Ai! Not so much Marilyn’s cheeks plural, as that one left buttock singular… Not even wearing a négligé, the Great Monroe is elegantly elevating herself, her ass that is. Ignoring her – impossible.




Quel cul! Spread out like a treat, Marilyn is actually lying on the reverse side of a Dutch paper cutting which I was reading in order to prepare myself for the future acclimatization in Holland; I have been spending the last six months in Ma douce France – on my own. Something political, an analysis of the last elections.

Only by chance did I turn that piece of paper. After that I never turned it upside down again. Now and then my wife sends me these cuttings. That I may not lose my grip on the past as well as on the future. Out here in my little hamlet, I tend to lose track of what others consider relevant.

She, my wife that is, was probably not aware of this buttock, merely concentrating on the outline of the article to be cut out from the reverse side of the paper. What a fortunate bastard I am, by pure coincidence her cutting has not damaged my Magnificent Marilyn. Now however, my far-away wife is not only saddling me with a serious stimulation in the underbelly, she is also giving me the pleasure of contemplating what might be considered a philosophical issue. It is necessary, though, to first put this cheek in the proper materialistic perspective.

What the fuck was beautiful Marilyn doing with her abdomen, how did she manage to transform that small, yet sublime bulge into this magnificent Mont Ventoux? A long pensive gaze brings me to the following conclusion: Not visibly for one who is observing the photo, she must have drawn her left leg up sideways, in such a way as to prop it on a solid, rather eminent cushion.

With this still utilitarian hypothesis at the back of our mind, we may now ask more philosophically, interested as we are in plural perspective and projection, if apart from the photographer there was someone else present during the shooting of the image. What magnificent view that man must have had! Montre moi ton cul, Marilyn! This, then, would have been the end of his world, from the right position evaporating into an anal mirage.

Did a whole cosmos end with Marilyn’s death? How she reminds me of the ravishing Violetta, the woman who in my lonely French little farmhouse is acting and singing her ancient black-and-white videotaped version of Verdi’s Traviata. Fallen by the roadside, orphaned and lost she is in the web of morals of this, our civilized world.

What remains is Marilyn’s shadow hovering over Every Man’s consciousness. In stills of movies; on a photograph like this one; or on the move, like in Billy Wilder’s great picture Some like it Hot, waving her ass like the semaphore flag of her personal empire.

How hot would I not have liked to have her! Posthumous wishful thinking.

Sierksma, La Roche 17.9/2013



Apart from personal branding – the ultimate form of postmodern reification in which an empty Ego is in permanent need of the props of exterior gimmicks like clothes, special bikes and the like – cultural icons themselves have also become branded in this process of hyper-commodification.

Images and words that once had a thorough and deep-rooted cultural meaning, thus binding groups to certain values and aims, have been emptied out. An excellent example is Ernesto Guevara, an Argentinean doctor who became a Marxist revolutionary. During his stay in Guatemala he was nicknamed Che, the beginning of his iconography.

For many young leftists, ranging from Marxists to Socialists of all kinds, he became an idol of principled choice and political activism. Very much like the case of John Kennedy, Che’s has become sanctified, a process in which the fans forget the real politician and are only repeating the mantra of his good sides, inflated by fantasy.




With Che this went a crucial step further. Whereas an image of Kennedy will still be associated with his political career – Assassination, Bay of Pigs et cetera – the image of Guevara has become autonomous, free floating and loosened from the man who was originally portrayed. Anybody may wear a T-Shirt with on it the abstracted face of El Che.

Ask an owner of such a T-shirt today what the image on his chemise stands for, in most cases he does not have the slightest clue. The wearer shrouds his weak feeling of identity under the veil of another man’s anonymous image, as the one time owner of that face has become a quantity unknown to the one who dresses himself in the shirt. ‘I am someone – at least, so it seems.’

There is a resemblance here with the person wearing a T-shirt with the word Coke printed on. Both are cases of what may be coined as branded schizophrenia: ‘I am who I am not; I am not what I am’. For the growing masses who never heard about the revolutionary Guevara, this black-on-read ‘face’ has become a mythem, an empty, thus self-referential sign signifying nothing and, loop-wise, the nothingness of their own empty self.




