Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cursed by the Wall

Still determined to write about the Berlin Wall, Titisee, and whatnot. Still not quite getting it right...


We were artists, back then. We smoked menthols and tobacco pipes and weed and American cigarettes by the handful. We drank too much vodka and absinthe, laughingly called our beverage the Berlin blast. We – all of us – looked at the Wall as if it were one big canvas to paint on. Tomas kept spray paints in his trunk so he could always stop and doodle on the wall in bright colors whenever he parked near the wall. I kept spray paint in my nightstand. If I couldn’t sleep, I snatched up what colors I found, and hurried to the wall. Carlos painted sesame street characters in scenes from German history in thick layers of housepaint he bought in bulk from a hardware store. Renata liked to make posters and glue them to the Wall. The thing was, this Wall was the line in theworld’s sand. We were the artists that lived in its shadow. It was our canvas, even when we were painting on a canvas in a studio in Paris. It marked our city. It marked our fears. It marked our imaginations.
We hated it, but we loved that it was there to be hated. We threw paint and art at the Stasi like hippies throwing vegetables at guns.
Zouhlika would never understand that about the artists. She was a waitress in a Greek restaurant where every course was an excuse to kill as many different animals as possible...

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