poems by Felipe Rodolfo Hendriksen

Ode on a Photo Taken Somewhere Around December 2008


A moment frozen in eternity,

A picture I’m sure no one remembers

But me.

A frame, a slice, a moment

Of a life that was never fulfilling

But wasn’t so bad at the time.

A still image drawn by Someone above,

Someone who knew

The occasion was going to mean something in the future.


Maybe it’s lost,

But I hope it survives

In some secret Facebook profile

Or a hidden flash drive, somewhere.

Maybe even in a CD,

Because that was the time of CDs,

Because I’m that old,

Because I’m hoping

She felt it was important to save the picture,

Not all pictures but that one,

The one she’s with me,

Awkwardly hugging,

The one I’m wearing a weird hat,

Those hipster, brown, Marxist hats

Only street artists wear.


It’s been years since I last saw that picture

And I’m hating myself now,

Because I didn’t print it

And now I can’t put it on a frame

With the other two we have together,

When we were too young to know

We didn’t like each other.


It was a weird time,

The one immortalized,

Because boys that age are shorter than girls,

12-year-old girls are too tall.

So she’s towering over me,

A symbol of what would come,

An allegory of what she was going to mean to me,

A metaphor of my future relationship with her,

Her making me feel minuscule

And fat,

Extremely fat,

And also ugly, and maybe too dark-skinned,

And poorly dressed.

Because she’s wearing sunglasses and a beanie,

And her breast is not as flat as it was the year prior,

And that’s starting to trouble me,

Because girls are becoming something different,

And I can’t face different,

Maybe I can’t stand different,

And my face in that picture shows

That everything’s changing

And I’m not having it.


And we’re both smiling:

She, because she’s becoming a beautiful woman and she knows it;

Me? I don’t know why the fuck I’m smiling,

Because life’s about to become real hard

And I should’ve known it.


In the end, it’s just a photo,

An old, forgotten photo

She definitely doesn’t remember

And that I had also forgotten

Until now.

And that’s really unfortunate,

Because from now on

I’ll always have it in my head,

Even if I know,

Deep down,

That she doesn’t deserve my attention anymore.


Why bother at all? Are we even the same people, after all these years?






Everyone said,

When she invited me to her House,

That she wanted to fuck me,

But I knew she’s not like that,

Or maybe she is,

But not with me,

Never with me.


Someone like me could never be

With someone like her,

But I still stupidly bought condoms,

Some random type,

The white ones that kill the sperm

Or something like that

(Aren’t they all the same?).

The last time I had to buy some of those

I was younger and thinner and smaller

And had a girlfriend who loved me.


It was raining, of course,

Like in every Fincher movie.

I didn’t have an umbrella,

So someone from the Opus Dei gave me one,

A very religious guy

Who would die if he had known

I was planning to get laid

With a girl I had only seen through a screen.


And I’m not that kind of guy,

I swear.

I’m not your usual Latin American douche,

Who thinks that every girl that talks to him

Only wants to suck his dick.

But sometimes you trust the wrong guys

And let yourself go,

And start thinking like them

And end up wearing jeans and boots,

Because no one gets laid in joggers and sneakers.


So I get there,

Without nicotine in my veins,

Because I didn’t want to smoke before the…

Before whatever would happen happened.

And I’m positive there’s one word,

One fucking word, just one,

What would make me worthy of a kiss

Or something more,

But I don’t know that word,

And I think I’m better off not knowing it.


She hadn’t told me what floor she lived in,

So I’m waiting there,

And it’s poring now,

And my college stuff is getting wet,

Little droplets stab my papers and smear my ink.


And I’m starting to get a little anxious,

I haven’t seen a naked woman in a year and a half.

And she finally talks to me through the intercom,

And her voice is as sweet as I figured it would be,

And she remotely opens the door,

And I walk up the stairs,

And there’s this man that comes out of nowhere,

A security guy who looks like Steve Buscemi.

