As a city
reflects back upon
its citizens,

an image
of
everything

so seemingly
needed

and
need not
be

but still
so
unaware

oblivious that
we
just are.

Haarlemtown ik zit dwars in mijn gevoel for you, sitting sideways in my stool behind my desk on the Doelstraat, in the middle but removed from you, dreaming away my daze in my Irrational Library ways, sometimes wondering do I still love you Haarlemtown or heb ik nu en hekel pest on you Haarlemtwon.  After 18 years being here, present together with you myHaarlemtown I have begun to feel that our relationship once so intimate is now a bit distant Haarlemtown. Living together but apart in Haarlemtown. I am lucky to know so many of the people who make up Haarlemtown but what is it that I actually know about so much of Haarlemtown.
From behind the Irrational Library shop window on the Doelstraat I watch you walk on by Haarlemtown,
Haarlemtown our quiet and content conformist cultuurstad
Haarlemtown and its bloated idea of being a bloemenstad
A white washed overpriced this could be anywhere
this could be everywhere winkelstad
A 2ndhand vulture vinylstad
An overcrowded AirBnB and boutique hotel stad
A sugarcoated Popstad
A Jazz en more of what? stad
Haarlemtown a schizophrenic used and abused
whore of a stad.
Haarlemtown, a four star city with a 5 star zelfbeeld, stad.

Haarlemtown
A city full of white washed lifestyle winkels
crawling with pussy whipped soft cock male shoppers buying
uncharachteristic cadeau’s for domineering dames
hordes of dead eyed consumers from Heemstede and Aardenhout
stumbling zombie like down the Grote Houtstraat
spilling out into the Grotemarkt in Haarlemtown.

Haarlemtown – Sushi city on the Spaarne.
The Thrill Grill leaves this burger non-pulsed, feeling that he is better off by the Wolfhound for a good hamburger or fish and chips in Haarlemtown.
Haarlemtown- from the Nieuwe Gracht to the Ridderstraat plenty of ways to expand ones broekmaat eating crepes longs the Koningstraat in Haarlemtown.
Haarlemtown how many espresso bars  do we need to keep all these burgers buzzing like over caffeinatted muggen in Haarlemtown.
Haarlemtown –where financial cutbacks in the healthcare of headcases housed in the psychatric instellingen ‘round Haaarlemtown, keep the police running around like kippen zonder kop looking after all the crazy’s roaming around in Haarlemtown.
It is all cause and effect here in Haarlemtown.
What the fuck no more free parking on Sundays in Haarlemtown.
Bring back the Sunday rest in Haarlemtown.

Are you born and raised in Haarlemtown?, it will be a miracle if you can one day afford to buy a house and raise your own family here in Haarlemtown.

Haarlemtown – nieuwbouw cash cow – every vacant lot eaten up by developers rolling around like pigs in slop all over Haarlemtown.
Haarlemtown, Mara and I wondering if we should cash in and get out of the Leidsebuurt before the real estate bubble bursts in Haarlemtown – the sale of rijtjeshuisen with jacked up prices scooped up by makellars to be resold, it’s almost as if the cobblestone streets of the Leidsebuurt were filled with fools gold in Haarlemtown.
Haarlemtown, – all the character of the old school neighborhoods almost gone – in Haarlemtown.
No more butcher, no more baker, no more patatje oorlog maker in the buurt in Haarlemtown.
Mario and his Om and his Tante, giving up shop, what a guilty pleasure to have a good snack bar just down the block.
The Happy Snacks and Het Pleintje too, we the lazy in the Leidsebuurt will deeply miss you, and we thank you for all your comfort and care and all that deep fried food.
Haarlemtown, the Koepel reopened as a creative center for the all the overachieving ondeneemers in Haarlemtown a hip catering tent for the higher education of the hoogschool here in Haarlemtown.
Haarlemtown – who would have ever thought that Haarlem North would one day be the place to be in Haarlemtown.
Haarlemtown – the Slachthuis Buurt wort het new Brooklyn in Haarlemtown
Hey guess what, Facebook just told me that IJmuiden is one day going to be the new Haarlem instead of Haarlemtown.
Haarlemtown, where its inwoners are more open to  an influx of Syrian immigrants than the caravan of gelukseeking advertising yuppies migrating in from Amsterdam.
Stop calling the 5hoek the fucking new-Jordaan,
Hannes Kuiper, Johnny the 5-hoeker, one of the true burgervaders of Haarlemtown.

