Baudelaire forgave life its slow detour towards death.

Sierksma, Big pale women


Coping with one’s own death some laughter is required. Without self-mockery, the remaining bit of life becomes miserable, if not dismal.

During my first French blood-letting we had quite some fun. Not only was the draining of my pint done by a nurse, both beautiful and witty, she also asked if her pupil might join the party. After all, the job of bleeder must be learned as an apprentice, one does not want to leave this to postmodern medieval quacks and would-be surgeons. The pupil was less attractive and had fewer tendencies towards the comical.

After some serious ‘pumping’ – the constant squeezing of an orange foam ball in the hand of the needled arm  – the pint reluctantly ended up in its plastic bag and was then shown to me as proof. I told the two that I had great confidence in both; a centilitre more or less would probably not wreck my ship. All this explained to them in my best amateur’s French.

The beautiful nurse was ready to deposit my blood in a bin. That is what you do with blood: ‘depositing’, there is no other word for it. Before she did this, however, I asked if I could take it with me – to make boudin noir, blood sausage in good English. “I feel like doing a bit of auto cannibalism.”



High jinks.

As reward and in celebration of the Survival of the Unfit, I got an extra cup of coffee with biscuits and a bowl of delicious compote. After such a loss, you are not allowed to immediately leave the hospital; there is the slight change of getting dizzy after the little operation.

Sierksma 26.8 / 2015 La Roche

In the series Death no. 5



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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