LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs

LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs

LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs (Verenigde Staten) is schrijver, stem- en geluidskunstenaar. Ze publiceerde bundel TwERK (Belladonna, 2013) waarin ze de grenzen van taal en stijlen op een hybride manier aftast. Haar interdisciplinaire werk was te zien in het Brooklyn Museum, het Museum of Modern Art en het Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, op Poesiefestival Berlin en het internationale Poeziëfestival in Boekarest, in het Walker Art Center, op de 56e Biënnale van Venetië en in Beijing als Red Gate Artist in Residence. Als curator en artistiek directeur organiseerde ze evenementen in het BAM Café, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The David Rubenstein Atrium, The Highline, Poets House and El Museo del Barrio. Ze ontving verschillende prijzen en beurzen voor haar werk, waaronder de New York Foundation of the Arts,  de National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital en de Whiting Foundation Literary Award voor poëzie in 2016. Diggs woont en werkt in Harlem, New York.


Leeuwarden Alle citybooks



An unconventional citybook requires an unconvential approach... A pdf file does this citybook much more justice than a web display. Therefore, you will find the citybook in a basic layout displayed underneath accompanied by a link to the pdf file complete with the original layout and endnotes by LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs.

View pfd file with original layout & extra endnotes


v. to be, to exist. A owru de baka a doro. The machete is behind the door.

Den sortu bigi meti dati fu fosi no de moro.

Those big kinds of animals from the past do not exist anymore.


Sranan Tongo – English Dictionary



“Working across languages is a conundrum, especially for those of us who speak and write in the language of the empire. Our language perpetrates the invisibility of the other. Our language imposes the privilege of the same. Yet we translate into our language. We translate into our language to rewrite our language.”

A Manifesto for Ultratranslation, Antena



“I am black and white and pink and yellow.”

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry



Oompa Loompa


soy aquí new tongue. can you welcome this
gaze towards words unspoken by a cynical generation? dump
some luster of rulers. your labor deserves plaudits. of
pompeblêd never explained. just expected. yours
a root I may retain just the slurs. general blah blah is null. so
simply: we are bipedal but we be natural idiots. plainly, full
of ourselves; driven to control the oceans, the winds, adjectives. your
cheese is mean, friend. like pungent crunch. but we knew this. skin
fished & fry up. I thought it was the French to blame on mayo. a
deaf waitress serves/teaches me ‘espresso.’ a cashier denies me stamps. coat
the roofs w/ hert e ja e taal e mem. no volume raised though. so
who hears if unable to read? does this hand need be this heavy?

elaborate for me this thing about Frisian women. evidence of heavy
unfettered traits all leading to Famke Janssen. bad example? so …
ferhoalen ferhalen. the Dutch ‘g’ estou não meu compadre. relatives not. coat
of honey on Spain o Arawak o (insert African/Asian root here) well, then we duet. a
transfer of particles across ponds where escaped, we collage. my skin
code switch; longing tropics, it pales beside Waddenzee. your
oak thrives in sand as I digress to YouTube tutorials to catch di riddim. full
of joy. alas the shop for Clumpys is open from 12-5. the tallest in Europe eh? so
what about the Danes? hung like Grutte Pier? get yours
vertical ascents. damn your staircases. scalene, obtuse triangles of
of hell. misdirected retribution for fiending Vlisco. dump
more tea inna dey cup please. até mais moanna. my lessons are this.


