Re: [-empyre-] locative city, annotated space a
in response to the references to trains and berlin and displacement, i am
pasting a short story i wrote years ago while living in then west germany,
which might be enjoyable to some:
When I asked Hannelore if she'd fallen in love, I didn?t actually mean it.
We were in Berlin in November, the week the wall came down. It was chilly.
The city was grey. And Hanni wafts into the room in a flowered silk
pantsuit with a suntan from Spain.
?Hannelore ? have you fallen in love??
In from of her son she puts on airs.
?Listen to her!!! ?Have I fallen in love???
Her voice quivers on the edge of havoc. She is beaming, like Psyche in a
hailstorm. At the age of 53 her hair is platinum blond. Her snicker sounds
On a Sunday night, we board the train at the Zoo. En route home to West
Germany, you confess to me: you had a lover for two years in Heidelberg, a
doctor, and now a Spaniard in Malaga. We are half-lying across the seats
with a blanket across our legs. The train rocks tirelessly. Leaning
towards you, eyes half-closed, I breathe in your words.
When I was five, your presence was never this comforting. Your platinum
hair was bee-hived half a foot above your head, you wore big white patent
sandals. Your voice was immense. You came to get me once when I was small.
I hid in the closet. You announced to my mother:
?Naomi just pushed Baerbel down the stairs?.
The train rocks tirelessly through the vast, pitch-black plains west of
Berlin. We seesaw between a mundane reality and a vibrant subconscious,
each of us nurturing a buoyant vision. Tonight your brilliance, your
vision, becomes mine. I see pictures in the rolling dark: the black
Mercedes waiting for you in the rain, the afternoon sun through eyelet
curtains in Heidelberg. Then you talk about your new lover in Spain, and
you?re right: at twenty-three I can understand. But I find it easier to
conjure the black car pelted by rain than you in a sundress, sweating, in
timeless, motionless Avila.
We sway gently through Potsdam, Halle, Gera. The transitory nature of your
existence and mine intersect here, in this void, in this car without a
state. When the uniformed border guards ascend in the middle of the night,
they avert their eyes. I struggle to comply, to locate my papers.
Awake in the dark, we talk some more, and your silken hair swings about
your face. You lean over me, whispering although the two older east german
women across from us, watching us, don't understand.
Far above me on the wall, I saw a uniformed guardsman crying at his post.
I saw flowers on a parked Trabant on the street, and I saw a car ? a
Wartburg? in the dumpster. I watched two boys hack chunks out of the wall,
intent on profit. I was asked where the bank was more than once. There
were court jesters with pompadours roaming about. I was drinking or
laughing too much with Andreas and peed my pants on Karl-Marx-Allee, and
wondered what the street would be called after the party.
-naomi, november 1989
> a moving train
> a space between spaces, a no-location location, a locomotive location
>> >>To all eyes pointed toward empyre:
>>If you could pick one place in the world to use some form of locative
>>technology to "read" where would you choose and why? What place
>>fascinates you with architecture, natural forms, layout, decay and/or
>>It could be paris or a vacant lot.
> helen varley jamieson: creative catalyst
> empyre forum
mining the urban landscape
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