my first night here,
i glide through the streets
with forbidden rock ‘n’ roll in my ears,
reveling in the monochrome,
and search for the perfect concrete wall
to bang my head against.
i walk up to a Plattenbau,
where i see a couple framed
in a third-floor window,
sitting at a small wooden table,
a pot of tea between them,
their hands loosely clasped.
i watch them for several minutes
and let my loneliness ravage me,
then slam my forehead against the wall.
my head makes barely a sound,
and the bloodstain isn’t as startling
as i’d imagined.
i carry the lump around on my forehead,
tucked under my bangs,
hoping to find some man
who will brush them aside
and press his fingertips against the bruise.
the next night, i’m darting again
through the streets,
mourning the loss of my fading lump,
wearing a t-shirt that reads,
in red letters:
DEATH BEFORE DISCO,
when he walks by me
in a faded denim jacket with a rolled-up piece of samizdat
sticking out of his pocket,
and says, come with me —
i’ll change your mind about disco.
he pulls me into an underground club
down the block
where Miss You is pulsing
— the perfect bridge —
and my shirt suddenly feels glib,
so i pull it off and dance
in just my red bra and black leather pants,
flinching in ecstasy
as he brushes aside my bangs
and holds his forehead against mine.
he tells me he can’t stay
one more night on this side:
he’s going to scale the wall,
even knowing he’ll likely be shot.
but i won’t go with him —
i’m not interested in seizing
the easy abundance of the other side,
the Levi’s peddlers and porn shops
there’s nothing left to resist over there, i say.
the work is already done.