Today is a good day in the country of the living-dead—and I like the quiet when I sit with inverted feet at the centre of my room in Spandau. It is far from the shores of Berlin. Where no one visits for convenience or comfort. Where no heavy knocks on doors are followed by a hey girl, I was in the neighbourhood and unannounced visits. There is almost always a reason to say, hi. hello. how are you. why are you calling? what can I do for you today? over the phone from a distance. Friends don’t dare. Spandau is not Berlin, they say—you know? I live on a slope. At the tipping point, just before the fall, a periphery of sorts, thin like the margins on leaves right before Autumn cracks. My troubles are plenty. Prices are high, so I can’t afford this room & therapy next month. My walls are white. My mattress is on the floor —facing the peering sun and its horizon, east from the uncle’s eye mum warned you to be weary of. There is an upside-down cross on the wall next to an old frame of collected bones, hanging just above a window I peer from when snow falls and my room fades into cipher. Poof, it goes and me with it for a moment.
Two long tongues hang draped from the edge of one of the two longer walls to remind me of a long walk to freedom, Nelson Mandela and tiny prison cells and the ash of black skin. They are pink and grey and luxurious. There is a borrowed couch underneath, standing next to three single dead Orchids on the left and a table, the size of a rice grain on the right. They are virgin. All white. And hand-carved. The second longer wall is squeezed tight and synched at the waist by a straight line—dragged from the mouth of the room to a sitting windowpane as glass-eyed as a maiden in love for the first time. The wall is healthy—but carries nothing long enough.
The two opposing shorter walls carry fermented wine surfaces and skulls of dead things. Dead things: horns, goat-skin, three generations—the face of the woman who bore the woman who bore me, underneath three separate transparent firmaments of glass. Paths into other realms on walls—and worlds where women and men pour like honey, sweet—bubble of chiselled palm-wine. Mirrors of themselves from times when they too owned limbs which ached from carrying baskets and curses from generations prior. They are now generations preceding through death, transfixed.
There are blue water droplets cascading from the ceiling, clinking, chiming, calling to the seas. If you listen closely, you can hear them. My body is plopped at the centre. Legs enclosed by three flickering blow-torches—coloured with marble red, yellow and a touch of stardust. The floor around me is covered with cocoa seedlings. They smell of Maple syrup, hibiscus blossoms and my grandmothers kitchen in the spring.