Next Berlin

There must be another Berlin like this one
with its television tower pricking the sky
at night, a U-Bahn to carry our hopes
to their scheduled station, underground bodegas
selling bread and roses. The cabana bars,
the endless streets, the brief cafes—all of it
the same, only in that Berlin I learned German,
kissed you through the green nights of late summer.

In that sure and impossible Berlin, I’d have left
nothing unsaid, and moreover I wouldn’t have left.



Weil es nämlich irreführend und gefährlich ist,
wenn etwas U-Bahn heißt, das über unsren Köpfen ratter…
Element of Crime (Alle Vier Minuten)

The underground rumbles above our heads –– sometimes
even names fail us and we are left without words.

The track lifts above parks, across rivers, through dim boroughs
of graffitied shops, past backyard vegetable gardens.

Maps give unconditional assurance that the line will circle back
to where it started and we ride with blind faith in that future tense,

railed over the rooftops of this short city
and also trundled beneath because there is a reason for the name.

Destiny is so close to destination
and transport arrives every four minutes.



Matthew Landrum lives in Detroit. His poetry has appeared in Agni, Image, The Baltimore Review, and The Michigan Quarterly Review. He holds an MFA from Bennington College.



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