Agehya – Zumbi

after Stanley Brouwn


o número total de minhas passos em     The Bronx

the total number of my steps in

watashi no suteppu no sōsū    Harlem

the total number of my steps in

el número total de mis pasos en    Helmond

the total number of my steps in

watashi no suteppu no sōsū    Nishi Ogikubo

the total number of my steps in

o número total de minhas passos em    North Carolina

the total number of my steps in

watashi no suteppu no sōsū    Okinawa

the total number of my steps in

el número total de mis pasos en     São Salvador de Bahia

the total number of my steps in

watashi no suteppu no sōsū    Taxco

the total number of my steps in

o número total de minhas passos em     Tsalagi

the total number of my steps con

watashi no suteppu no sōsū    Waddenzee

the total number of my steps in

el número total de mis trapus en     Ilè Yorùbá




para Titia y Petronella y M


let’s play a game. first step? wife or wet nurse?
heathered fragrance of breast milk or perfume?
whose ginger curlicue crushed shōguns. whom
is worth study? umeboshi kyōi. pursed
cheeks, flushed freckled, unsought laws crashed verse.
nutmeg. cooper. flecked hint of Marathy.
mamushi christened for baby daddy
exchanged façades on a fan shaped island.
oddities. neither skilled courtesan almonds
who receive clover, astrolabes, lacquer, cohi.
drops of bonyū sweet rice spectacled aijin,
did honor let the boy pick up Nihongo?
a single vase might have stored cane azijn,
cherries for the daughter. what for the Jawa-go?



cada panel tem a sua tampa


ai na ai

you muddy the Dutch as the brain fidgets between your first & likely fourth

what you share are Somalian relations scattered. Toronto, Minnesota, the UK.

near Sint Anthonystraat our hue makes we familiar.

makes we want to communicate.

separated by roots planted far from there & over there,

our ancestors never blasphemed.

thus, we are here. kanohi ki te kanohi


ai na ai

over kibbeling, migration did not require English or Frisian for you.

my effort is useless. three words in Dutch will have to do.

where about in China did you come from & are there any relatives in Flushing, Queens?

like you, do they scale and slice up fish in Harlem?

or are they somewhere in Africa dictating the landscape?

beside the canal, on a street lined with cheese shops,

pointless are the four tones. I am far from Feijiacun’s demolished markets.

we are far from hukou. we. migratory birds assimilated into the paragraph of law.


ai na ai

even the Vietnamese bánh bao is Dutch.

I hear no evidence of your parents.

that private voice ornate & clandestine

won’t be eavesdropped upon between customer service & food prep.


ai na ai

buying a tourist magnet, I find ones for Egypt beside them.

it would be a deal you mention. 5 euro instead of 25 as priced in Amsterdam

still, the curiosity: miniature windmills beside pyramids. busts of pharaohs, nautical joys

upon the Nile accommodating cows & flags. I ask you if there is a mosque

as I have visited the former Jewish school for children,

the protestant church where royals are entombed.

my reasons are simple:

where can I hear Arabic in Leeuwarden?


ai na ai

you break Dutch w/ pauses. praise our marvelous squishy cerebral cortex.

we dream in one language until we encounter another. these machines,

recall the first Thai word in order to answer mine in English.

we smile. then become universal. facial expressions for pain & relief.

pointing to areas on my back.

motioning ‘gentle’ towards the lumbar arc of my spine.


ai na ai

in the center of the city, the capital of Fryslân,

of the twelve provinces, the only one with its own

regional & recognized tongue,

I am stared back at blankly for ‘Tige tank.’

slave-free chocolate does not speak Frisian.






European Lowlands know how to control flood zones....
What is it that the USA doesn’t comprehend for controlling our Lowlands?




the sea once divided the earth. since abandoning the sand,

where monks drained moeras, claimed the sea & dredged her bed,

no one asked for her return.

to this the sea whispered eu só queria a noite.


insects & avocet fashion the coast

parcel out larva, microbes, oysters w/ the flocks

I gave low tides she surges against each dyke.


a papal declaration. was I not enough to worship?

the sum of a zealous 1493 inter caetera.

contained are faint hauntings inside the marsh. passed, the first reclamation


a frontiersmen’s belief of doctrine

that gospels for potatoes, doubts the intelligence

of octopi w/ three hearts & nine brains


hands could harvest seekraal & let the sea be

a second dyke made of peat & clay. moi. moai. mildly tame,

a swallow prays for safe passage mid-air while draughts are tackled below.


