Trawlers, by Alfian Sa’at

24 September 2012

Come election time
we would see those vans
crowned with loudspeakers
like wind vanes –

with a supply of their own
hot air. Their mission:
to catapult slogans in four directions
and four official languages.

No child throws stones at it.
And old women chew their curses
like betel leaves, tangy, unspat.
Woe be the motorist

trapped behind the hearse-crawl
of the harbingers of “good years”.
Who says that lightning
never strikes twice at the same spot?

Here it comes again:
not so much a van as a trawler,
casting huge nets, not subtle hooks;
the only way one catches mouthless fish.


It’s local election time here in Brussels. Many posters in windows of shops, cafes, houses, and on the municipal hoardings specially erected for the occasion. No trawlers as yet, though – and no evident sloganeering, so no opportunity to see how things change between Brussels’ two official languages, or its unofficial one to hook the expats. I believe somewhere else in the world people are preparing for an election as well…

[Read in One Fierce Hour by Alfian Sa’at. Ripped from]


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