Berlin, Berlout

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August 2, 2013 by anelim

Here is my post scriptum to Berlin. An early version of the first half is here.

I.

Today I land.

I drag my suitcase
Along your wessie cobbled streets
And ossie rusty tramlines.
Entschuldigung, the Wall is where?

I follow maps that lose me more than walking blind,
I pacman through the printed google route
Towards my future home,
I clutch my wallet.
The street signs wave their hands,
Catcalling me in their husky foreign language.
The U-Bahn has too many rabbitholes.

Tomorrow, you will sell my fears
For fifty cents on one of your flea markets.
I’ll roam your parks and raid your bookstores,
My lens will snatch your patient concrete boulevards,
Your burly essence.
You’ll let me think I know it all,
You’ll let me think I live here.

A month from now, I’ll have forgotten the novelty of your caresses;
I’ll build myself a makeshift foreign fortress
And armour, to defend my tourist booty.

A year from now, I will have left you, a rhotic ‘r’ my only dowry.

But now I wait – for you to jump.
My teeth are sharpened,
My suitcase full of expectations.

Today I land.

Berlin (in), September 2012


II.

Today I leave:

I drop my key into your river’s open palms,
So warm and sweaty.
The keyhole winks; the staircase muss schweigen.
I walk away as slowly as I can
Along last year’s cobbled footsteps
As time rolls back
Until it’s up.
A tram aufwiedersehens and forgets me.

A year ago, I came here speechless.
My eyes were foreign street musicians who came to busk
And couldn’t wait to leave for warmer winters.

A month ago, I started packing.
I filled my bags with squatted buildings, fallen walls and squandered heartbeats,
Two snowflakes from a lonely winter past
And names of German writers.
I almost left.

But once I packed, I suddenly arrived in earnest.

Since then, the neck of time grew longer,
The pre-war building I am leaving smells of home:
No more a freshly-painted exile.
The summer days curled back into Klein bottles
Whose beer never ends.
Your needle tower has become a compass
I dread to lose:
Inside and outside are one without it.
My speechlessness is gone:
I hear, and see, and speak, and breathe you,
Breathless,
I cannot drink enough.

A week ago I met a writer.
His eyes were bright, his shadow deep,
He fought against it in your sleepless city lights
And painted worlds on beer bottles
Astride a windowsill
At midnight.

A day ago I turned around
And noticed I had been
A mirror.
I’m looking back into my face to see the future,
But all that’s left is a reflection.
The key is lost, the river drank it,
And now

I cannot ever leave.

Berlin (out), July 2013

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