Haarlemtown, I ramble on in my mixed taal, my love for you still strong but frustrated in dit geval.
For I am a born again Haarlemmer
whose replanted new york roots
have grown wilder than weeds
under my broken down boots here in Haarlemtown.
and yet I am unsure of how I should feel
about the increasing number of expats with Dutch spouses
buying up all the houses and voorplanting
their seeds here in Haarlemtown.

All these american and british techheads
fleeing Trump or Brexit, a new silicon valley in Haarlemtown.
I liked it better in when
it seemed like I was one of the few degenerate
Americans hiding out and starting over
with a new life and a Dutch wife here in Haarlemtown.

Haarlemtown fuck the ready made and store bought
Do It Yourself in Haarlemtown.
The Mad Daddy’s Barbers keeping the Haarlemtwon men and boys
handsome enough for the ladies to enjoy.
Geertruida records still independent and eigenwijze,  standing behind bands that most Gitaarlameers will never have a chance to dislike in Haarlemtown.

The Slachthuis our new home for the musical homegrown spirit in the zo benoemde Popstad that is Haarlemtown,
Haarlem Popscene giving the young bands a chance to shine in dark bars before drunk Haarlemers in Haarlemtown,
Phil and Fay – patron saints to the Popscene and the Poets of Haarlemtowns Underground in the the fantastic pub that is the Wolfhound, in Haarlemtown
The Jan & Piet Museum, the final remanants of De Fietsznfabriek still keeping an eccentric eye open and upon Haarlemtown.
Flinty’s jongerencentrum still giving the kids and immigrants a place to kick back and feel welcome and safe in Haarlemtown.
At Bevridingspop Haarlemtown I see you partying non-stop, getting up to get down, dancing and blowing, imagining that to you are truly free to be in Haarlemtown,
Where it is easier to get your hearing checked then to file an aangifte without having an appointment at the Koudehorn in Haarlemtown.
The Houtfestival, where Haarlemers celebrate the true meaning of vrijheid not on the 5th of May but every year on Fathersday in Haarlemtown.
The Patronaat, even though I never really go out anymore, still my home away from home in Haarlemtown.
The Badhuis Leidsebuurt a lovely place for the buren to meet, with its mixed bag of volunteers, a warm bath of charm in Haarlemtown just down my street.
Haarlemtown, Beermeester Alphenaar tending bar in Lokaal, sorry I still miss the Briljante, where I first fell in love in Haarlemtown.
Haarlemtown my hat off to all my beloved creative cultural instigators in Haarlemtown.
My man of faith, Stads Dominee Tom de Haan leading the Monday morning meditation in the St. Bavo kerk in the middle of all the garbage truck ruckus on the oude groenmarkt in Haarlemtown
Haerlems Boedem, Begane Grond, 37 PK, Nieuwe Vide, keeping culture fresh in Haarlemtown. Jaap Lampe doing his best with the old and the new school of theater in Haarlemtown.
Haarlemtown, in the winter I long for your summer vibe.  All of the freaks, geeks and weirdos chilling in the Hout at the Parksessies, we are all part of the same tribe.

And sometimes I do forget to just stop and look around in Haarlemtown.
Willemien Spook, Stadsdichter once told me that you gotta look up and not down to see the beauty of the architecture in Haarlemtown. Haarlemtown, whatever happened to our underground?
Haarlemtown, the more crowded you get,
the more I wonder if I will always
want to stick around in here Haarlemtown.
For a person like myself needs some space
to be able to create my own pace here in Haarlemtown,
the wife and I still dreaming of a piece of vrijstandland in Haarlemtown. Yeah, you gotta keep the dream alive in Haarlemtown.

So, let me say this just one more time to you Haarlemtown,
Haarlemtown,
I love ya and I hate ya
but as always
I wanna thank ya
for allowing me and The Irrational Library
to build a home here amongst ya
and for rubbing off on me as much
as I have been rubbing them out
all over you
for the last 18 years.

Leer hier Joshua laatste column.

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