There is a huge difference between the German Fraternity student in the Interbellum as described by Joseph Roth in his Hotel Years. That man wore a scar on his face, purposely acquired during a saber duel in order to prove his maleness. He was also wearing a special sort of cap as well as a ‘gaudy sash of two or three colours in which may be picked out a ringing phrase, as for example: With God for King and country!’

Roth described these studied louts as ‘a slogan on two legs’. Which is precisely what they were: they stood for something, there aggressive maleness was directed against the left, against women, against artists et cetera. The wearer of a shirt with a Che abstract on it stands for nothing, the image refers to nothing – except for the old folks who are still living in History…

In Haarlem, The Netherlands, I found another crucial example of cultural icon branding, once again another step up in the process of commodification, perhaps its final step. Because of its contradictory quality it is an example which is analytically attractive, a contradiction which probably escapes those who put it up there.




The ‘bike’ in front of this tattoo shop is an icon of power, in use by a certain kind of motor cyclist, often a member of a ‘bikers’ club. Its blackness speaks for itself. It is either owned by a client or by the shop owner. By now, the male tattoo has exploded into one of the major versions of Panzer Ego, the external husk in which an empty Ego hides itself – an exterior identity mask.

Watch soccer matches on your TV; seven out of ten players are covered in bluish/black designs which veil most of their skin, a nakedness which they obviously feel frightened to show to the public. Even dressed in their sports gear, they feel weak, bare, vulnerable – and thus ashamed. The trendy overgrown tattoo is the territory of aggression, whereas smaller ones on a female buttock, breast or shoulder belong to what is considered as postmodern ‘eroticism’.

Shops like this you now find all over the western world. Not all that long ago people had to go East to be covered in tattoos, over there applied in a professional manner. This is the ratio of that image in the shop window, a plaster copy of a Buddha sculpture – actually two of them. The Tao yin and yang could also have figured as an icon, an image on their skin preferred by many. However, sculptures are more impressive… The Buddha’s are a reference to tattoo’s exotic past, making of the shop something esoteric, thus appealing to an ever-growing portion of the public that has exited ‘organized religion’ and defected to vaguer notions of some Higher Being or The Path.

However, not to appeal only to this softer origin of the tattoo, the name of the shop is done in the well-known graffiti style, in an aggressive, oversized and skewed lettering, using the well-known fascist tricolor of black/white/hot-red, yet incorporating another charming allusion by abusing the word heaven. Shallow as veneer.

The tattooist is not branding the poor animal’s flesh, scourging it with a red-hot iron as was done on the ranches in the Wild West; in these shops they use the gentle version of the tattoo knife. It cannot be a coincidence that the black spatter of ink – as if even the writing on the shop window has been tattooed – reminds one of a black tear.

There is a magnificent movie by Takabayashi, called Irezumi; in English: The Art, or the Spirit of Tattoo [1982]. Some months before the old tattoo-master feels his death nearing, he decides to begin his final master piece, the depiction of a fearful devil on a most beautiful back of an even more beautiful girl.


irezumi 2


For whatever reasons, probably aesthetic ones, this man is using the most painful technique in the business. O so slowly he is cutting up her skin, to gradually reveal that evil looking creature, first as a line ‘drawing’, then in gorgeous soft reds, greens and blues. Once it will be finished, being taken by her lover a tergo, the image will move with her body in heat, either exciting him in his approach, or perhaps even paralyzing his erotic vigour. An element of sado-masochism is there.

To soften the girl’s suffering, the Tattoo Master asks her to lie on top of his young apprentice, to make quiet love with him while the Master is torturing her skin.




Just before his death he sends the woman away, telling her that once he will be gone she should return to the atelier in which the apprentice, by then the new Master, will give the image its finishing touch. This, then, is a rite de passage between Pupil and Master, the woman serving as their trait d’union.




However, the observer watching the movie has become convinced that the magnificent image on her back is already finished. So, a cliff-hanger it is. What could it be, that the apprentice still might add to the masterpiece of his now deceased teacher?

