Berlin in Ruins
A voice in the hallway says, Doch doch, as if it is safe to come out, where the walls no longer stand, where you see between the buildings, where street and sidewalk and home are not distinguished, where old women stand in lines passing stones and where flowers are sold from the cellars.
Where is Eisenacher Straße after the façades crumbled, or the Elisabethkirche after the fire ate? There is heat, then ash, then strange skeletons, not just skinned but shelled, an architecture of broken egg cartons. No more trees in the Tiergarten, no more animals in the zoo; bodies eaten by other bodies, then consumed in flame. Tunnels lay darkened among disused cables, and led to sand and rock– Rosenthaler Platz writ in tile for a place with no exit, the letters fallen in numbers and the tracks twirled and torn. How many stations lay buried that way, airless and silent, waiting for someone, with a spade or a detonator, to declare the destination?
Because there was the waiting time: a time for lead libraries and re-enactments. There were stagings, like acrobatics without air, audiences gasping outside the theatres near Friedrichstraße, and silent on their walks home. Even the film-reels could not make up that great absence from which art could profit, and conscience could not.Young people moved into their parents’ houses, they paid their bills, and they grew silent, comfortable and sore.
There are pipes framing an intersection, the sharing of water, sex in public parks between strangers, telephone wires rubbed together, the fastening of track, the cutting out of windows, the clipping of fences, the building of cranes, the moving vans, the delivery of espresso, electronic sounds in vacant lots, multiple partners, stimulants, trains that circle, the fascination with new fruit, the disappearance of pickles, hesitance before hot chocolate, the destruction of furniture, the embarrassment at old photographs, children hanging surprised from car windows, the postcards from places you couldn’t go, and the letter your neighbour sent.
And where the guards stood, there’s a glass swimming pool that suggests a swim in the Spree, where it’s too dark to see ahead or behind. And above, there’s the bridge that spans the city, tied with ribbons and track and moving compartments that move so quickly, it’s a blur like forgetting.
Hannah gets new teeth.