Bowie, Berlin


You left America in a haze of the occult
Strung out on paranoia, divorce
Milk, peppers
Tight, white skin
Sharp cheekbones
And cocaine
And came
To somewhere green, to somewhere suffering, recovering
And split right down the middle

I came, running
From a dead-end job where I made the money I now spend
On cheap flights, and food, and friends.

My German is less than minimal, my accent horrendously British and yet
I feel at home in this strange city across the North Sea.
I am a cliché, I think, a millennial dream
But my country just chose to tear itself away
To a new home, lost adrift in the Atlantic
And I have no desire to go with it.

Cities
Change their skin so quickly –
Thirty years ago this place was torn by a great spine, now it is
A hipster paradise –
To cross from East to West now
A tourist point of interest when thirty years ago it would mean
Life or death.

I do not believe in ghosts or angels but there is
Power in a place
In its history, in the memories it carries in
The bricks torn from its ground, the blood
Washed off its stones.

Young, Living
in holiest sin,
And free
Think of the greatest line in pop music history;

‘We could be heroes –
Just for one day.’

And in the glow of the sunrise from the top floor as they close the blinds
I think,
Through the tiredness and the drink
That I have found my piece of mind.

[Clare Patterson]


 

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