When the moment has arrived, we witness one of the great scenes in cinematography. Close, o so close up, aggravatingly slow the camera follows the tattoo knife approaching the skin with its image, till finally once again it zooms in on the demon’s eye. Lo and behold! That is what we have missed – this one eye’s pupil is missing. At the very instant we are enlightened, the knife cuts the skin, blinding the devil’s eye by making it see.

Thus, the threesome of Tattoo, Violence and Sex were always already in unison. These images, chiseled in the skin by knife: simultaneously so shallow and so deep. In that Eastern past, however, the unity of these three was still an art, sublimated as it were. The postmodern tattoo, on the other hand, is only skin-deep and highly superficial, more a macho thing than the delicate element in an erotic game that in the old days, perhaps, not merely aimed at aggression, but also at transgression. By now, it has become a vulgar branding, the tattoo business trying hard to evoke a past that it is in fact violating.

Over this shop in my pphoto hovers a sad kind of realism. It is situated on the Gedempte Oude Gracht in the Dutch city of Haarlem, a space too wide for the height of its houses, overtaken by bus and automobile traffic, treeless, once a street with a canal in its middle, then filled in to allow Modernity’s engines to take over.

This shop in such a street is a symbol of the transit from these Modern Times to present-day Postmodern triviality. The shop seems to be its finishing touch. It exemplifies the sprawl of postmodern disconnected urbanism, throwing together all and everything, exploding the notion of context into a fragmented and scattered nothingness.

Sierksma, November 2017





A self-portrait? Perhaps, however certainly the portrayal of Self in a certain way.

Could the picture be self-referential, an image referring the artist’s Self to her essence? Or perhaps merely referring arse to arse?

If so, both interpretations imply camouflage.

She is hiding her face, thus negating the candour of the porn actress, a woman apparently in heat, who will always be looking straight in the camera lens, thus directly at you. Sometimes with her very own eyes, then again ogling the observer with her bottom’s two glorious orifices.

Not only is the Ecuadorian ceramist Natalia Espinosa hiding her face, thus becoming anonymous; she also hides her arse. However, that magnificent horse butt titillates the fantasy and makes one think of what hers might look like.

Sadly enough, the horse is made of white plastered terra cotta. Would I have been a woman as well as an artist desiring to exhibit myself in this manner, for an exposition titled Darling, I cannot stand our mornings any more, I would have myself photographed on a real mare. Then again, Natalia is a ceramist…

By the way, on the back of the photo there is neither an indication of the year of production nor of its exhibition. It only states: ‘Opening Thursday third of March from 17.00 till 19.00 hours’. I never went there. It was my then maîtresse who send the card to me, posthumously so to say. On its backside she wrote that “if you hunger after me, then feast your eye on this image; I cannot offer you anything more beautiful while I am absent.”

Funnily enough, the catalogue relates the following: “Espinosa’s works of art also have a unique character because they are in point of fact functional, just like a bed or a wash basin.” As far as beds go, observing this image one might imagine a function being performed on them. However, as an image this one merely serves the imagination…

Could it be that Natalia Espinosa made this particular picture solely for the purpose of her invitation card? Perhaps it did not belong to the series of works actually exhibited.




Sure enough, those small indentations, visible at the bottom of her spine, hollowed out in her lightly pink-excited flesh, thus flanking as it were the slit between those two solid cheeks – they do excite me. A vague triangle, mimicking that famous equivalent on her front side.

And I am not even a dimple fetishist.

Sierksma, November 2017


Two buildings fiercely kissing,

teeth onto teeth – stone bedding stone.

A chilly smacker – what vehemence.

Past meeting past, time digging in.

Divergent stories shyly mating,

 yet also desperately.

Incongruous, barren fornication,

transforming tourist into Peeping Tom,

downcast his eyes, ashamed somewhat,

singing this song, his petite verse:

the granite’s sole and solitary offspring.

Sierksma, Monpazier 16.8.2017


Our house is a very, very, very fine house
With two cats in the yard
Life used to be so hard
Now everything is easy
‘Cause of you…

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Our House

Si tu n’aimes pas faire l’amour qu’avec un seul home, alors, c’est que tu n’aimes pas faire l’amour.

