They Do Know, Y'know

I want to tell you about my trip to Berlin. I want to describe the wild nites we had, watching the sun rise almost every morning, subsisting on pastries, vodka and fancy cigarettes, living a certifiably glamorous life. The important part is that I was reunited with my long-lost and unbelievably magickal friend La JohnJoseph.

And it's also important that I played some really fun parties there. I was really proud of my sets, and had definitely more than too much fun going out. The food was good. The people were good. The city, generally, was amazing. Many thanks to PORK and Chantal's House of Shame for having me, and to all the awesome people I met. Particular thanks to La JJ's wonderful friend Stevie who hosted me most nights at his apartment, in a giant glittery cuddle pile. He's picures below with La JJ.

La JJ performing his hit single at Pork, above. And me giving face, below.

Everything is different now. I sort of realized this when I arrived there. I had wanted to go abroad for years, specifically to Berlin. Sort of with this pipe dream of playing a show at a nightclub there. After years of hem-ing and haw-ing about it, I did it. It took forever, so much longer than I would have liked it to, but I did it. So my whole experience of the city, which is really just this wonderful metropolis, full of the runaway kids you'd find in San Francisco in the 1970s or New York in the 1980s, was so particularly dreamy for me. Literally a dream come true. One thing I really liked about it was that everything that everyone said about it was true. It felt nice to be in a true place, a real place. People there really do work odd jobs, or DJ twice a month, and pay their tiny rents for their ridiculously nice apartments. It really is possible to make a living as a painter there. It's sort of like the Land of the Lotus Eaters, it seems almost dangerous, too fun, too free, too relaxing, too nice to be as real as it is.

But it was sad, too. Maybe I'm just jet-lagged (we generally underslept all week, but because of the craziness of scheduling my flights back, I didn't sleep for like 40 hours straight), but since arriving back in NYC last night I've been pretty bummed out.

On one hand, it's sort of bittersweet for this little fantasy of mine to have come true. Normally, my goals / dreams / desires don't (come true). They are sublimated and then I forget them and then move on. But this one came to pass! So now is the tough part: waking up from the dream. Finding a new Thing I'd Like To Do, or Have Happen, or Be / Realize / See / Feel. And that's scary.

On the other hand, I'm sad for having seen another (nominally more perfect) way of life. How do you say "cognitive dissonance" in German? How can I come back to this life I have here? With overpriced rent, a job that keeps me away from my work and stressed out to the point of insanity until well after dark? How can I dutifully take on more paperwork, more responsibility, more heartache and listen to more of other poeple's problems? How can I justify going back every day to a life that I know makes me want to cease myself (sort of into the poetry of that euphemism)? How can I slowly gum another meal of rotten fruit, batting away flies as I gulp it down as quickly as I can so I won't be late to work? When I know that right now on Orianenstrasse the kids are having their 1-Euro espressos and discussing disco albums and later they're all going to meet at the party then the nightclub then the opening and then fall in love together? It is hard to know this and know that it's not where you are.

The sexy european pop star I cruised on the street. He took me home to his big empty zen apartment in "the bad part of Kreuzberg", which was of course immaculate to my Brooklyn slum eyes. After talking for a few minutes about his career, my career, introducing me to his cat and showing me the palatial house he lives in with enough room for his own studio, the flat he rents by playing (count them) two tiny concerts a month, we fucked in his apartment. Silently and efficiently. I marvelled at the certainty with which he fucked me, the same sense of wonder I have with everything I saw in Germany. Efficient, quick, well-thought out. I had my Isadora Wing moment with the toilets upon my arrival, this was different. My trick invited his cat to join us on the bed after sex and he gave me stroopwaffles and fancy german apple-juice and asked me what I was going to tell people after I'd died. (Sort of a cute problem with translation, I'm sure, but interesting and appropos nonetheless). What was I going to tell people once I've died? That I did a lot of paperwork? That I was really good at doing jobs I didn't like? That I made friends with people I couldn't stand? What was I going to have to show for myself? Songs I had not written because there wasn't time? What would I be remembered for? My patience? The ease with with deferral comes to me? My ability to withstand?

He complained about the homophobia of the city, but then walked me to the U-Bahn stop on Kottbusser Damn and in front of drunken teenagers with beer bottles empty enough to throw at us, kissed me full on the lips for at least a minute as the sun set. And I am thinking now about what I'm going to do when I die, who I'm going to answer to.

Mercury goes retrograde this month, so don't make any big changes. Don't sign any paperwork or begin any projects. Revisit the old ones, revise the dreams you've been having for a while. I'm going to get my teeth fixed. My next project is going to involve falling in love, I think. But I won't start it just yet. I have, in case you've forgotten, legendary powers of deferral. Or maybe you've forgotten. I certainly plan to forget, myself.


PAPS said...


Claire Cramer said...

Wow. I completely admire your achievement in actually having gone there and done what you wanted to do. I think at any time of transition people feel down, even when it's a good change. Give yourself time to recuperate and I'm sure you'll keep moving. <3

Tim said...

don't you just love what Berlin does to you?