13 June 2008 | Vol. 8, No. 2
some pages from the book of Brussels
Suppose the night tasted like sugar and the streetlamps chimed the hour, would Flemish and French slang still matter? I was a little in love with you. The man scouring the Sunday market for vintage postcards. The child wailing after a drifting balloon. You made me forget how to count. But we danced flawlessly, our shadows spreading on the Belgian cobbles where tiny grasses grow in between.
Do I mention the countless cheap umbrellas I'd lost? You'll find them as collapsed skeletons on various café grounds. Never mind the pouring rain: they only caused ideas to shift askew, redirected towards the billowing smoke from a lady's Gauloises Blue.
How lovely, my darling, that you had marveled at my turned cheek. Crimson roses bloomed like bruises beneath my skin. Seven years ago I was simply too young. Moments were held in white lab coats, holiday breaks, crêperies and friteries. Someday, perhaps today, all of this will stretch into a life to converse with you.
Yesterday, the sound of my name made you sad. Did it evoke an image of a girl looking out of an airplane window? More likely, you will find me back in morning motions parading through the Parc Royale. Or you can try to make connections. You and I were together. You and your surreal architectures. Bonne Maman and I were together. My mice followed their biorhythms.
There is a tendency to identify and to identify with. For seven years I've put my roots into your molds until slabs of my name stood erect across your land. My presence in a place where I no longer exist. We'll dance again underneath the countless stars, in the hours between dusk and dawn. And yes, I'll tell you that they still write poetry in San Francisco.
About the author:
Cecilia Borromeo-Austin was born in Manila, studied in Brussels, and is now doing what she knows and loves in San Francisco.