Goodbye to Chamissoplatz

Overestored and as lovely and as fixed as a postcard, Chamissoplatz sits hard to the South of the city, up against the fascist airport - Speer’s incarnation of Nazi power. Between us, Fidicin Str, Shweibusser Str, Columbia Damm, the airport’s edge. Its tower’s mock Egyptian power. The Reich, in all its fallacy. I hear heels clicking on it polished marble floors in my dreams.

I follow the spotlights that arc above Templehof home, everything is closed. I play Bonnie Prince Billy and think about leaving.

To the North, Bergman Str, where the tourists sit in the failing summer. To the West, the traffic of Mehringdamm, Victoria Park, dark and gothic – Schinkel’s needle, sat atop that faux waterfall. Further still and Astrid sleeps at the edge of Schoenberg.

To the east, at Südstern, the puppeteer drinks one last whisky and preens his platted beard while his wife, the venerable J pulls faces and tells jokes. North West of there, or wait, no it’s just to the North of here, on Urban Str, Molly Luft raises a heavily decorated stein.

The night falls silent and Bergmannkiez sleeps. The crosshatched aluminium door of the Swinger’s Club on Gneissenauer Str remains closed. The sex kino as comatose as Kaiser’s at this hour. The displaced Markthalle, a cluster of portakabins around a sorry looking square.

On Zoessener Strasse, the Turkish bakery sells platts of sweet bread till late and further North, on the same street, is the site of the Cosy Corner where rumour has it Christopher Isherwood chatted with Aldous Huxley.

Tomorrow North. Bergmannkiez sleeps.

In the eighties this square was squatted and was the subject of a film but these days there are no film crews, no arc lights – just the view from the balcony of an empty set. A thin trail of cigarette smoke in the light of the moon, the black cobbles slick with rain.

Chammissoplatz sleeps.