the sea tires from the holy trinity, the fourth dyke, a sealed inlet,

the ninth dam, the eighth canal. one’s survival exceeds

as another subside. preferring wheat & onions over currents


in time, the suffering is of little calamity. a curious brine pulled & pushed

upon necessity. polders asserted by rulers & why you stand here.

industry. how resourceful humanity the sea tells you. prachtig. how ûnfolslein





between 1880 and 1900, resulting from a farm crisis,

20,000 Frisians emigrated to the US…



ระยะทางจาก Bangkok, โมร็อกโก ถึง Leeuwarden คือ 9,089 km

masaafada u dhexeysa Marrakech, Morocco ilaa Leeuwarden waa 3,158.4 km

the distance from Marrakech, Morocco to Leeuwarden is 3,158.4 km


the distance from Cairo, Egypt to Leeuwarden is 5,266.8 km

khoảng cách từ thành phố Hồ Chí Minh đến Leeuwarden là 9.562 km

the distance from Ho Chi Minh City to Leeuwarden is 9,562 km


the distance from Bangkok Thailand to Leeuwarden is …

İstanbul'dan uzaklığı, Türkiye Leeuwarden 2,694,9 km

the distance from Istanbul, Turkey to Leeuwarden is 2,694.9 km


the distance from Somalia to Leeuwarden is 9,905.7 km

расстояние от Украины до Леувардена - 2114,9 км

the distance from Ukraine to Leeuwarden is 2,141.9 km


distance becomes distance



homing pigeons & croquette


in the book shop, there lives a stand of postcards. on the stand
there lives flags w/ seven red unidentified objects & coat of arms.
there lives photos of canals & cows & big black horses & a lopsided church tower.

sân raze shout zand maan moanne moon/month

prúste sneeze rêste rest


in the bookshop there is a counter & behind the counter are
postage stamps for the postcards. the relationship of the two
intrinsically linked to the history of communication.

stills, moving images of women & men delivering correspondence,
pre-bike messenger, dingy white duffle bags w/ drawstrings,
containers corroded bloated w/ kernals of episode.

letters so dense Mata Hari deserved a hardcover.
evidence in the requests for couches to crash, money, legal advice
or plain ole trippin’. entreats denied in letters. or bacon verse in reverse across waters
we are suffering. please come.

dûnsje dance kuierjes troll fuorje feed kjirmje groan rêste rest


the postcard. a brief report a hello a complaint a love you a miss you
a you’s a bitch I mean a kutwijf
a hufter a troela nah I’m joking lol smdh beijos …
cheaper than an envelope. smaller than a manila
a TMI public announcement
anyone on its passage could read it. the postcard wears a journey.
the finger prints burdened w/ its Mecca

the postcard wears São Salvador de Bahia, the postcard wears Cuba,
wears Slovensko,
the postcard wears Beijing, the postcard wears Dominican Republic, wears Japan,

the postcard wears Berlin, wears Phoenix Arizona, wears Romania

wears Ojo Caliente
the postcard wears Okinawa, the postcard wears Venice

the postcard wears Abu Dhabi.

in a bookstore, where postcards filled w/ letters & findings & drunk towers
& voyages awaiting newer expeditions readied w/ ink smudges,

la tienda no venderá los sellos.

language halts. dogmas a bitch. a kutwijf

erstwhile innovations drift into exploitation.

for the “gesture” of ease,

forfeit twice as much

or ditch endeavor all at once.

switch back to electronic. fuck it.

who writes anymore? hand script is so ballpoint.


old school. geriatric.


kluut seabird skíep sheep grêft canal

wolle want to wurde become ûntginne reclaim the prachtig beautiful


into piles of mail, sifted, assorted, placed in carrier bags & plastic containers; ubiquitous air mail
onto planes arrive in one place handed off to another sorted resorted into a mailbox a PO box
onto a fridge affixed w/ magnet magic tape thumb tacked to corkboard paper clipped
into a shoe box made into a mobile for a child’s first year the cheapest gift you can give
an affirmation:

you can fight this cancer. I’m thinking about you goddess. this place is a trip. I met this fine ass man. girl.