And by his looks

And my looks

I’m sure he thought I’m a delinquent,

But  I shrug it off and keep going upstairs.


I’m in the second floor now

And it’s so humble it breaks my heart.

And there’s music coming from somewhere,

Snobby French music,

And I know it’s her who’s listening to it.

And I’m a bit lost,

Because I’m stupid and my heart is not pumping the right way,

So she has to open the door to meet me halfway,

Standing there,




But I know she doesn’t care,

I know she sees through me,

Past me,

Like poets do.


The first thing I notice,

Of course,

Is that she’s not wearing a bra,

And the 15 year old in me wants to scream and shout.

And we’re supposed to study,

But she’s having some boring lunch,

Something I know well,

A vegetarian stupidity,

Because of course she’s a vegetarian,

Like I was before I stopped caring.


We don’t study right away,

We talk instead,

About nothing and everything,

About her tattoos, that I respect

Because they’re not meaningless

(She lets me touch one of them,

So I do,

And she has hair growing there,

But it doesn’t gross me out like it should),

About the boy she likes,

A boy that could be me

If I grew out a moustache

And read more poetry

But isn’t,

Because it’s never me.

And that’s when I realize

We won’t fuck,

And I’m relieved in a way

And weirdly glad,

Because I’m losing a one night stand

But I’m gaining a friend,

A good one.


We’re not similar,

We’re not alike,

But she opened her heart to me

And I made her laugh.

Maybe we like some of the same authors

(Borges, Buzzati),

But I don’t love poetry like she does,

And I think La La Land is better than Moonlight,

And Cortázar is not so great in my opinion,

But she doesn’t seem to care

And me neither,

Because there’s something more powerful uniting us,

Something I can’t quite put my finger on,

But something I’m sure exists,

Even if it shouldn’t.




As I walk the steps I had walked

I started wondering how long it will take

For her to abhor me like all the rest

And abandon me forever,

But then the rain stopped,

And as the sun appeared once again

I saw a blue butterfly setting on a white jasmine,

And that’s when I knew for sure,

Like one knows things in dreams,

That se and I will be fine,

Even if nothing happens

And we never see each other again.






So you want to become a tarot reader

And throw cards at strangers?

I won’t laugh, I promise:

I’d never laugh at you.


You want to drop out from law school

On your last year

And become a psychologist?

That’s okay, you do you.

I won’t judge you,

I’d never pass judgement on you.


You don’t know what to do with your life?

Me neither.

Actually, I’m more lost than you.

I know it doesn’t seem like it,

But we’re both adrift,

And I’d love to share the ride with you.


I wonder if you’ll ever be a mother.

I always thought that would be out of character.

But people change,

And you’re not 16 anymore.

So maybe you’d like to have a child eventually.

I know I don’t,

But who cares about me?


I can’t picture you married

Or really in love with a man,

An adult.

I know you had many boyfriends,

But the ring changes everything.

I wouldn’t like to see you walk down the aisle,

All in white,

Petals on the carpet,

The groom waiting for you,

Hotter than me,



With a bigger dick.

But I don’t have to worry about it:

You’d never invite me anyways.


Will you ever have wrinkles or white hair?

I don’t want to see that.

It’s not that I wouldn’t love your old you,

But to me you’ll always be 16,

And maybe that’s sick,

It’s definitely sick,

Because one day I’ll be too old,

And the thing will turn from cute to creepy.

Probably that day has come already,

But I’m only 24,

So maybe I shouldn’t worry too much.



Dead? You? No.

You cannot die.

At least not before me.

I’d hate to go to the funeral,

Full of strangers you loved more than me

Weeping for a woman only I really knew.

Besides, I’d have to visit you constantly,

And even I can tell that’s creepy.


2020 is ending and I don’t know

If you’re happy or sad,

Dead or alive,

Alone or engaged.


2021 is approaching.

Will anything change at all?

poems by Felipe Rodolfo Hendriksen

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