Margueritte Duras, Les petits chevaux de Tarquinia

Catalogic 6 – read the other 5!

There you go, at a speed of 130 km/hour through the deep dark night, leaving behind your fatherland for ever. This time the two cats, Sebastian and Abe, did not have a visa or a passport – or any document establishing their identity or good health.

When we brought in Matz from Bretagne, years and years ago, he had been vetted by the vet and his papers were in perfect order. No fear of being held up at the border which, at that time, was not as porous as it is now since we have the European Community.

What, then, is a porous or for that matter an open border? The French are still calling Abe’s and Sebastian’s country of destination a Narco-État – Holland, a Drug State in which, so they believe, everybody is rolling around in hash and coke and heroine all the time. That there are many more people dying from drug abuse in France than in The Netherlands they tend to forget, also the notion that there might be a causal connection between their own rough attitude towards drugs and these deaths…

Now, of course, I was taking Abe out of the country. So if he were a threat to France, drug wise or ISIS wise, I would be doing them a favour. So I decided not to go to the vet this time. The migratory problem would not be so much French as Dutch: would Sebastian and Abe be able to integrate in a Dutch home, and in a country where lately rather unpleasant politicians are talking about “closing our borders for those foreigners” and about “keeping high our Dutch values and our Dutch Identity”?

As I do not have the foggiest as to what this Dutch identity might be, and as the main problem will be integration into the society of our own cats – what the heck! Integration by the way would be good enough, assimilation is not required.



Sarah and Soof

There are only two cats left out of the stable of animals that inhabited our home, the rest of the ménage has died in the last few years, one of the reasons why I argued for the arrival of these two fresh animals. Red Soof is so old, that she does not really care anymore. Sarah is also old and has glaucoma which prevents her from even recognizing me and the wife, let alone the newcomers.

Not to forget the fact that France is far less animal friendly than The Netherlands and England are. In France people think of an animal first of all from a food-perspective. For the Dutch, animals are primarily mates. Rudy Kousbroek, a keen observer of the cat race, once wrote a little book in which he explained that for him the whole of mammal species was divided in two: those animals that possess the caressability factor and those who do not.

Now inside the subspecies of those caressable, the cat surely occupies poll position. This is why many of us cannot do without cats and perhaps also why many cats cannot do without us humans – after all those who caress.

Once we arrived in Haarlem – Sebastian and me that is – the very moment the two Frenchies came together they teamed up again. Abe had been here already for almost four weeks. Bien enchantés de se rétrouver ensemble… From then on Sebastian took the lead as he had done in La Roche. He seemed to stay lean from pure inquisitive exhaustion. Abe on the other hand could still go wild, now and then that is, but had decided that living in my wife’s lap was the reason why he had been brought into this world.




Up till now – that is: two days before I shall leave Haarlem again for another half year in ma Douce France – Sebastian is still as crazy as before.




Trying to keep him out of the study and the bed room has become a martial art in itself; you cough once and he has slipped in. He is still eating my fingers when I do not instantly cuddle him, even though I seem to have been doing nothing else all these months.

Abe on the other hand becomes more and more a little Dumbo. Food has primacy in his universe. When the other three have finished with their breakfast he feigns to follow them into the house, then sneaks back into the kitchen and finishes off whatever is left in the dishes.

The moment my wife is cooking he will come into the shrine of the kitchen and place himself elegantly so as not to miss a thing.


BRAM 001


They have finally arrived in the Promised Land. The only thing which is missing in this Utopia is language. There is a little poem by the Dutch cat lover Frans Pointl which ends like this:

…if they looked at me so set
I do presume how well they knew –
that gaze of helplessness
because they do not grasp
man’s speech.

In my younger days I wrote a little piece on Animal Talk which ended like this:

At home my wife and I talk to our cats in their language – at least the language of which we presume it is theirs, so full of arbitrary and high-handed accents and all those most dubious terms. The seldom guest in our home thinks we are crazy. The cats by the way do the same, because unknowingly we speak their language complétely false. This however they do not tell us.

