Poetry The Filth issue

[I who am highly homosexual…]

By Hans Lodeizen

Translated from the Dutch by Emma Rault
Acrylic painting by Hernan Bas. A waifish brunette boy stands on a boardwalk above a swamp. It’s dusk and the sky is glowing a brilliant magenta. Leaves are swirling at the boys feet. He is holding up a transparent umbrella, which also has a transparent netting attachment that extends down to his feet. He looks at ease, with one hand in his pocket, but also lost in thought.
Hernan Bas, How best to suffer swamp life at dusk, 2020, acrylic on linen, 9 x 7’. © 2020 Silvia Ros. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin.

I who am highly homosexual
(Or so they say) will show
What truly is natural
And live like a hand caressing
The water in a bathtub.

Because who cares if I’m good
Or evil as long as
I can give everyone my wrist
And say feel this, I’m alive.

If I can be the small
Thunder with the
Hidden bolts of lightning
That send the swimmers running
From the beach to the guesthouse —
It is five o’clock in the afternoon.

If I can be the satin
Between the symbols
Of skyscrapers
A wise smile that says
Better than not yet is
Not ever.
If I can greet the rain
In his car

If I can wash myself
In the shower
If I can say
I am Hans Lodeizen good
Or evil I am in love
Without blushing a cherry orchard
For all the people.


To read this poem in Dutch, click here.
Hans Lodeizen was a poet from Naarden, Netherlands. Born in 1924, he published one poetry collection, The Wallpaper Within, before dying of leukemia at the age of twenty-six. He is remembered as a “pioneering gay exponent of postwar experimentalism.”
Emma Rault is a writer and translator originally from the Netherlands who lives in Los Angeles, California. Her work has appeared in Guernica, Literary Hub, Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. Her most recent book-length translation is of Hanna Bervoets’s We Had to Remove This Post.