Prose: Schmerz

I learned a new German word. Schmerz. A word that means what it sounds like. The definition came in a defining moment of repetition, so many moments. The word – over and over again like an onslaught, so in itself not able to be lost in translation. Schmerz. It comes spat out like a cry. It is an ugly word, a word that epitomizes and does not leave room for doubt as to exactly what it is. A word that coerces worry and crinkles between the eyes. A word so meaningful. A word so German. So very German. I learned this word, Schmerz. I learned it well. I learned it from a German. The definition: pain.

I learned about Schmerz between and through and up and down and pressed against sea foam green halls of walls grimly lit with intoxicating fluorescent. The orchestra of quietly screeching wheels distracted me, him, us, for only a small little bit of a while, as everything turned back into white again over and over again; the only relief from Schmerz.

It was everywhere. It was coming out of his mouth, shooting out from his body. It was coming out of my heart, and held inside the cavity of compassion. It was coming out and into the catheters attached to the rolling liquid fulfillment coat racks of our new unwanted and unwelcoming neighbors, the ones who had already felt it all. The ones with the unkempt scraggly hair atop their lonesome heads and spread sporadically about their undesired torsos thinly veiled through the coat of polyester makeshift robes thrown effortlessly about their arms. It came, the Schmerz, in sound and touch and taste and sight and smell, and hearing. The Schmerz, when it came, it never left.

This pain, or Schmerz, was not in vain nor did it beg to forfeit all other emotions involved, for this was a strong, defining, repetitive, loud, bloody, German pain, as aforementioned. This was not a feeling, but the feeling itself not as adjective but as noun, and it was the objective that made everything else bigger than it already was.

The first time I heard this word, my face sunk inside of me, down to my stomach that was already half on the floor by the time the third hour began. I was left helpless and the solitary factor for help, help for me, help for him, help for us. He had said it, screaming in pain, the word for pain, this newness invading into our lives, said to the newest strangers, “Schmerz…”

I learned a lot of German that night/morning/day/night. I wondered why my questions were questioned and the answers were lost in that specific word that meandered through my memory as I poked and prodded at my mental rolodex for the right words to solve what was wrong. This situation, as I pretended was not already portended, this massacre of understanding. The Schmerz kept getting worse.

I squeezed and I smiled and I winked and I blushed and I kissed and I held and I hugged and I consoled and I caressed and I cuddled and I coddled. And I cried.

 

The medicine dripped inside of him like the tears dripped to the floor for the few minutes or four when he was in slumber. My Schmerz was his Schmerz was our Schmerz. Then I became the anti-body, quickly and quietly the outsider who did not belong. The raging displaced refugee, the only cure for the cause, the only shield from the Schmerz.

It all came raging in, in different directions. It was him and her and it and this and that, and I became the virus, the problem, the pain. I pushed and pulled, and tried to protect my love, but the Schmerz augmented, and came, it came and came, unrelenting, brightly shining in my wet eyes, reflected off of the sea foam green walls, making me green, pulling me into the undertow.

I looked into the green eyes of my friend and I told him, “I’m destroyed,” after he told me the story I was just about to tell him. We knew then, like we always had, that it would come to this. That the Schmerz would come rushing, raging in. His Schmerz, the Schmerz of his love, my Schmerz, the Schmerz of my love, all of our Schmerz, that Berlin Schmerz. We turned the music up, let it hit us, and more than ever, we felt the pain. 

 

 

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Prose: It

Tomorrow is the next first day of the rest of my life if I get through the night. Today was a good start to finishing so many things. Tonight I really need it.

If I could write a letter, the salutation might go something like “Dear You Know Who You Are,” or “To Whom Is Not Concerned:”. The body, my body, his body (of the letter) would go on to exclaim complaints about the aforementioned desire.  The it.

I could or would but should not have it ever again. The craving, or more appropriately, the addiction to this addict is troubling because of all of the trouble. Is it worth it – paying attention to the expensive investment that affords me so much pain and will leave me feeling spent at any cost? The rich luxury of lust from such an impoverished man, a man that has made me feel like much less than one, more and more as I think about it.

But the man is not it.

Tonight, right now, I want it. I care only about the import of all of those unprecedented sensations, that always turned to exasperations when the it turned back into the man. This is not to say (though nothing needs to be said anymore) that the man was not the cause of it, for he was the ruler or leader or follower of what it has become, and I owe it all to him, me being this impoverished.

I would love to fly with him, or it, despite my fear of flying itself, daring to take a skydive not really knowing if there is a safe landing ahead as I only have history to prove what the future will would be like. In those neutral places, the homes of my own, we separated peacefully, resonating how stuck together we were.

