Berlin Germany, january teens, 2003

i did not feel lucky. i had spent the week before in paris. "spent" isnt the right verb. washed. wasted. whittled. withered. i was broke, the water pipes were frozen, the milk on the cupboard had curdled, i was out of coffee, i was out of pasta, i hadnt showered in at least ten days, and i hadnt sold a painting in almost two months. i had hit some kind of bottom and was closer to an emaciated ethiopian than a french pastry. so i left paris. fortunately. i probably would have pulled my own trachea out in frustration. i was trying to decide whether i should join the french foreign legion or whore myself out to the old women and rich fags at La Coupole. either seemed preferable to rotting in the ice of wintertime paris. it was in this state i left for berlin.

paris is like an opiate. you can be happy there and not know it. you can be miserable there and miss it.

leaving then was a lucky thing. i like to think that luck doesnt exist - that it is a state of determination that leaks into the world, changing our path as we trickle down our hill of decisions. but some times, in some places, like this year in berlin, its clear; and luck can cloud the air like a pollution. your free will goes away and you are in the huge hands of god.

if berlin were a woman she would have icewhite skin and thin lips of concretegrey. she would be beautiful
and in her late 30s. her hair would be tidily cut just below her ears.  she would carry a rifle and live in a graveyard and she would shoot at sparrows for her breakfast and laugh until dawn.  her pocket would be empty of change and her brain would be full of wild ideas. berlin is a culture.dumpster, a drug.cafeteria, a music.vineyard. it is a bombed-out warehouse of eastern european grit with a freshly-painted patina of Euro blue and yello. if a northern european city could seduce me to willingly live in the snow, it would be berlin. berlin is a brutal city filled with a brutal people. its residents are not wounded but smiling and laughing as if a herd of tragedy.poets were let loose in an apple orchard for a sunny afternoon.    but it wasnt sunny, it was cold.  cold as a dead deacon's dick.  the rivers were like frozen scabs.  everything was shivered down into itself,  cowering from winter.  and with  reason.  i'm sure its nicer in the summer.  everything is nicer  in the summer.

i spent the night with a hungarian woman named after a saint, and a german man named after a machine. it was night and we were walking fast. our breath in the january air made us into three diabolic dragons, the snow crunching underneath us and the cabs whistling all around, like bigwheel steel birds, flying low to the ground. i felt bold and lucky as if berlin was giving me something deep down and dark, like new blood. i was doped with fortune and the echo of the blood in my neck made me feel fast. we entered on the right.  the words white trash were written on the door.  a tall amazon blond took a euro so we could 'be part of the club.' and we stepped into a chinese restaurant that had been more or less converted into a bar. fortunately, less converted, more bar.  i dont care what drinks are served (hell, i'll happily drink hairspray), but music counts (lucky again; one of the founders of einstürzende neubauten was at the helm (they really deserve credit for redefining rock)), and comfortable places to sit are nice.  and so i poured glasses of jim beam down my throat and lounged around on a stupid sofa and smoked enough cigarettes to make my ass sag and the evening smeared out into a nice scabrous hunk of orange that reminded me of how lucky i was to be in berlin in january of 2003.

we drank.

anyway, we were up until dawn wallowing in our alchohol and idiocy. we dauldromatic dragons of hot air had become stupid sloths by the day's beginning, and there we were, with our boots on the table, making jokes that no-one but us laughers could get. being drunk is good. i read somewhere that alcohol is proof that god wants us to be happy.

i like being hungover in the mornings. it slows me down.

the morning is the punchline to the joke that god played on you the night before.

so i was happy that night, and i spent most of the next day walking to alexanderplatz, my hangover in tow behind.  i watched crows with strange grey beaks peck at snow, i watched a man eat a pigeon, and i saw demons in the trees.  if i had seen just, say, the last of these disturbing sites, i would have paused, but all three, on the same day, became a system of symbols that couldn't be overlooked.   i decided i was lucky and so i kissed a girl that i met while buying a pretzel. that was lucky. then i went to a museum.  luckily, i found a painter i thought had dome some good work.  a berlin local boy. (he was born 1888, mansfeld. he died in 1972, in kaputh near potsdam).

his name was

Magnus Zeller


the next day i continued to walk.  and i ate, too.  for lunch i ate

a couple of days later i had  Reibekuchen mit Apfelmus.not much more than a fried potatoe-onion combination.   fat and tubors with applesauce.

... and theres this other thing, too. the fact that even the public restrooms are shiny
   as a newborn little robot.  its testimony to the depth of the german anality.

i left berlin on a train, thinking about the crows, and the demons, and the baboon.girl that i kissed, and my luck;

	If I lived in an angel ,
	I would dream under her tongue
	And weep next to her ribs
	And I would shout curses out to god from inside her hollow throat
	And I would stand on her head to see the pastures of high heaven
	And I would paint with my own blood on the whites of her wings

	If I lived in a devil ,
	I would make him eat his head
	And breed rattlesnakes in his throat
	And I would turn his trachea to traintracks
	And he would vomit up a snowstorm, and flakes would fall around him
	floating up to people nearby, touching them and

	If I lived in me ,
	I would laugh and kiss and write and paint
	And I would be drunk in the bars of berlin
	And I would be freezing in the streets of paris
	And I would smash myself to pieces in far away lands
	And I would be reborn among angels and devils
	that would stare out at the world from buildings and trees.

	This is my dream of flesh.
	This is my curse of luck.