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KEYS TO THE CITY

I: A New Career In A New Town

II: Dream Life

III: Paintings As Prayers

IV: Late Summer Evening

POETRY

Rose Crowned Evenings

Moments Of Pure Ashtray

The Personalised Circus

Berlin Undressing

Blind Children On Western Streets

Lucifer Says He Won't See Me

Say

Absentee Note

Boy

Christmas Curtains

Fountains

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Swans On The Surface

Girl Smoking On Balcony

Stained Glass Window

Terrible Vision

The Insurance Was WILD

The Sea's Smile

Van Gogh's Lights

The Disappointed Prince

SHORT STORIES

Tectonic Plates

Turkish Pizza

Cuddle Parties

A Night At The Circus

The Catch

Chekhov In Kreuzberg

A Stolen Dress

Two Contract Killers Get Arrested

My Uncle Dick

Death In The Cafe

Performing To The Curtain

Getting Past The Curtain

OTHER

La Traviata

Babylon Berlin

Living With Samuel Beckett:

An Anti Essay

MUSIC

CONTACT

CHEKHOV IN KREUZBERG

 

SEPTEMBER 2013

 

 

 

 

 

I turn right by Kottbosser Dam and walk a while by the canal, looking for a quiet place to sit and read. By the end of Burkenstrasse, I see a small cafe called Silberloffel, and sit outside and order a coffee.

 

As the afternoon becomes the evening, I read the short stories of Anton Chekhov. While they may be aesthetically beautiful in their succinct and subtle form, reading Chekhov is by no means an enjoyable experience. It is akin to standing in front of a painting for several minutes; in little time, all has been shown to you, but only a fragment has and can be revealed. Lawyers, criminals, soldiers, judges, fathers, maids; these Chekhov introduces to you. Their conversations and actions, while initially seeming trivial and unimportant in their content, are ultimately tragic - the tragedy being that these people have no choice like the rest of us but to live and breathe in this world, scared of death and imprisoned by reality. It is a despairing experience reading these short stories, perhaps mainly due to the hopeless position of being simply an observer - just as Chekhov is simply presenting; even he is paralysed in his limitations and incapacity to intervene with these poor souls he has no choice but to put out on show.

 

As I stop reading for a moment, I notice a couple sitting to the left of me. The man, with a mane of frizzy hair and a calm, intellectual manner; and the lady, now past her prime, but with endearingly bronzed skin and rich black eyes that tell of years of honest love. As he sips his beer, and she her flask of proseco, and as they delicately tackle their bourgeois meals, plates served with interesting colours and herbs, peppered with delicate European nuances, and as they playfully fondle each other upon leaving - a German embrace of lips, necks and hands in the outdoor cafe evening, I wonder if they realise how happy and human they look.

 

The teasing notes of the fading grey sky reclines to a dark purple night, and it is now that the neon dress of the street is emphasised. A solitary streetlight, orange and old, stands like a wise matron to the neighbourhood, rolling her eyes as a group of swaying young men stroll by, arms here there and everywhere. One is clutching a large plastic bottle of coke, with something infantile and vulnerable in his desperation, but his face is too fuzzy to suggest any kind of childlike innocence. I smile at this, finish the rest of my coffee and carry on watching for a bit, but I’ll leave soon, for there is a chill in the air now, and the candle on my table, enveloped in old wooden paper, while still burning passionately, is now a solitary candle, and needs to sleep like the rest.