I want the only hole that I ever loved. That welcoming and foreign orifice with its curtain of auburn locks that captured my tongue and cheeks so many not so long and so long ago nights, where I was a captured and raptured by the encapsulating essence of this everything-I’ve-ever-wanted epitome. To be in that place, that place I pioneered, where so many others feared or had no interest to dwell, my Manifest Destiny, that clenched and uncorrupted opening – it would make me whole again. I want to make it slick with my spit, and have the soaked tufts massage the shaft and trunk of my peering phallus, though knowing full well I would enter at my own risk, that it risk of never wanting to leave it again.

I want it.

I too want it to dig my trench, in that unequivocal equal way, the give of the take and vice versa, the it that throws everything off balance because no one before has ever been so equipped to avoid the commonplace dreary of either/or. Both is what drove us to this madness, both, both of us, both the entry and the exit, the in and the out, the push and the pull, the give and the take, the it.

I want to be in it.

The warmth that comes from trying to freeze the heart, so the men can leave the room, even the beasts, and leave only it behind. I want the craft not necessarily identified to hone its skill on and in and all over me, over and over and over again (and over, and over, and over…).

I want the rush of not knowing what is next. I want the surprise of shock and awe and the sweet unsubtle pounds of flesh that are indecipherable when your mind is no longer your own. I also want the caressing comfort of knowing that there is no need for knowledge or teaching, that the uncharted territory needs no map, no guide, no navigator, no compass, only the advantage of being privy to it – thus making the perfect journey to far away places.

Tomorrow I hope I will have survived. Though there is no doubt in my mindless mind that when my eyes find some sort of rapid movement, the dreams will haunt me in a horrifically amazing way, with the it in full spectrum, and no possibilities of the man returning to what men do.

In slumber, there are no other dicks, there are no inescapable jealousies, there are no alarm clocks or jobs or logic or things that have to be done except the necessity for it. It and only it.

This craving is no hunger. It is the long overfed product of a spoilt child. The Life Force of sin and secret, the angle to the story.

It.

I won’t write that letter. I won’t write it tonight. Tomorrow is not that far away (certainly not as far away as it is). I won’t think of the salutation or the body, his body, my body against his body, or any body for that matter.

Prose: March 19, 2013

It’s been snowing for fourteen hours straight.

This is the first time I’ve witnessed this constant flurry in Berlin. It has been a steady reminder of my beloved precipitation that I left on the east coast of the un-united states. It’s the kind of white noise storm that makes me homesick, remembering the days when precious yet irrelevant hours were robbed from us, hours already saved for working, eating, sleeping, and working… and eating. I reminisce about those default holidays where the blizzards were the only thing to slow us down for life (instead of never living it).

It is no secret but yet it is a pungent mystery how no matter the hour in Berlin, you can look out your window or his window or her window or their window or our window, and see some one meandering through the streets, lost in a steady direction. The personification of loneliness in this slutty city.

They travel in one pair of eyes, hard to see eyes, with heavy sturdy legs and most times with arms held behind the back (don’t ask me why). There is always that borrowed loner, idly marching with an accidental purpose, plucked from cooped up spacious caves where cabin fever is dissipated by the daily fright of other’s shadows.

Today was no different but not the same as every other picturesque postcard moment.

This time, while time dropped out of the grey stained stratosphere in little flakes intricate and beautiful in the big picture and in microscopic pondering, this time, my time, our time, each by passer was a swollen silent soldier swallowed by the moving bloodless madness of peace white snow.

They were dressed in black like most Berliners sometimes are, fit for the part of antihero, thickening the plot of their curious and untold stories while all day darkness became equivalent to lightness.

Today I did not create stories for them.

I welcomed the advent of these rogue zoo creatures as if they were artifact for my sensory museum and for a moment, one iota of a moment and solely and surely a moment all my own and in my own time, when the street went the course of momentary absence arrived – I busied myself looking out at the parade of snowy shard showers and wondered if maybe I was the only one watching the wilderness for half hours at a time, mine and only my time… and then across the street at about the angle of nine o’clock, I witnessed a pair stooped up on their balcony, tightly together for a half hour of their own time, their own moment, and they watched the snow with each other, with me and without me, and for the first time during this endless day, I never felt so alone.

Prose: Deutsch

I don’t want to speak German.

