Why, of all the places I’ve experienced  in Brussels, does Parc du Cinquantenaire with its Arc de Triomphe affect me the most? For, although I’ve seen and felt hundreds of sculptures, squares, gardens and monuments in the city, this one leaves the deepest mark.

The first time I found myself in this park in 2004, when I visited Belgium as a tourist, to see the various museums located in the area. Later on, when I was already living here, I started bringing to the park my friends who came to Brussels from many directions – North America, the Middle East, other parts of Europe – to end up ropewalking with me over the European Quarter.

Taken together, my memories now add up to a single, multifaceted poem – one that, like a Picasso painting, is all the more expressive for the disparate elements it contains.

This October, you can spot poetry on the fence of Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels. Catch poems on your daily run or walk in the park – and add some cultural exercise to your routine!

Trouble finding them? Turn to Avenue des Nerviens!

PS The following piece was written a few years ago when I ropewalked into one wonderful office to work near by Parc du Cinquantenaire and is dedicated to the park.

***

In front of

the Triumphal Arch,

near to Cinquantenaire Park,

the ropewalker

abandons the tight wire,

artfully debarks,

starting a silent glide

into the autumn, winter,

spring and summer

eyes

of the ephemeral

High Renaissance goddess.

The navigation, dimensions,

geography, the road lights

fade,

leaving the characters

in void,

in vacuum,

in front each other.

Minutes metamorphose

into kilometers

of words:

the tandem flies

higher and even higher,

their smiles, thoughts, disputes,

solitude à deux

push the city of Brussels

down –

the magic of aerodynamics.