Afrikanische Straße

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I leave the lutheran bells ringing clear, behind, the sky a dull lead blanket, but soon I see the green shoots: Nature, the knowing lover, is holding them back, in this chilled Sunday morning, as if to moderate our impatience. She knows how to prolong the foreplay, make us wait, nurse our lust, dream of future ecstasies.

The park is silent, even the birds talk in polite, muted voices. A few runners, the dog walkers, I must be the only tramp. The lake lies still, its waters not yet enticing: the beach is deserted, but for a couple of philosophical ducks. An old crucifix stands, alone, reflecting on a better, perhaps even, glorious past. Yesterday’s winds have covered the ground with small, brittle branches, it may rain soon.

The cool bier goes down so well, a not-quite-Spring treat, solitary pleasure. Some youths walk past, so quiet, survivors of some late Saturday’s party. I take my bulk further north, to the limit of the park; on the other side of the motorway lies the airport. The grumble of sparse traffic can be heard, faintly. The sport grounds are busy, with the serious shouts of enthusiastic soccer players. More dogs are entertaining their mistresses, bored, probably wondering about the human mind . The rain has started its cool morning exercise.

There are two small ponds before the street: I am back in Africa now. I follow Afrikanische for a short while, turn left on Transvaal: where else could I walk in a few minutes across thousands of miles? When I cross over Togo, the pavement is shiny with rain. Soon I find Kameruner: I am home. Girls are walking back to their nests, carrying bread.

Back to my space, I carefully recycle the beer bottle. Bless this city, and its inhabitants.

Image: Samuel Araya, via aeszaaesza.tumblr.com

Reflections in a Mirror #WritersWednesday

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We retrace our steps, without intention, it just happens: suddenly we see ourselves, there at that terrace, one evening, or there, along those walls, pushing our bikes. It’s later at night, and the Neue Gallerie is not yet closed, we meet there, in a concert of bright lights and laughter.

That was three years ago, then it was Spring; how fast time goes in this City? Those ghosts are us, or perhaps, we have become them. We know those streets, we can follow our shadows. They, us, look at us, interested and tender, those younger faces, ours, so familiar, now observing us from the other side of the mirror.

But which side are we in?

 

Photo: inspired by the beautiful blog https://streetberlin.net/, street photography. berlin.  kulturforum. 2016 © martin waltz

Banned #DailyPost

Today’s prompt

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We wish to leave behind the negatives, open our minds to the new, the innovative: the positives. Around us we see the future being built, as our present. Of course the signs of the past are all there, as if to remind us all that nothing is, ever, unchanging, immutable. Time, they say, is a great healer. Perhaps.

Rather, we see time as the veil that keeps us guessing about the meaning of the present,  about what is around the next twist of destiny.

We look at the approaching winter sky: banned be regrets about a past that may never have existed, beyond now. Only the Dead know what it might have been like. We, the still living, can only dream of asking them, or reading the signs…

Photo: Sunset, Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona, USA, ©2016 Honoré Dupuis

Ancient #DailyPost

From the magic crew

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He prides himself of a certain fitness, and longevity. At the gym he gets himself checked, measured and weighted. The young trainer congratulates him for his balance in muscular mass and body fat, and shows him the numbers: what could make him happier? Besides she’s most helpful and pretty. She draws up and explains a training plan. He so looks forward to resuming training. Soon he’s on the circuit, demonstrating his willingness to move from theory to practice.

As he works through the plan, she correcting his posture, smiling at his effort, he suddenly feels the weight of all those years: for, after all, he’s an ancient creature, still holding on, thick skinned, and well on its way to oblivion…

Image: Max Ernst (1891 – 1976) Mundmündig 1963 – via thirdorgan

Waiting #DailyPost #Autumn

From the exquisite crew

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We look out on the street, the scenery of everyday, ever changing, never fading. Autumn is there, palpable, in the leaves blown across the sidewalks, in the colours of the trees, in the chill in the air. Slowly, implacably, the city changes to its winter clothes.

You and I are waiting, loving, reading, light jazz floating through the rooms. Soon the chill will turn to ice, us too will wear our winter coats.

We love the city, we will never stop waiting.

Image: Glas und Metal, Berlin , September 2016 – via jasminmeyer

In Praise of Older Streets #BerlinDiary September 11

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We love the cobbled streets, the antique gas lamps. The older city still resists the onslaught of developers and speculators, the “Gentrifizierung” brigade, and it has allies. Yesterday, cycling our way from the Alex to Kollwitzplatz, and the charms of Prenzlauer Berg, we admired the contrasts, the moving groups, the bon-chic-bon-genre façon Berlin. And we enjoyed the ice-cream…

Closer home, back in proletarian Wedding, the new city remains loyal to its history, its heroes, and through the rumble of traffic, its wonderful parks and small lanes, its lakes. This the rough and tumble life of a city that has now grown back to its population of 1944: yes, 1944.

So, we too, remember 2001 and the victims, on the day, and ever since, of the wars that followed. Bless the cities that are reborn from the ruins.

Photo: Petra Flemming, Porträt Käthe Kolwitz, 1985, Stadt Museum, Berlin (“Stadt der Frauen”)

 

The City knows #WritersWednesday

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She never forgets: the humble swamps of the beginnings, the far away sounds of war, the medieval cruelties, the triumphs, the parades, the Enemy at the gates…

Then there was the long war – thirty years of destruction, rape, pestilence and ruins. Out of this came a stronger state, and she was the capital. The Soldiers” King – Soldaten König – made her powerful, perhaps a little agressive too. She knows what the fate of his son was, the sweet Friedrich, and Russia: a predicament for the next two centuries.

She remembers the Corsican invader, who would have feared Friedrich, and would lose his pride, and an empire, in the snows and fires of Moscow. And she loved Schinkel, the master architect, he who gave her the cross – on the hill: Kreuzberg, and what followed, the victories, the invincible army, the birth of the Reich, the Iron Cross.

Of the First World War she only remembers the trains full of enthusiastic soldiers, and then the revolution, machine guns in the street, Spartakus, the bloodbath, the corpses thrown into the canal.

Of the long night that started not so much later, she speaks often, soberly. So many sad memories, all those little brass stones on her pavements – so many human beings taken away, old and young, and burnt. The memorials, the thousands buried in her parks. Yes, the trees, fallen soldiers, reborn to adorn her streets.

Of the wall of division, yesterday really, a few seconds ago in her life, she knows all, and now she sees the builders, the speculators, the newcomers.

She sees us, my love, and is willing to tell us her stories. We will listen to her, in awe.

 

Prelude #Cityscape

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Exploring a city is like discovering a lover: the unknown sounds, the long avenues, the blind windows so much like eyes shut, the undecipherable scents… Then there are the enticing corridors, the forbidden cellars, the lovely peaceful cafés hidden behind trees, as islands of lust. The city does not yield easily: one has to be patient, one has to enjoy the foreplay, wait for the moment, the right time, observe and love.

The city is full of strangers, as many alive and as many ghosts, like the thoughts and dreams in the mind of the one we seek, as puzzling and provocative. She has its angry, even furious, side: thunder and lightning, when the pavements become hostile, the noise unbearable. She can reject the presumptuous, ignore the fool, she’s sovereign on her territory, she does not forgive.

Although many claim to possess her, she has no master. She has seen murder and rape, she knows much about war, about invaders… In our eyes she’s more alive than ever, risen from the flat sands, slowly stretching her wonderful limbs…

Image: via lightsindarkuniverselightsindarkuniverse.tumblr.com

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