new words lose retention. slang slips inside a construction site, stumbling on low
indentations that designate road from sidewalk

the kind of home felt inside the African One Stop shop for all things

lace front satin head wrap

dried shrimp fufu plátano maduro frito palm oil spice

guided tour narratives & motives bala. entonces a blur…
the queen was so well loved but they did what to her skull?


kiivje quarrel with boadskip message azemje breathe

in plak place hâlde hold fleurich cheerful


curious tragic consequences
as the last Taushiro is a lonesome inebriated man
bamboozled by missionaries subsidized by oil companies to translate the bible.
en México the old man’s sole interest is his harvest of cacao
though Ayapaneco tiene muchas palabras y poco tiempo.

a postage stamp held hostage. void of ink stains,
finger smudges, blood stains from some accidental shooting of oneself,
of foot prints & lekkerbekje grease, the postcard assumes position of book marker.
some pretty momento.
no message. no further journey beyond purchase & journal.

the magic of babbling verbiage. how Oldehove slants.
& along the canals there are homes that mimic so.
a flash of Rembrandt’s statue & Frisian wife. sheep on alert beside swarte hoanne.
old windmills stilled by innovation. flickering, the story of one king
falling off a boat. how the whole mess of royals have Friesian ancestry.
how taking on French & Spanish names were trendy y la reina Máxima es Argentina.
a sapling for each royal & what she said about Dutch identity,
probably means blip cause Frisians ain’t Dutch

or Flemish.

these windmills extraterrestrial

engineered for heptapod hopscotch,

likely to confuse migratory birds

from Africa & South America.

here, they arrive

needing little from letters;

modified & sonic,

guttural & hefty.

one day there will be no stamps

& one day, there will be no words.


ôfstân wurdt ôfstân




Hotline Bling


o total número das minhas prèt stappen in


het total number of minhas dyomp’ati stappen in



o total número de mis trapus fanowdu in Frisian


skucha   bai ku mi

het totaal number of my divorsiá steps ini fesi dentro

Goo goo gaa gaa

het totaal number of mi nèchi steps dentro



o total número das minhas passos dorosei em Nihongo


bai ku mi  skucha

het totaal number of myn pina stappen te


o total número of mis krasi pasos binnen


Runa Simi


o total número de moi futu binnen
Te Reo Maori

skucha listen bai ku mi

het total number das minhas burachi stappen op ᏀᎳᎩ


the total number of my broko stupu con



habri pa mi open


dushi ring ring…





The mamushi is a type of venomous viper native to Japan. It’s species name – blomhoffii – was in honor of Jon Cock Blomhoff, a former director of the Dutch trading colony in Nagasaki, Japan during the 1800s.

Oompa Loompa

A double golden shovel, the poem is generated from the line “This dump of yours so full / your skin a coat so heavy” written by Tsead Bruinja

cada panel tem a sua tampa

Contains a line from the poem ouroboros written by Dean Bowen

Hukou is a system of household registration used in China that limits where a person is allowed to live and what resources (education, healthcare, etc.) are offered to them.

homing pigeons & croquette

Upon reading a New York Times article about the last Taushiro, the article mentions rather briefly the Summer Institute of Linguistics dedicated to translating the bible into every living language as a method for spreading Christianity. It also briefly mentions their funders, largely oil companies whose interests are the natural resources they wish to exploit.



