The fall rain is hitting the window next to me
And the tangled trees bare of leaves
mock my dread
as the sky slips to night.
The bar I am sitting in is sparsely populated
Mostly drooping men alone,
posted on stools and evenly spaced, for elbow room.
There are two women in the booth behind me
Discussing what HE said
HE said something to the one
And the other couldn’t believe it.
I didn’t notice as my waitress with a belly like the bough of a ship approached,
to take my empty glass.
I was busy wiping steam from the window and looking for her.
In a voice of despairing tone, like bag pipes
She asked if I wanted another
I nodded and she disappeared into the smoky distance.
I started to gaze into the slick and empty streets again
When I was momentarily distracted from my longing
By the juke box, kicking in the Stones “No Expectations”
As it tore through the smoky black sadness of the bar,
I watched as some of the drooping men took notice,
Except for a guy behind me who wished loudly that they turn it down
As I wished I had an EXTRA pamphlet on euthanasia.
It didn’t matter though, all I could think of was my girl.
She was leaving today
Going back to Berlin a night flight to the father land
I wished I was going with her,
returning to that city of sinister kinkyness before dawn like a vampire
I loved that city where even the shadows seemed artistic in expression.
And as much as I denied it, I loved her even more.
I wished I was there leaving her love behind
Instead of her here leaving mine.
New York would certainly take its toll on me this winter.
When the waitress returned
I was once again wiping the window with the side of my hand.
Then suddenly she was there, fumbling with an umbrella
In the street light that revealed the severity of the storm
I lept up banging my knee on the table and shot for the door,
Leaving my waitress confused
As I cut a path through the swirling cigarette smoke.
Opening that door FOR her, I was opening a scar for myself.
We returned to the table through the prying eyes of solitary men
and I wiped the rain from her cheeks.
Christiana Gableman of Belzig Straße, Berlin was beautiful on
Levels too numerous to mention.
She ordered a beer with a curling smile
I looked into her face and felt again that everything was something
Even if in the peripheral, the mud storm,
kept blowing up against the window panes.
Christiana had green eyes of optimistic innocence
And an angular face, full of spirit and expression
Her thoughts were delivered in poignant words through one of the
Most beautiful smiles I’d ever seen,
the slender hand she had used to point at me the night we met,
to say “You like me, huh?”
was now moving her henna hair from her expressionless face.
The way she looked at me was not the same and never would be again
The likeable badness she had accepted when we met
was wearing as thin as the ice I was skating on in life.
We talked about old times avoiding what was happening now
What was happening now was her getting out.
She couldn’t watch me go down
I remembered a year into our relationship
when she uttered those three little words all women did at some point.
“Your’re Killing Yourself”
That was the summer I had spent with her in Berlin,
even Berlin summers were forbidding
We had spent the few days of sunshine at a city pool,
that resembled a Fritz Lang nightmare.
We sat drinking eastern block Champagne while
the ghastly pale residents of that sector dipped themselves.
I came home on a flight paid for by her
missing the fall of the wall by a month.
On that plane ride home I dozed and dreamt that I was a child
taking a train home with the bodies of faceless loved ones in the last car.
Over time, my heart that was soft as flint going into the relationship
had been softened and destroyed by my own excesses
That year we corresponded through letters
and mixed tapes full of Lee Hazelwood.
Then she returned to the city, to me,
and I began to believe that life was possible,
Even though I knew that I always lost the people I cared for the most.
I tried to stay clean and I tried not to push her away,
but, winter was returning to kill me and my nights thundered
with the roar of chemical experiments and over indulgence.
She was always there for me. She loved and trusted me and I her,
but I didn’t trust myself, and so a cornucopia of tragic events
had brought us to this table and smoky bar for the last time.
I paid the check and we walked to my apartment for her bags.
As Christiana walked through the room, she started to cry,
as I put my foot over what looked like a final rent notice slid under the door.
Walking out through the dark corridor of my building
she made me promise to get clean and write her
both of which would fade in time
On a train full of homeboys we huddled with my arm around her
and at HER gate, we kissed and then she was gone
Returning to the city, I wanted only to fall in bed and not wake up
but as I approached my front door I found it had been pad-locked
I banged on the landlord’s door but no one answered.
Hating life, love and myself equally, I reached into my pocket
Counted my money and spent every dime I had on a bundle of dope
When I came to, it was dawn and I was on an empty A train in far Rockaway,
I walked sick and cold to the frigid beach and sat
till the rains came and swept me away.