The torment of the mystery of cats – to be sure that they can talk, however still to be confronted with their incessant silence. Now and then I know the moment has come. An answer will be given, at last their meowing will transit into understandable talk! Alas.

Once their time had come to be castrated, Sebastian and Abe had to be moved into their respective Portable Homes again. They were not averse, as if they had undergone the metamorphosis of sedentary into globe trotting animals.

Once at the vet, though, there came our surprise. Both Abe and Sebastian turned out to be female. A case of Trans gendering? Should I rewrite my whole series of Catalogics? Do these two need a new name?

I’ll tell you: Being a cat lover is both a blessing and a burden.

Sierksma, Haarlem 30.3.2017

EXODUS – Catalogic 5

Wisely god buries in night and darkness
what will be the result of the days to come,
and he laughs if men are more afraid
than they need be…

Horace, Odes III 29


So there it is : I’ve got to organize a second raid on the cats’ barricade, this time it will be more complex than the first one. I have to evict Sebastian and Abe from all places where they can hide and perhaps, by doing so, make it more attractive for them to return my love and make friends with me.
So this is what I plan to do: Saw wood into the right shapes and sizes so I can plank up the support beam of my court yard roof – the préau – this in such a manner that just one opening is left for them to go in and out of their alcove. A practical problem will be to keep open some little slits through which I will be able to kill the next invasion of those wood eating insects in the summer… Then, once again, I need to find the right place in the yard to lure them away with food, this time leaving me time to perform my trick of tricks.
After they have got accustomed to their new feeding and watering spot, I shall use my last prepared plank which I have equipped with a series of nails half way in and made to fit onto that last opening. On D-Day I shall put out the ladder underneath the beam, hoping the kittens are not scared by it and refuse to go to the afore mentioned feeding spot, deciding to remain hidden inside their beam.
There will of course be cruelty. For at least three days I won’t feed them, just give them water and a little milk as if they were my little prisoners. There is the risk that they will then leave me, give up their nice red chair and that beam – as well as me, their caretaker. There is also the danger that they might meet a farmer with a gun who does not love cats… But if they just stay and get really hungry, after these few days I shall put the food out and quietly wait inside the door opening of my house till the moment they choose to be real hungry.
As expected I only manage to remain cat-cruel for just one day. So already the second night I put out the food and the kittens fall for it. I keep silently waiting, then make a run for it towards the ladder under the préau where I grab the ready hammer and the prepared plank, then shoot up the ladder and bang the opening close.
After I have performed this trick I find that even in this rather threatening situation the two kittens have run back up their climbing beam and are sitting only a meter and a half away from where I had been hammering. Saved by the bell!

As the character of each cat is unique and mostly inherited from the father, and as one almost never knows a cat’s father, even for a wise catalogician like me these young ones are imponderable. I had already decided that once my wife has come over with the brother in law, she would have to do the catching and the caging as I did not expect much closer contact between me and my little friends.
But did Abe turn out to be a cozy creature! Within two days after the successful closure of their beam house he was already purring on my belly while I was having my siesta in the court yard. Sebastian was a more difficult customer, only a week before my guests arrived did he let himself be stroked for the first time, this distantly and more than two weeks after Abe let it be. So, what a difference in character!
Then again, with human loved one you also fall first for what they look like, their eyes and bodily shapes, only then character comes into play. So with cat lovers. Abe is more subdued, although when incited by Sebastian he may run amok. Sebastian, on the other hand, is always high; he seems to be a vanguard cat, whereas Abe just the agreeing type, saying to himself: “All right, let’s go wild for a while, if that’s what Sebastian wants…”
Phrased differently: Sebastian is permanently on cocaine, eyes wild, and body in an alert stance, looking for trouble or for excitement – or for both. Abe is hash tagged to Sebastian. Little Abe is a hash cat, rather in a silly way browsing nature and mankind, sort of pleasantly surprised that all this is there without precisely knowing what it is all about.