I complain all the time about the constant complaints regarding my lack of the German language. I have plenty of excuses: I don’t know how long I’ll stay in Berlin; I hate being corrected; I am too busy working to take a very necessary intensive course for 4 hours a day; native speakers just want to practice their English anyway;  I hate when I can hear and understand what strangers are saying in public places; I am a writer and I’ve spent my entire life mastering the English language and becoming acclimated with fifty-cent words and I don’t have time to do this with another language; I struggle with switching over to such a thoughtful and complex language after years of studying sweet sounding romantic languages; I enjoy having the option of simply ignoring someone who I am not interested in talking to; it’s too difficult.

The best excuse overall came from a natural born Berliner with the typisch blond and blues and a glass cutting jawline and tattered tale teeth that were filthy and crooked and hinted at the hours he spent adorning the welcoming abodes of debauchery in this brightly dark city of Berlin. It was over one of those makeshift impromptu dinners for artists where some one of us was trying to seduce the other in collaborating on a new project with that allusive prize of home cooked food in lieu of an actual salary. There was wine, because there is always wine, but food was the determining factor that what was being asked was really serious. This tattered man told me, not long after he asked if I wanted him to switch to deutsch (in the usual fashion of these artist dinners, we were speaking in German, English and French), and the host complained about my lack thereof, and someone else recommended a school I had already applied for and never went to, he said, “Life is too short to learn German.”

I know plenty of German, don’t get me wrong, and please please please, don’t tell anyone. Bitte. I attack people with doe eyes and fluttering eyelashes as necessary when they ask me that dreaded albeit obligatory question about speaking that language, then I continue on to explain that I speak German, “when I need it,” that always comes out as a joke that no one really laughs at (my American sense of humor is constantly lost in translation, another reason why I won’t learn German.

It is not easy to build confidence in meeting the specific standards of where to put the verb, especially when you are constantly bombarded by requests to repeat what you said and then after three times of repeating myself, they repeat the same exact thing I said three times back to me, “corrected” for the purpose of my or their personal gain, I never know which. As a perfectionist, this troubles me to no end.

The irony of course comes from so many denizens that preach the gospel of the godly language that is German but when confronted with it, there are shouts of blasphemy that come in the form of, “Please stop! Your German is burning my ears,” or “You don’t have to speak German, we all speak English here,” and when they continue on in English, bad English, horrible English, indecipherable English, so far removed from Denglish or Globbish or any remotely comprehensible form of muddling or murdering the English language itself, they are not so apt to accept any corrections at all.

I learned quickly that Germans are the greatest teachers, and learning is not something they feel comes from their students. I dare not claim this to be a mistake of theirs, for rules and standards are an indicative part of their culture. I deal with the horrible English, biting my mother tongue all the while and even sometimes I tell a little white lie about how I would prefer that they speak German in my presence to help me learn – just to silence the atrocities of Ws that sound like Vs or the unnecessary sound of the letter H or questions that sound like answers or the complete absence of any other tense except the present or further complaints about how there is no perfect English word for something that is so perfect in German. Most times they refuse, and I am stricken with the task of tuning them out, which is harder to do with broken English than with correct English.

I haven’t had any major problems with my fear of German here in Berlin. It is comparable to my fear of math. Like math, I have a little machine that helps me when all the chaos needs to be controlled. Also, as a writer, I have a good memory, so looking at all the long German words boasted on signage and advertising helps, as queasy as it makes me. If all else fails, there is the international language of pantomime and pointing.

I understand what I need to, when I want to understand it. For example, when I was walking my friend’s dog yesterday and this stranger from the neighborhood approached me and asked me if I was cleaning up after the dog (in German) I pointed and spatted at her something about my German not being so good and not understanding what she was saying. She kept on, and on, and on, and I feigned distress, though really I was uneasy about the challenge of having spent almost two years here and I could understand almost every word she had said, without ever taking classes.

As I ran back into the house, feeling horrible about the lie (I did in fact leave the droppings from the dog in the fresh spring white snow, much like everyone else in the neighborhood, hence her complaining), I realized my biggest problem is that no matter how much German I learn, no one will ever understand me. Though I miss the comforts of home of being talked to instead of talked at, I realized when I had the opportunity to speak German, I would have lost all of my anonymity and autonomy – two of the most prized possessions of any good writer. I wonder what the rents are in Prague; the last time I was there I noticed that Czech is a beautiful, difficult, language. I digress.

Alliteration Exercise #1

The trunk spears her with a rigid root.  Her soil soft and sullen. The fertile flailing reaches for that sickly sap. Intricate thirsting to drink dry the disgusting dare. An alluring apple bite with tattered teeth and trying trial. Rings wrapped round ripe haunting busts. Breaths begotten but broken and borrowed. Yearning years eagerly awaiting. She ingests the indignant inhale with long ever lost lust. Sun sunk into supple skin.

