUDelft in the Netherlands. In 1991 he was awarded his PhD from Leiden University on the subject of 'Surveillance and Task: Labour Discipline between Utilitarianism and Pragmatism'. His books include Minima Memoria (1993), Lost View (2002 with Jan van Geest), and Litter Scent (2013). He has published poems and articles in Te Elfder Ure, Nynade, Oasis and the Architectural Annual. Half the year he lives in Haarlem, the other half he spends in la France Profonde, living ‘in his own words’ as the house out there was bought with the winnings from his essay Eternal Sin, written for the ECI Essay Prize (1993). In this blog, Sierksma's Sequences, written in English, he is peeping round his own and other people’s perspectives. Not easily satisfied with answers nor with questions, he turns his wry wit to a number of philosophical and historical issues. His aim in writing: to make parts of the world light up in his perspective - not my will, thine! Not being a thief, he has no cook, one wife, some children, one lover and three cats.

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