From then on they circled me, climbed in trees and grew larger and larger. After the fury of food consumption there is always that short period of time in which they go completely crazy, ruining what they have left of my beautiful little flowers during their last raid, and breaking the stem of the only surviving sunflower. I observe, I am sad and I am happy at the same time, reduced to sheer far niente, as doing something while watching their activity would be senseless.


dw 011


Once my family had arrived in La Roche I decided to keep Sebastian with me till I would leave La Roche myself. We just bought one cage for Abe. Ever since the publication of Remco Campert’s gorgeous little book The Diary of a Pussy, a Dutchman calls these boxes Draagbare Woning – DW in short, perhaps best translated as Portable Home or PH.
Each time Campert’s Puss perceives his two servants Glasses and Trousers filling trunks and taking out the PH, she says to herself: Ah, we’re going to Frenchyland. Holidays galore.

One of the weird aspects of nature is how differently drugs affect the body. Cocaine and hash do have very dissimilar effects and one may, as I did, even characterize characters according to drugs taken – thus Sebastian Coke en Hash Abe. The drug used to make them sleep while travelling, on the other hand, tends to eliminate all distinction.
As Abe had never seen his PH before, he was somewhat scared by the contraption, but then again this did only last till the travel drug took hold on his tiny psyche. When I phoned Haarlem and asked how his emigration had evolved, I was told that he had been ‘out’ for the trip – simply a cute little body hanging inside his PH like a trapezist on his wires, or rather like a boxer against the ropes.

Thus I awaited my turn to go North, always against the flow of the cranes who autumnally wing their way South over the Brenne where I live. Simply because I cannot fly, we never met in the flesh, but whenever I perceive them, cackling and talkative high up there, I shout a friendly Hello! and thank them for warning me that time has come.




Sebastian became nicer after Grey Spotted Silvery Abe had left. He started crying for his lost partner in crime. They had been a tight knit set, this now showed in the sorrow for the loss of the loved one. I was the comforter.




At such moments the lack of lingual communication between cat and man is tragic and severe. Luckily this loss of Abe intensified Sebastian’s sympathy for me. Body language soothed the little beast. Whereas before it had been Abe on my belly and scurrying in front of my feet so as to make me fall, now Sebastian took over. Gentlemen’s love!

As Abe’s cage had performed as it should, I went to Le Blanc and bought a second one at the vet. The lady behind the counter looked at me as if I were a rather eccentric collector of Portable Homes. I also bought another capsule of the best. Sebastian Coke would sleep well enough during the long ride, some eight and a half hundred kilometers through France, Belgium and The Netherlands.

Desmond Morris, the renowned biologist who studied dogs and cats and human beings as if they were of the same make from the same factory assembly line, wrote amongst many other books Catwatching and Dogwatching. Julian Barnes did his own research and found that Catwatching was sold twice as well as Dogwatching. The latter was even discovered selling well at dog shows!
Barnes ponders the issue and asks himself why this is the case. Perhaps because cat-owners live in city flats with potted plants and piles of paperbacks at hand, while dog-owners live down muddy lanes miles from the nearest bookshop? Or, may be, because the dog-owner walks his dogs too often and does not have spare time to read?
I move that the true reason for this is the fact that cat watching is far more pleasant than dog watching, even by way of photographs. Period! Even when such a cat is, like my Sebastian, completely out, lying in his furry unconscious in the Portable Home placed on the floor of the car next to my gearshift.
Now and then I almost caused an accident driving the middle of this night on a desolate Autoroute to the North – absorbed for a moment in his irresistible attractiveness.
As Radiohead is singing it:

You used to be all right.
What happened?
Did the cat get your tongue…?

Sierksma, Septembre/Octobre 2017 La Roche


You cannot grasp reality only by way of logic.

Dürrenmatt, The promise


Catalogic 4

The decision has been taken. From now on I ‘won’t serve my little cats their dinner in the left barn but in the middle shed where my garden tools are stacked away. The door of the second little barn on the right, in which my mountain bike and racing bike are stored and where there is small attic ideally suited for a kitten’s hide out, will have to be shored with a hard, dried branch of hazel wood from the tree I pruned last year. That door is so skewed that the gap between wood and stone is wide enough to allow two little ones access. Can’t be.