Prose: Thin Walls

The walls in the motley occupied Berlin dwellings are thin skinned. Perhaps it is the makeshift existence of their erection or maybe it is the history of the necessity to note the actions of each and every citizen. Next doors you can hear a cell phone vibrate, a man scratch his head, a baby sneeze, a new page of a book being turned, clocks ticking, cigarettes smoked, toilets flushed, a sip of wine being slurped, emails being written, paintings hung, water spilled, lights turned on or off, luggage zipped, counters wiped, bread broken, spit swallowed, envelopes licked, curtains closed, food chewed, hair combed, coffee stirred, laundry folded, clothes being removed, and every and all of anything in between. It is a disturbingly wonderful feat of voyeurism that captivates the curiosity, but when the noises mirror off the transparent walls, the reflection is opaque and peinlich.

Many worst of times and best of times I wanted to apologize – in German or English or French or Turkish or Spanish or Italian or Denglish – when my head was at its fullest and the seething things inside could either explode or implode in the most indecipherable language. I’ve wanted to tell my nachbaren I was sorry for the noise or perhaps they’ve wanted to thank me for the free theater. The loud and lusty disruptions at ten and then again when the heaven happened at eleven that turned sour coerced by the burdens of desire when all the walls came crashing down and time lost its place in the killed silence throughout the entire building.

If I knew the proper dialect, I would tell my neighbors, his neighbors, our neighbors, that I am sorry that they had to hear that age old adage of how I told him not to be like his father and he boasted a rebuttal with the insult of me being everything like my mother. That clichéd proverbial Freudian explanation for everything that went and continues to go wrong, with me, with him, with us, with everyone.

Those moments where the clock was a blurry mess of pale green LCD light and the candle puddles hinted at when the whole mess began. When slurred speeches resembled some sort of impatient dialog, the duet choir of atrocity. And the sweet and bitter scent of us permeated those paper thin walls – like semen and shit and sterilized tourniquet: this is how our essence smelled.

I wonder too if they are brewing with jealousy of our conspiracy, when they hear the sharp inhale of me taking him in, taking him in in that inaugural entry of his disabling fuck. When I give in and he gives in and our bodies are not ours anymore but the empty canvas for one another with which to paint and poke and masturbate. Do they cringe or care about the sex we make, much louder than any of our intrusions to their not-so-personal space? Is it envy or misery when the animals put an end to the mating calling cackling and start the uproarious roaring of the innate reason of our endless disasters?

The protest always comes in a gang of four bangs against those delicate walls. A cadence that could never stop the staccato rhythm of our loving and arguing, only distract it long enough to create the syncopation of our jazz making. The music of our complication (a compilation of copulation and culminations) goes on and on for a few days until the snoring slumber makes way into the early morning ending, one of us in bed, one of us not, both of us exhausted.

It starts and ends all over again, faster than the speed of sound, without ever a deus ex machina, only a crooked dénouement where nothing ever falls into place, only down the slippery landscape of rising falling action – into the chasm of oblivion. 

I wonder sometimes if on the other side of the fence, if our neighbors, our audience, our unwanted guests, if they have already learned the script. If they could set their clocks by us, from the first moan of orgasm to the last fatigued tear, to the second hand that slaps, to the fourth wall that crumbles down… knowing full well grass does not grow inside, so it is not easy to tell which is greener. All I know is that we are lucky in our gambling in the matters of the heart, with a beautiful crimson mess spilled all over the heavy pounded floor, the macabre hue bearing our stained reflection.

Every time again it comes to this, the ongoing test of hypothesis – to see how deafening love can be, to the eyes, the hands, the nose, the tongue, the ears…The lights never go out, for all the neighbors to see, the blind insanity of him and me, thinly veiled through the barrier of our company.

 

Poetry: Wound

One of those rare dates with poker faces
I wondered who was that sexy stranger 
We held warm hands with cold feet
As we looked into our eyes for danger

Coffee stained kisses shows that he misses
The delay before the cigarette wave goodbye
There is no laughter for misunderstood jokes
The lack of color leaves us dry

I cannot see the damage to his spinal cord
The scar on his heart is more visible
We are barely healing like fresh open wounds
Time and pain remain indivisible 

I was long gone before we were leaving
Then I went back to the last place we lied
I tried to scrub away the smell of us
But it came anew when washed and undried