Lass’ sie nach Berlin kommen
and the both of us here
weighing ash-tray grey, hands
in the deep green sea and you
a pittance and me making covert love
in musty bedsheets older than the Wall, you say –
and all I know of borders are hemlines.
From high diving boards we fall,
feel and fall. And the day will like a dozen eggs
fracture clear and yellow into the
street shoaled with acid-washed
kids and radio waxing poetic on words
which dissolve grandly on our tongue –
Aussöhnung. The aeroplanes set down
like whiskey – Sputnik taunted the gulags
– it does violence to the human spirit.
We extinguish the television,
let out Gorbachev blank and hesitating
from behind the screen; let him
lo(o)se. Shirt sleeves bell out hymnals
I am told but the lyrics I clean forget,
in Charlie’s arms and the gun tower blank.
I do not fear the way I should.
Plaster pale your hands
draw the curtains. I am
(rheumatic) down the stairs, spin of tongue
and fistfuls of air deflowered
and nesting in my gullet,
in the fluttering throat of the thing.
In the face of this
I am from behind riot gear and do not. I do not,
do not say I do not say ever at all I love you.
I love you ever at all but extend my wrists,
my fingernails, and the cement grains, they cling.
‘Lass’ sie nach Berlin kommen’ is published by Pyramid Editions as part of Alison Graham’s debut collection, Tin Can White Gown.
Listen to an extract of ‘Lass’ sie nach Berlin kommen’ here: