The Ghosts of Berlin

Beware the ghosts of Berlin for they wander the streets at night, and their souls are carved in gold and stone. Beware the ghosts of Berlin they hunt the children who cross on red, and they laugh at the outsiders complaining of the cold. Beware the ghosts of Berlin who hiss at the controllers and regulators and march with the protesting masses. Beware the ghosts of Berlin who grow their hair long and hide in the old cemeteries and bars, the places of past performances. Beware the ghosts of Berlin who feed off time and energy unbeknownst to their victims how precious a commodity they so willingly offer for sacrifice.

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You will hear her coming umbrella clicking on uneven cobblestone. You will hear her laugh echoing down the stairwell into the clouded caverns of cigarette smoke. You will see her staring, unblinking, and grinning as she watches the mistress beat the leather-bound ones. She loves what she is and has no interest in others. Know this! And do not strive for her attention, because once her gaze is on you, you are entrapped and enamored. She will not stop until she has taken everything from you. Everything. She will bleed you. She will break you. She will be gone in the morning light and all you will hear is the sound of her umbrella clicking on the cobblestone as the rain falls in tandem. The sound fades in the distance, and your soul and dignity along with it.

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Handouts, worn paper cups, street bed, pfand depot, be warry of this one. Never alone and always accompanied, beware the companion. The familiar that tempts with hopeful eyes. You pay in time and sound. The loud clink of metal on metal grows stronger and so does he. You ignore the significance of the sound as the coin drops into the cup. And then, he opens his mouth to speak. You ignore, dismiss, and leave. Foolish one! You will be forever followed by small, repetitive sounds. Click-tick click-tick. If only you had accepted the “thank you,” the real currency of human politics. Click-tick click-tick. If only you had given him your time, instead of your money. If only, you realized the value of silence. Click-tick click-tick. But you will never be able to escape it and deep into the night you will inevitably hear the click-tick click-tick. You will never escape it, and he will never be the same if you go back.

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Ä is the roofi, the violent green, the 7 AM. Tantalizing you with tribal techno beats chain smoking behind the double-spinning offering table. Welcome to a different reality. The one where colors embrace you and music strikes you. But you will keep sacrificing yourself because it is all just good fun anyway. And, who knows! Maybe the perfect cocktail will help you ascend outside your physical form. You fool! You have left your body unattended and the formlessness will infect you. This drug will not leave your system, the ringing in your ears will persist, and this infection is incurable.

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Beware of them and their. Cackles and grins, “Sehr komisch nja?” Drinking heavily, dancing vibrantly, singing voraciously, and wearing nothing. Eyebrows arched high in a continuous state of perpetual curiosity. Whatever do you have little one? Whatever can I take from you foolish one? Entrancingly beautiful and enticingly inclusive. Sing with them, cry with them, love them, so they can absorb you into them.

 

Beware the ghosts of Berlin for they wander the streets at night, and their souls are carved in gold and stone. Beware the ghosts of Berlin for umbrella pfand and violent green spines like arches of curiosity. Beware the ghosts of Berlin for they feed off you and they are ever so voracious.

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