After a few days shuttling back and forth between their hangout and their feeding place they now know exactly when food is placed there. They also know that every day, once their food is ready, I sit myself at a distance so that they don’t risk being caught. Our sympathy is, for sure, still somewhat one-sided.

Tonight, however, I shall take a different approach. A second branch of the hazel tree is waiting next to my chair which, this time, I have placed somewhat closer to the left shed, their home. Once they have gone to the garden shed for their food I jump up, throw the door of that left barn shut and also trestle this one with a stick. Cheated you, Boys!
Immediately after my retreat they come out of their feeding place to inspect what has been going on, how I’ve tricked them. I had already installed nice blankets in the food shed to make them feel at home. What more could they want?

However, now it’s me being tricked by them. When, an hour later, I enter the courtyard with my own food and sit down at the table, I hear them scurrying inside the ridge of my préau – the attractive, skewed wooden hood which rises from the low wall separating courtyard and garden, allowing me to sit outside throughout year.


That support beam was hollowed out a long time ago by rats, wood biting insects and God knows what other vermin. The insects still return every summer, so in the end this préau will collapse. The previous owner planked up these holes with a few ornamental boards, between them however there are still slits large enough for my kittens. Not only have these two saved their own skin to relocate themselves there, they also seem to have taken their souls with them.

Migration and transmigration.

Before their departure into the wild outside of nature I need to catch those little devils, so I am now even further off from where I started. The moment I come near them they shoot up like crazy against the trunk of an acacia which I kept as a souvenir – and you never know what you can do with a piece of wood. That trunk is just visible on the left side of this photo.


Also visible are my two treasures. Especially in this spot they are enjoying life to the brim, sometimes they sleep here at night – until I come too close and they sprint upstairs. Admittedly the cat is a domesticated animal, but only in the sense that it defines its own housing and its own interior decoration. The cat never submits to someone else’s rules.
“The cat” as a New Yorker cat therapist put it delicately, “just is a cat.” The problem with this is that the cat from a human perspective is never a normal cat, one can act in a normal way. Despite all man’s cat-love there is forever an impenetrable incompatibility of the juices.

In his Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats the poet T. S. Eliot answered a lot of questions, but precisely not the one question which is invited by its title: Is the cat practical? In other words: Is there even one cat that is practical? From a human, from a humanitarian and thus from a utilitarian perspective I would say: ‘No!’

The cat is a nuisance per se, the cat is undeniably and always impractical. From the perspective of the cat this is of course completely different. Here the cat is eminently practical, always functioning in the most effective way to enjoy a dolce far niente, occasionally interspersed by an outrageous hyperactivity.

Now, from my past infatuations I remember one thing: Before you have any certainty about the reciprocity of feelings and you do not yet know whether The Other feels the same bout you, you better not know or even give her (or him) a name.
Nameless there is still a way out. Nothing is more binding than knowing the name, especially if you gave it yourself… Once the beloved has a name, it keeps swirling through the lover’s head.

So I made sure not to name my two sweety pies. In that case I would get attached to them for good and thus could not follow the instructions of my wife in Haarlem, as far letting them become Buzzard’ Feed in Nature.
But Love itself made me forget all good intentions; perhaps it was even Eliot who pulled me over. This is what he wrote in The Naming of Cats:

But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?

This then did me in. Given the uncertainty regarding their sex, headstrong I called them Abe and Sebastian. Nevertheless, there still had to happen something drastic in order to lure them from their wooden tent. Naming them, I had now also promoted them to the status of emigrant, something I mentioned in a telephone conversation with the distant homeland. For that coming exodus ties between me and my furry friends had to be tightened, so that finally I might cage them just before their long journey in autumn.

After the unforeseen migration into the beam of my préau what is surely needed now is regular domestication, that is one about which I have something to say. Domestication comes from the Latin domus, or house. Time has come that these two find out that what is involved here is their agreement with my definition of home, not my acceptance of their interpretation of the word domus.

Assimilate! – the order of the day.

Sierksma La Roche 1 August 2016