Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Prenzlauerbergers

We were the chosen we stood by the gate
Told immigrant Wessies that they had to wait
Our faith was in Stalin, we believed in the state
And we’d guard Checkpoint Charlie as we’d guard our own fate

And yet we watched Ossies with hearts full of fear
Leap into the chaos we kept far from here
And the young Russian soldier looked on with a sneer
While we killed fellow countrymen getting too near

Yet when the day came we could not understand
Why our fellow Ossies would leave this pure land
Why they ran to the wall and destroyed it by hand
And left us a confused and a leaderless band

We’d given our hearts and we felt let down
And that was the night Dietrich went into town
He’d taken his rifle; He’d made little sound
“A straightforward suicide,” when he was found

But we all knew the message he sent to The State
We gave them our lives and they pawned off our fate
We did what they told us; they told us to wait
Wait as the chosen and stand by the gate.



When I was in East Berlin, I had the privilege of helping with an after school program in Prenzlauerberg, teaching baseball to kids. Of course, since I'm an American I will have some strong attachment to baseball right? Anyway, one of the points that interested me about Prenzlauerberg in general was that it was one of the closest sectors to the Berlin wall. Often they were the guards who "kept West Berliners from coming in." So all of the Prenzlauerbergs were the most committed to the communist party, and when the wall came down they were the most devestated. Thus, the poem above was born.

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