Dear Berlin// yep, kindofalovesong–

graffiti in berlin

graffiti in berlin

of course you knew
i’d write you letters,
fold ’em into paper boats
and let the ink bleed out in all your fountains,

that i’d build a spray can (from a fire extinguisher//after Just’s instruction),
between 1 and 4am, (when the trains don’t run),
spray love notes on tunnel walls,
taste steel, xylene, acetone– sharp on my tongue,
&all early morning risers in the first train,
sleepy eyed, coffee2Go in still stiff hands will know
how maD i fall for you,

i take small shreds,
press ’em to your concrete breast,
&with a pencil rub your pattern onto them,
trace all the bumps&sinks like braille
until i feel you breathe– Br  e   A   t  He–
moist under my finger tips,

you knew that i would write–You,
sing you little freeStyle songs in empty tube stops
(pssssshhhhh), echOEs–
boun//Ce from grey tiled walls,

&you wink back at me

in the eyes of a little asian girl,
(her doll pressed tenderly against her chest),
the broken german of Ludmilla, the czech owner
of a small café
(who makes fantastic apple cake),
&in a young man’s empty gaze, ragged jeans and jacket,
pulling bottles from the trash,

you walk unbowed,
——-arms open, smiling,
and in the screeching of the trains,
i hear your song


Mary has us write letter poetry today at dVerse.. a letter form sun to moon, father to son, old self to younger self… wide open field.. doors will open at 3pm EST..


61 responses to “Dear Berlin// yep, kindofalovesong–

  1. You have brought Berlin alive in your letter, giving us many details of your complex relationship, letting the reader see the details that many may not see. As all relationships, it is complex yet very rich, and there is much below the surface.

  2. A beautiful tribute. When we love a place so much, we are bound to return. I find myself falling deeper in love with France than I thought possible. Each new village makes a rumble then settles down in my heart for keeps. 🙂

  3. I saw Berlin in 1977. It was a sad and broke place. I see the new pictures of the old city. Good to see the city come alive again. You are lucky. I would enjoy to see the old city again. Thank you for the amazing poetry.

  4. I don’\t know whether you have brought Berlin alive, but then I doubt that’s what a poem is really supposed to do. I read more of you in this than I do of the city.

    That’s one reason I write many more poems about cities I have never been to (Uppsala, Baku, New Orleans, Harlem…) than I do about Dundee.

  5. I love the writing of letters, folding them into boats and letting the ink seep in…like really leaving a piece of yourself there…a beautiful thought. Love how you really see and feel the city. A joyful poem.

  6. ah i like the intimacy with the city in this….and all the folded in bits of your painting lesson as well…lots of the city’s texture though within this…the last stanza…walking unbowed….really love that…and the people…the city is def hugely the people for me….

  7. O, Claudia! A love song to a city! Brilliantly detailed, some praising and some sadly loving as in my favorite stanza:

    i take small shreds,
    press ‘em to your concrete breast,
    &with a pencil rub your pattern onto them,
    trace all the bumps&sinks like braille
    until i feel you breathe– Br e A t He–
    moist under my finger tips,

    I enjoyed making that one take up space again, kind of a remembrance/forgiveness of events now past that sing back, that sing always as we get in deep, that sing louder and loud as we leave from the eyes of its citizens and the trains …

  8. I like the beat & personification of the city ~ My favorite part is the second stanza – graffiti walls & ink are my thing ~ Happy weekend Claudia ~

  9. “and in the screeching of the trains,
    i hear your song”.
    Overlaying the abrasive clatter of braking trains with the sounds of music reminds me of daydreaming in the aisle while waiting for my station. Lovely poem.

  10. Poets with cameras, poets with memories, do write the best love letters to cities, who need them to keep a veneer of warmth tucked in behind steel, concrete, & brick facades, touches & caresses & embraces from the humanity who erected them, and then mostly ignored them after the honeymoon. A wonderful tribute, and strong verse with dynamic, penetrating imagery; thanks for sharing, and for picking the perfect photo to illustrate it.

  11. You gave a wonderful tour of Berlin in your words. I traversed through the fountains and the trains and the cafe with a fantastic apple cake through your poem.
    Picturesque writing with sounds of the city also adding a good flow to it.

  12. …ha… a graffiti artist — rebellious but oh a true passionate lover oftenly misunderstood by the formal society… i love the sense. of freedom you channel here to us… and as always, Claudia, you’re a winner in describing something simple and then becomes stunning when touched by your wit…. loved this… & that photo which for me is really beautiful… smiles…

  13. my only visit in Berlin was kind of repelling… thank you for changing that image for me – the beauty you captured here is breathtaking. i should really visit that city again with your poem in mind…

  14. My “downtime” is busy time trying to play with Kindle formatting and editing the book. And because of smoke from a California forest fire not far from Lake Tahoe, no outside time which I need. Don’t know if enjoy is the right word…but it’s productive! Thanks for asking, Claudia.

  15. I think I have read your love for Berlin in other poems you’ve written… and this is just as beautiful (and again, it makes me long to visit that city). I found a special poignancy in the city winking back at the poet in the eyes of the three individuals you describe in the penultimate stanza.

  16. Connecting to people and the city brings it to a higher level. It is appreciating the goodness of offerings the city has. The city certainly is alive! Great write Claudia!


  17. You made me love it too, which is the mark of really good writing! Love the image of the city walking, arms open and proud. LOVE hearing its song in the screeching of the train. Fabulous write! Loved it.

  18. Claudia, this letter to Berlin made the whole city come alive for me. Your inclusion of the denizens of the city underscores its incredible diversity. I can just see you in the dead of night with your spray can… and I loved the rubbings of the concrete. BRILL. Amy

  19. So many part to this stuck out.. The visuals of poems written on paperboard with their ink running, the graffiti paint taste and marks on the subway walls.. Just splendid Claudia.

  20. Capturing the spirit of our love for a place isn’t easy, especially in any large and diverse city, but you did it with that jocund air of yours, “sing you little freeStyle songs in empty tube stops,” while not diminishing the sufferings of its denizens. The quick paced images, punctuation and line breaks all conspire to portray a gritty, complex, round-the-clock city deserving of a poet’s love. I’d love to hear you sing this out loud. Any chance? If there is an anthology of Berliner poems this would be a shoo-in. Keep ’em coming.

  21. Claudia, this is a delightful love letter. The energy and intimacy that you have with this city is jumping out of your words. Especially love rubbings and concrete breast and that it walks proud. Really enjoyed this!!

  22. electric in its city intensity so to speak. the notes, the celebratory adoration. i think i loved chicago that way when i lived there. this is such an urban feast it makes me think of my own city love. thanks:)

  23. You see in the city…its beauty even in those things some would see as symptoms of societal pain…you are indeed a romantic my friend. 🙂

  24. There is a pastry coffee shop on main street Burlington, Vermont;
    It’s the end of summer, and we see each other every weekend here and in Montreal. We should marry, but don’t. A time like this comes to mind, a time enough for romance.

  25. stunning and beautiful! each stanza drew me in…I thought I loved the first and then the second came and I was lost to the whole beautiful piece.

  26. Taking a moment to soak up a little claudia. Always a pleasure. Don’t going looking for something to read it’s all buried in my “unfinished” file 300 deep. You really are wonderful. ooxx