Here Again
Jan 2021

A call comes from Unknown Number.

The fourth call I have with the bureau regarding my rights to health insurance. The third correspondence I have with the same lady (after previous calls and correspondence with three different people).

You have sent relevant information, she said, now I would like to ask you a few more questions.

Did you have the intention to stay in the Netherlands or are you unable to leave because of corona?

Can you renew your permit?

When is your lease due?

Oh — your partner, do you mean, your housemate or your —

Do you live together?

Her tone is indifferent.

I try to locate where the violence comes from.

Either I cannot take out one insurance or I cannot take out the other insurance. Both accept my monthly payment willingly. Both could reject my claims should I become ill.

My file confuses the system, but my money doesn’t.

(Gladly, the tax office — after my written objection — has decided to refund me what they deem I deserve.)

A few hours later I hear back from my lawyer.

For my next permit, the first thing the immigration office asks for:

proof of your health insurance


three days ago there was a riot near my house

burning motocycle

shattered shop windows

smoke-filled air

among loud & angry chatters

I fell asleep

I fell asleep

after saying “I love you, good night”

& hearing “good night, I love you”


When I cannot breathe, I think of all the times that I can.

I think of great love, great sea, great light.

And I can breathe again.

And I am here again.