Selected Glossary

agehya, woman (Cherokee)
ai na ai, face to face (Sranan Tongo)
até mais, (Portuguese)
aijin, mistress (Japanese)
azijn, vinegar (Dutch)
bai ku mi, go with me (Papiamentu)
bala, to confuse or to jumble (Hebrew)
beijos, kisses (Portuguese)
bonyū, mother’s milk; breast milk (Japanese)
broko stupu, broken steps (Sranan Tongo)
burachi, drunk (Papiamentu)
cada panel tem a sua tampa , every pot has its lid (Brazilian Portuguese)
cohi, coffee (Japanese)
Dejima, a man-made fan shape island off the coast of Nagasaki formally used as a trading post.
divorsiá, divorce (Portuguese)
dorosei, out (Sranan Tongo)
draughts, checkers board game (British)
dushi, sweetheart (Papiamentu)
dyomp’ati, nervous (Sranan Tongo)
eu só queria a noite, I only wanted the night (Portuguese)
fanowdu, necessary (Sranan Tongo)
ferhoalen, concealed (West Frisian)
ferhalen, stories (West Frisian)
frito, fried (Spanish)
hert, heart (West Frisian)
hoanne, rooster (West Frisian)
hufter, stupid (Dutch)
ini fesi, in front of… (Sranan Tongo)
Jawa-go, Javanese (Japanese)
kutwijf, bitch (Dutch)
kibbeling, fried battered codfish (Dutch)
kanohi ki te kanohi, face to face (Te Reo Maori)
krasi, hot (Sranan Tongo)
kyōi, threat (Japanese)
la tienda no venderá los sellos, the shop does not sell stamps (Spanish)
maduro, fried sweet plaintains (Spanish)
mem, mother (West Frisian)
moeras, swamps/marsh (Dutch / West Frisian)
moai, beautiful (West Frisian)
myn pina, needy (Sranan Tongo)
moi futu, beautiful steps (Sranan Tongo)
nèchi, beautiful (Papiamentu)
ôfstân wurdt ôfstân, distance becomes distance (West Frisian)
plátano, plantain
skucha, listen (Papiamentu)
soy aquí, I am here (Spanish)
superpotência, superpower (Portuguese)
swarte, black (Dutch)
taal, language (West Frisian/Dutch)
tige tank, thank you (West Frisian)
trapus, steps (Sranan Tongo)
ᏀᎳᎩ, tsalagi (Cherokee)
umeboshi, dried plum (Japanese)
ûnfolslein, incomplete; unfinished (West Frisian)
zumbi, leader of maroon settlements commonly known in Brazil as quilombos.




This is not complete. This will never be complete because within this version, there are rivers & estuaries that link to places I’ve visited & come to understand as a larger conversation. Here, through a number of procedures, I’ve begun something.

…as the late Louis Reyes Rivera would say, a scattering of scriptures.
…or as John Keene would point out, a counter narrative.
…and as Lisa Linn Kanae might say, a searching for the root of one’s tongues

Muito obrigado to Willem Bongers-Dek & everyone at Huis deBuren / citybooks. Many warm thanks to Perdu, Linda Veldman, Obe Alkema, Peter, Bram Giebels (Brrrram!) & Dean Bowen (meu Vlisco ride o die). Danke u wel Sito for the sea among many tings. Your humor is twisted Señor Batsk. To Laurens, Nina, Harry & the students of Minerva Academie voor Popcultuur, thank you for your questions & your openness to teach me the difference between sand & clay & oak.

& to my host and guide of Leeuwarden, Marleen Nagtegaal of Explore the North, muchisimas gracias for being so gracious, so helpful & so remarkably patient with my curiosities, frustrations & silly humor.

There are many names that are escaping me, but I hold your faces in my memory.
May we meet again on this adventure.


Aroha mai aroha atu. Love is received. Love is given.







LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs schreef over Leeuwarden de reeks gedichten THOUgHT spoRtS waarin ze de grenzen van de taal aftast. De Nederlandse komt binnenkort online als  tekst en is nu al te beluisteren, de Friese vertaling zal begin 2020 klaar zijn, het Engelse origineel is al online te vinden.


Vertaald uit het Engels door Samuel Vriezen

Podcast voorgelezen door Babs Gons