Monday, June 13, 2011

West Berlin 1988

West Berlin 1988
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West Berlin as best as I recall,
Berlin when there were two Berlins,
Berlin, when there were two points of view,
To those looking on,
and to those looking out,
West Berlin, as a nervous fish in a small fish bowl,
Reveling in it's specialness,
The crossroads of cultures and countries,
East BErlin, as the hungry larger fish,
museum centerpiece of archaic dialects,

paying pennance,
paying eternal pennance,
paying and staying eternally.....unrepentant

West Berlin, island of self indulgence,
neon orgasms,
all night drumbeats,
the rythymic soundtrack for confrontation,
liasons with a loud soundtrack,
East Berlin,
Sea of grey buildings,
Grey life in the scarcity of abstractions,
absence of loaughter in the presence of strangers,

the workers' paralytic hell............

I can't say as I reacall much more than the cobblestones
Yet I know the cobblestones well,
I know the colour of the morning's light cast timidly upon them,
Which my feet took to with aggressive affection,
The cobblestones, as seen through my strained eyes,
Eyes adjusting from the smokey discos I've stumbled out of,
Eyes straining, ears ringing,
My head swimming,
My clothes covered in sweat,
Sweating from the dancing,
from the drinking,
from lustful conversations,
from heated political debate,
All orchestrated over cold bottles of beer,
glasses of sekt,
mixed drinks,
And the occasional friendly, high powered, quickly downed, social shots of brown tequila,
and it's obligatory after-slice-of-orange,

I sweat,
from the contact with strangers,
from the embraces of friends,
from feeling and seeing paradise won and lost,
to the helpless ruin of jealousy and regret,
fromp being pulled out of isolation and into the social,
Over and over again,
played and preyed upon,
'Von tiefen, zum pflegmatisch',
to a deeper understanding,
Understanding the real nature of the true Berliner,
The true Berliner is in love with the images,
The image of the macabre and the gothic rocker,
The image of acid flash and hip hop,
The image of the smoked out, blue lit jazzer,
The image of the middle-class and it's model citizen,
The image of revolution ...and the masked anarchist,
Inside each,
Always doing it to the end point,
The image of intolerance,
the image of decadence,
the image of romance,
the image of confrontation,
the image of flying so high,
so as to fall so far below,
the image of judging images
the images encased and perfectly preserved,
of artistic movements,
of musical histories,
of political upheavels,
and all atrocities past and present,

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Then, there is the image of the proletariat,
whose eternal vigilance,
at working and drinking,
is the heartbeat for the total being of all other images
that have come and past


West Berlin 1988


I recall the cobblestones,
Counted to the doorways of the next kneipe,
Counted to the streetcorners,
Where leather clad denisens of art and autonomy,
stood with their backs against brick walls,
holding bricks and bottles of beer,
laying in wait for the polizei
The polizei patrol like the occupying invader,
Inside the van,
four boyish faces in full armour,
bred in the west's shell of naiveté,
Trained and then thrust into the thick of the fray,
"Ich war junge gewesen, sheise, noch ein cigarette',
Clack, clink, clack- clack-clack,
the brick has hit the van

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Counting the cobblestones to the next café,
where they who sit and laugh,
live and dress,
as individual acts of art,
down shots of brown tequila in unison,
with its obligatory after-slice-of-orange,
Chin - chin!
Warm Berlin brown tequila summer evenings,
where the sun fades at 23 o'clock,
where the sun rises at 3am
Counting the cobblestones along the canals,
stumbling along the path
that bikes rumble on
Transgressing the dreaded autobahn for bikes
Counting the cobblestones past Turkish Imbisses,
shrouded in their thick scents of Döner Kebab,
Turkish delicacies ath sustain life at
3 marks a pop
Turks congregate inside these hot shops,
on the warm Berlin evenings,
Heatedly arguing politics and soccer
And returning the smile of any stranger
friendly enough to offer one
For after 20 years,
of doing the work that no german wants to do,
20 years,
becoming europeanized,
They are not germans,
but guests who've overstayed their welcome,
and smiles are hard to come by

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Counting the cobblestones,
Down ancient boulevards,
and ancient buildings,
from whose ancient windows and balconies,
ghosts wave fists and banners,
with the hammer and sicle flying,
ghosts throw flowers,
and wave swastika flags,
Under which ghosts march,
Some proudly,
Some as victims

Now the only cheering,
is the jeering of young turkish youths,
and taunting german 10 year olds
sporting mohawks
Time has left the cobblestones for me to count,
I have no choice but to count them,
For I have given myself up to drink,
and the force of gravity,
to guide me home,


West Berlin 1988


The snows caught me by surprize,
I was still counting the cobblestones,
and the bottles broken on them,
Sugar fell upon them
When I looked up,
And got it full in the face,
and looked around to find a different city,
White, cold and illuminescent
Day two,
It was grey slush
So I became familiar with the grey slush,
and the subterranean world,
and the people who inhabit
the subterranean world
I don't mean the 'spiese',
not those hamsters coming and going,
running in timid precision on the escalators,
not the polizei and the train kontrollers,
searching for those who haven't paid the fare,
Not the sullen turkish washerwomen,
commuting en masse,
at the hour that I've chosen to go home to sleep
Not the couples kissing and cooing,
their veins still filled with sekt and desire
Not the jovial old workmen,
gallantly joking with the ladies
not the old drunks,
bellowing racist statements at foreigners,
Statements they recited in their youth,
in the service of the Reich... now affixed to the neo-fascist Republikaner
(which in german means 'republican')
No, not the skinheads sitting quietly observing,
Not the young prolies,
with their noses buried deep in their
racist, nationalist Bild Zeitung newspapers,
the paper that's not news without
tits or soccer
Not the nervous punks,
their flourescent haired heads
bobbing back and forth,
keeping careful lookout for the trainkontrollers
Not the aging prostitute,
sitting with her boisterous john
Not the two schwule talking softly,
with their pink triangle buttons,
saying something louder
Not the brash young turkish lads,
trying to impress the girls

I guess I mean the true subterranean people
The true subterranean people are
the dispossessed
they are the homeless people keeping warm,
they are the jobless people making money,
they are the pointless people killing time,
they are music people sparechanging with notes,
they are the insane, sharing an interest,
creating abstractions out of life
in a country that has no place
for abstractions
This is germany they say,
there are no abstractions,
there are no subterranean people,
and there are no dispossessed
Here, every face has a place,

This is the modern germany,
This is the modern subterranean world,
during those cold Berlin winters,
and on the cobblestones,
in front of the train stations,
during the warm Berlin summer nights

West Berlin when there were two Berlins,
West Berlin, as best as I recall

(music performance at the Vieze Gasten Revue, 2003 featuring Raf and Mich of Kamil Foo MC'ing )

'On Opiates'    written and performed   by David 'Shadow' Velà squez with accompaniment by the Veize Gasten Revue Ensemble.Click here to listen to West Berlin 1988 on the track called 'On-Opiates 2004'

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