You Go First
Love, adolescent insecurities, the pain of growing up. Kees Spiering writes about these themes without needing any big words. He simply records, showing that a small moment in a young life can be of great significance.
For example, when a son beats his father in a game of chess: ‘Tonight I defeated my dad. / We looked up from the game / faces like yoghurt, my head / as empty as a classroom in summertime. / His too, I think. […]’ Or he lends sensitive words to a sickness: ‘She’s as young / as me, but the word they gave her / is for strange grandpas.’ At the same time, Spiering is matterof- fact and can also downplay moments of great happiness: ‘Last night – I think – I finally really kissed.’
This rich collection brings together almost one hundred poems – and these are poems that are very intense. Spiering’s poetry touches the reader, but it does not always reveal its secrets immediately. As in an ambiguous elegy to a lost love: ‘I’d rather see / your eye sockets eaten out by hungry birds / than never see you again.’