A City built on Vanishing Stones

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Descend, go underground, enter the sewers. The sounds of dripping water, running water, echoes from traffic rumble close in on you. Rats follow their runways. They know of each others existence even if they are miles apart. An invisible communication system that exists parallel to our languages.  I listen hard and try to understand the computer language he talks about. An invisible floating continent has come into existence. Thoughts get transported by interfaces. I take another sip of the three euro wine. The bourgeois food lays to wither in garbage containers. A nightly walk to the backyard, stand on your toes, fill the backpack with lumps of salmon that have just come back from their expiring date. The night is freezing cold. No fun. The bus driver is the last of the disciples. I take the free place next to the front exit. It is as warm as the last warm breath of a night’s out in a bar.

Waking up was the only way out of the prison. I had returned to it again. Convicted of being a drugs dealer and a murderer. I knew I had sold the drugs. I knew I had killed someone. I could feel it. But I could also feel the doubt. I knew in the backyards of my mind that someone, some organisation had implanted the thought and the feeling into my consciousness. I was guilty of not being guilty and there was nothing I could prove. Guards took pleasure in hitting me on my head, more than once. I had walked up to them with a smile, an innocent smile. They responded with sadistic smiles. The guards were uniformed. There were nine of them, maybe ten. The worst thing about the dream was the feeling of despair, of not being able to communicate. The sense of utter greyness. Salo.

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Existence in between snapshots of a daily routine when the ritual looses all meaning and the next steps lead from the kitchen to the toilet and back to the room again. Thoughts land on rock hard bottom. No success. No feature. The writer I have come to love so much looses landscape in describing it. I follow.  I know Venice very well. I could have known her better. But that happens all the time. That’s why we build stations and harbours. We need to drown in our desires every now and then. It hurts. The pages of the book bring me back to prison again. This time my name is Giacomo Casanova. I am in a dungeon and the only thing I can see is the blue sky.  I watch it for eight hours without moving. I put down the book and get dressed.

Shoes scrape grit from the sidewalk. I follow the dark tubes that connect invisible destinations. Sit in a train that carries memories of a frivolous era. Berlin and your transvestites, hookers, writers and junks; Berlin and your turdy brown memory on the yellowed pages of a book by Isherwood. And all that faces, smiles, stubbornness, attention sucking TV screens with news and images for the illiterate. I am an illiterate. I am a Mongoloid. Note to self: write on writing. The best thing of leaving the U at Hermannplatz is the ascension on the automatic stairs. Street life disintegrates. We are all poor and will for ever be so. Currywurst, Asia food, a bottle of beer. Traffic lights in a grim pitiless sky. I follow footsteps, my own footsteps. I am on my way to my bicycle.

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I had liberated the last one with a big chain gnawer. A relic from defenseless years when Alsatians got jacked off and the bar owner’s son locked himself in his room. Him and his mount of porn video’s. His sister found out she was pregnant after three months. I had a damn fast bike. Columbiadamm in rain, sunshine and fog, forcing other cyclists to stop motion. Then it got stolen and I had to travel to the east of the city, where I met fog again. Fog and night and memories from a vanished country. Margot in Santiago. Me on a slow train to Minsk. Me on a slow bike. On the Columbiadamm I got forced to slow motion. Kids with black eyeliner waited in the melting sun for the doors to open. I read the name on the billboard. The only name I can read is written on the facade of Tempelhof. Speer und Er.

Now I am lucky again to ride over the landing strips. They are so wide that they ridicule every notion of progress. My legs move, but I am a tourist in a landscape that uses me as its pivot. Dutch ice-skaters on the horizon of a four hundred year old painting. The grey sky is an empty empire. All houses are subject to its mood. A few hours earlier, going up the Hermannstrasse hill, I took a closer look at the cinema. OFF and NO was written on the billboard over the entrance. The beautiful thing about it were the replaceable red letters. There will come a day that you can buy them at the flea market. There will come a day that flea markets no longer exist. At the other side of the cinema was a graveyard. I could not use the bike in its highest gear. Something went clunk, made the chain hiccup. I don’t like such things. Resign and be a freewheeler. Resign and everything will get lost in the end.

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