Henry Denander

Poems and Paintings

My Funny Valentine

The first flat of my own in Stockholm was
really small but in a nice area on one of
the islands south of the old town.

My girlfriend often stayed with me,
since her own flat was way out
in the suburbs.

The two of us never rang the
doorbell but used
the squeaking mail slot in the door;
when it was opened slowly it made a sound that
could be heard in the flat
and made you rush to the door.
You knew who was there.

Years later, we have been
married for some time,
having dinner in our new flat
listening to a recording of
Miles Davis
playing at Philharmonic Hall in New York
in 1964.

My Funny Valentine

Suddenly, half way into the song,
we both look up and listen,
Miles Davis is improvising and
playing a
the exact
of that
squeaking mail slot

We smile
and feel proud
to share
this small secret
with Miles.

At the racetrack –

On eBay I bought four whisky glasses from
Santa Anita Park; this was Charles Bukowski’s
favorite race track and he spent a lot of time there.

I’ve never betted on the horses myself but there was
a race track close to our summer house in Sweden
and I went there when I was a kid.

I never really liked to watch the horses run but
I came to see my uncle Allan who was a
regular at the track. I liked him a lot and he
always gave me money for ice cream,
so even without betting I came out ahead.

And now, 45 years later, here I am
with my large Santa Anita whisky tumbler
with the engraved horses and jockeys,
a couple of ice cubes and a large splash
of Glenlivet whisky.

Maybe I’m slowly
beginning to understand
the art of horseracing
after all.


Hydra Port Scene

Henry’s view –

Henry Miller passed the island of Poros on his way to
Hydra in 1939 and from the boat he could see straight
into the houses of the Greek families.

Over the years I have always looked at the port of
Poros from the ferryboat trying to catch this view and
today, coming really close to land I suddenly saw the
three story house with the big balcony doors and at
the far end of the big room I saw an old woman on a
chair looking out at the ship.

Here it was at last, the view from The Colossus of
Maroussi: the boat sailing through the streets of
Poros, the old house, the big room and it could be the
same woman now 64 years older.

Maybe she was looking for Henry the same way
I was looking for her.


from Greece paintings

Mr. Gadget –

After four weeks in Greece I have bought:

- eight bottles of the Mythos beer I seldom drink (to get the
Mythos labeled freezer bag for the beach)

- more Nescafe than we can use (to get the baseball cap with
the Nescafe logo)

- Karavaki soap to last one year (to get the white bag with
the logo)

- a twelve-pack of biscuits (to get the sun hat with the
Papadopolous logo)

- a twelve-pack of Scotch-Brite (to get the small kitchen
clock with the Scotch-Brite logo)

When I was holding the two liter bottle of a shampoo we
would never touch, studying the football with the large
logo, my seven-year old son looked at me and told me not
to buy any more “geek stuff”.

I followed his advice but I’ll remember this when he
wants to buy a new box of Cheerios just to get
one more stupid plastic straw.

Mr. J.C.

John William Coltrane died
of liver failure,
on July 17, 1967.

Four days later
Albert Ayler played at
his funeral at St. Peter’s
Lutheran Church in New York.

And in Oslo they
were marching
down Karl Johan,
protesting against
his death.

Henry Denander is a poet and painter living in Stockholm, Sweden.

Website: henrydenander.com