THE FOLLOWING SCAN WILL LAST FIVE MINUTES
Before you sink away into the morphinesweet unreality of the everyday we would like to say something about those spasms and fasciculations of yours as well as that bump on your back For years you have no doubt been googling every freckle. Just recently you were at the doctor’s with a patch of dry skin on your leg Diagnosis: too much shower gel But on hearing the word chondrosarcoma you went home and immediately unplugged your router Do you know where your priorities lie? Do you know what life has to offer or did those endless therapy sessions and that eight-week mindfulness course simply teach you how to tolerate suffering that every signal in your body can be temporarily expelled to the rhythm of some breathing exercise? Let the pain be To be free is to be free of need Wrong To be free is to need some fresh air and to be able to get up and go outside Don’t say we didn’t warn you
These are strange times, unstable times. Seasons change, but never turn into holidays. You coexist with other bodies that piss, dribble, rant, shit. All the while a choir in a minor key softly screaming, Your body is sick, but you will heal, this will fade. You’ll lie in the grass, stiller, thinner, receive visitors looking fashionably underweight. Cancer has no calendar, so be patient. Evaporate, condensate. Even disasters are composites of events, not products of fate. You just have to distill, then ablate: You will heal. This will fade.
By Lieke Marsman
Translated by Sophie Collins
From THE FOLLOWING SCAN WILL LAST FIVE MINUTES
Published by Liverpool University Press (2019)
By permission of Liverpool University Press. This collection can be purchased via the following link.
Buy this title through the European Literature Network’s The Dutch Riveter bookshop.org page.
Lieke Marsman, an Amsterdam-based poet and author, is one of the leading new voices in Dutch literature. After winning a cluster of prizes for her 2010 poetry debut, Wat ik mijzelf graag voorhoud (‘Things I Tell Myself’), she has since published two further poetry collections and a novel. Her latest poetry collection, The Following Scan Will Last Five Minutes, was released in English translation in 2019, and her novel Het tegenovergestelde van een mens (‘The Opposite of a Person’, 2017) is currently being translated into English for Daunt Books.
Sophie Collins is an Edinburgh-based poet, editor and translator, who grew up in Bergen. Her first full poetry collection Who is Mary Sue? was a PBS Spring 2018 Choice and won the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize in 2019. Her translation of Lieke Marsman’s The Following Scan Will Last Five Minutes was published by Liverpool University Press in 2019.