This city


I just found this in my ‘my music’ folder on my laptop. It was supposed to be a song but doesn’t read like one now looking at it. I barely remember writing it, but I do remember writing some words down after going for a run at night around Oderberger Strasse and Kastanienallee. It happens so rarely that I go out after dark, and the nighttime always makes a big impression on me these days, gets my brain whirring, whirring.

I also remember having that feeling of separation from the people out there drinking and having fun. That feeling that because I was running, I wasn’t part of them, and they couldn’t see me. Also that I wasn’t part of that life anymore anyway, because of my new role as a mum, and was losing touch with the Berlin I used to know. As well as the feeling that Berlin was losing touch with itself.

Words are below, and here’s a very rough sketch of me trying to turn it into a song:


This city, this city
It’s closing its doors
The life it is slipping
From its divided jaws
The darks are losing their light
Hold on, hold on

Graffiti in an archway, peeling and tired
Graffiti on a canvas, stretched and shining
In a new building
Called Botschaft
It’s got to be a joke

What used to be a swimming pool
Is now pink and purple and aching with cool
There are coats hanging on a rack
And smokers outside
And a breakfast buffet for 19 euro

Two foam mattresses
One saying ‘make love great again’
‘The tribe berlin’

I’m invisible
Because when I run, you can’t see me
I’m wearing new clothes, you can’t see me
I’m flying so fast, you can’t see me

I run past 103
Where we you and I used to drink
The white leather cocktails
With the beautiful things

This city, this city
Is closing its doors
The life it is slipping
From its divided jaws

I’m begging, praying with all my might
That Café Morgenrot keeps on its lights
The man who told me with a blank stare
The WiFi password? It’s ‘homoerotic’
They served nachos and no cheese
I had a moleskine and tried to be someone
I was not

The gemütlichkeit that twinkles
From the windows selling sushi
Today it’s Vietnam
Not the warm wooden bars
That call you in

We used to cook or go to the food
Now the food comes to us
In little backpack cubes of pink and blue
Come on, cycling man
I’m not so fast
But I’m there before you

I feel out of my depth
I run back, further east
Where the mamas, wide-eyed
Wish their babies to sleep


2 Comments Add yours

  1. M.P. Baecker says:

    You have a beautiful voice!!! You are so talented! I love all of this!

    Berlin at night is so complex, vivid and magical, every corner holds a different universe. Stories seem to spill out as effortlessly as lamplight in a dark street..

    I hope it keeps its magic, at least after the kids are grown and I can go out once again 😄


    1. Thank you 🙂 Coming from you (supertalented writer) that means a lot. It’s true, it’s a fascinating place, and changing so fast. Don’t worry, I will drink with you soon!

      Liked by 1 person

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