1. The Whole Concept of Weight

she passed away on a Sunday
her father found her on the kitchen floor
a spoon in her hand
she had been eating raspberries
and the funny thing was, there was a pizza in the oven
how sadly ironic for a lady who spent half her life
trying to eat as little as possible
when we were having tea in the hospital
she stared out the window
and she told me she saw death 
as the culmination of her illness
she was always trying to lose more weight
and in the end she transcended 
the whole concept of weight

2. How Sad Does a Woman Get? Part I

just tea and toast, a glass of orange juice
and off into the world
a game of chess with one of the old men
who gather in the park
some nights she hopes to meet those many friends
the ones she never met before
but when she sees the people dance and sing
she knows she’ll never fit
how sad does a woman get?
all the willows ask her
how sad does a woman get?
all the swallows ask her
how sad does a woman get?
and she knows the answer

out in the streets without a place to go
her thoughts are calm at last
she rides her bike along the riverside
to watch the sun go down
when things get rough she gazes at the clock
until her little room gets dark
she goes to bed and keeps the curtains open
so she can see the moon

how sad does a woman get?
all the willows ask her
how sad does a woman get?
all the swallows ask her
how sad does a woman get?
and she knows the answer
she sees it in the mirror
that’s how sad a woman gets

3. Another Life, Another Body


4. How Sad Does a Woman Get? Part II

how sad does a woman get? 

5. Throwing Your Arms Around Thin Air

hey man, it’s me, I thought I’d give you a call to see how that job interview went but I guess you can’t pick up your phone right now, so how are things going? you know I’ve been thinking a lot about you and I was wondering: you think you could drop by anytime soon? because I really need to feel the tight grip of somebody’s hand, I mean around here everybody handles me like I’m Mona Lisa, and the weeks are just one endless plain of boredom, the food is terrible, and… well you know, you catch my drift, main problem is there isn’t much to do around here except for lying in my bed but most of the time I’m too tired to even read a magazine, let alone a book, halfway through the article I just fall asleep, so what’s a lady gotta do? and I’m getting so fed up with my neighbor Joanne, she’s in the bed right next to me, because she still thinks she has to lie to me about how horrible I look, I mean, would you believe that, right? and then she tells me all these boring stories about her job in finances or whatever the fuck she’s in, and I’m like look at me, do I look like I care?

you know what? I’m gonna tell you what I dreamed last night, maybe you can tell me what it means (next time you’re here, anyway) I dreamed I woke up in the middle of the night and the entire hospital was abandoned, there was no one here and when I got out of bed my feet wouldn’t touch the floor, I just levitated like 10 inches up in the air, so I sort of started floating through the hallways, heading straight for the staircase of course, descending nine floors or something and following these red arrows across the floor right out of the exit of the building, man, I can’t tell you how good that felt, yeah, I can already hear you saying to me that wouldn’t be very clever and everything, but hey man, fuck you, I mean if you’re such a bigmouth why don’t you take me out of here?

anyway, you see, as I glided across the parking lot I saw my doctor, who was getting out of his car even though it was the middle of the night and when he saw me coming towards him he just stood there and he waved and shouted: ‘if you really want to fly you need to lose half of your bodyweight’ you know, that's what he said, so even before he finished his sentence I picked my nose and shot away a booger and I just whizzed away like a rocket into the night sky, man, you should’ve seen me, slowly vanishing from view, and way above me, way up high I could see this gigantic cloud, and I knew I was gonna pierce it, I was gonna go right through that cloud and I just felt all my tissue falling away from me as I went higher and higher, I guess I sort of fell apart you know, I left the earth behind me, and with that my body sort of withered away, that’s when I woke up
do you remember when you asked me about my childhood, and about how this whole thing started? I didn’t want to answer that question at the time
but tonight I’ve actually prepared something of an answer for you, and I guess really that’s why I called, so sit down and get ready 'cause this might sound really weird, you see, I think the best way to put it is to say that there’s this girl I know, whom you couldn’t possibly know because only I can see her, as in she’s not a real girl but a part of me, like with one of those recursive Russian dolls with the same dolls inside of them, but just slightly smaller, well, I’m built like that, except on the outside I look like a skeleton while on the inside I carry around a big fat twin sister, the first time I saw her was on the night before my thirteenth birthday, I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom and suddenly she was standing there, wearing my baby blue pyjamas with the clowns and ponies and I thought: how come I recognize her only now? and then I remembered: it was something a boy at school had mentioned to me a couple of days earlier, he’d said that I had a face like the back of a truck, well, I’d never noticed this particular resemblance myself but standing in front of my own portrait by the pale light of the bathroom lamp, I understood that he was right: protruding cheekbones and a masculine jawline, a gargantuan forehead and a right-angled chin, and why did I have such stocky shoulders, why couldn’t I be graceful? a pang of embarrassment struck me so powerfully that I had to look away and while I stood there, focusing on the mixture of toothpaste and saliva running down the drain, I realized right there and then that my life had changed forever
look at me
I’m losing all my hair
there’s no more water in my bones that I could cry

look at me
I’m too weak to climb the stairs
won’t you please just hold me?

but be careful 'cause I’m thinner 
than the contacts on my eyes
hold me… 
will you promise to come and see me?
I mean I don’t want to keep you from going anywhere
but if you have the time
anyway, I gotta go
oh and do call back

6. Bed of Cobweb

sunlight on a distant mountain


wineglass rolling off a table


woman sleeping 

on a bed of cobweb


raven landing on her belly


drizzle landing on a book page

horses running through the snowfall

to a cradle

7. Angels Don't Eat

after the ceremony everybody went outside 

your little brother directed us to the parking lot

where your sweet parents stood wiping their eyes 

and handing out silvers balloons filled with helium

we held them up high in the air

and at the count of three everybody let go

and I remember thinking:


just to be an angel

wasn’t that your one desire?

angels are light

that’s how they fly

just to have no body

nor the things that it requires

angels don’t eat

now I see why 


most people turned around and went back inside 

to line up at the bar for a cup of coffee

but I wanted to make sure 
you bet I wanted to make sure 

I kept my eyes on you for as long as possible

and when you were almost too high

to distinguish you from the clouds

I remember thinking:


just to be an angel

wasn’t that your one desire?

angels are thin

that’s how they fly

and I guess I see it now

as I watch you climbing higher

angels don’t eat

that’s why they die 


yes, you did it babe

yes, you really did it babe


8. A Ghost Ship


All lyrics ©2019 T.M. van der Zwan