Spielend gewinnen

Paint the girders of the elevated section of the U1 on Gistitchner Strasse candy pink so that the descendants of Walt Disney can feel safe. Clean up the dogshit. Ban smoking.

At the intersection I watch the light fail. The Morse signal it pulses communicates nothing and everything about how I feel about this town. It throws its strobe on the greasy platform of a tow-truck at 2am. The shadows congeal like a broken dream.

I admire the occult fat-cap calligraphy on a green and white trailer. The beauty of the three red lights on a collapsed barrier. Occasionally cars slide through the rain, speeding away from Kottbuser Tor and throwing up great sheets of water to the curb.

Ahead of me a man pauses and rubs two parallel lines in the condensation of a windscreen. It occurs to me that, perhaps, he was trying to steal the car but I prefer to think it was just curiosity.

The twinkling of the blue fairy lights in the window of Molly Luft's turn out to be the reflection of of an ambulance. A couple on a bicycle ride past and yell Schwule.

Earlier I saw her coming out of the dark. Cropped hair and mournful eyes. Her face is grained with dirt. She clutches a cigarette and manages a brittle smile as she asks if I can spare 50 cents. Reflexively I answer “no” and walk on silently cursing myself because I can and this reflex is born on harsher streets. I want to turn back but it is to late. She has gone.