Federico Federici: December 2018 Poet of the Month
The Wall Jumpers
I shake my head. Dead days lie ahead of us at the trial.
We would wander aimlessly long after the shutters were up, unable to work or sleep. We had hardly spoken in years.
As she disappeared, after sitting with me on a pavement around Alexander Platz overnight, I must have discovered what wall jumpers felt like – who knows from what heights fallen. No shelter. No heaven. All books and papers burnt, all lines broken, all nails cut, all suspects confessed at once. Fervent and guilty, but the suffering was forbidden – only the slight bite of truth. Could I make a living from truth?
It was snowing, a heavy rain-snow piling up and melting on the place where we were sitting. We had also traced the word “reef” under the steep oppression of a street lamp at the corner of a dark alley, just four hollow capital letters like “free”. Unconfined thoughts, perpetually. We had to think what we couldn't say. We had to write all in a different way. Then we missed the meaning.
“Jump!” – she said. “Let us jump to the other side once!” – she suddenly repeated. “One way and the other, you see? The far edge of sky is unbalanced from here...”. No matter raised that night. We did. Her small-boned fingers hatched, her hands flapped, tried to articulate a breath of wind but the dark was quicker to fold the dark and seized her. Gates and stairs falling, bars and flaming boughs, huge rows of trees breaking out. Her face looked serene at least few seconds before.
Shouldn't we have taken the best of both worlds? Shouldn't we retain something of the siamese city shaking its ribs?
Each breath takes longer now. I must repeat things also on behalf of her. A pile of stones remains on the line of the winter Spree two decades later. A cold cell under the bridge, emptied of water in summer.
I'm sitting in the same place like one who has been sitting here for ages, knowing very little of his own absence from this world. I have finally gained this neutral position neither wished nor learned.
Who took Berlin instead of us that night? The black hole tanks? The murderous flocks of diving Junkers Ju?
Federico Federici is a physicist and a writer. He lives and works between Berlin and the Ligurian Apennines. His works have appeared in «3:AM Magazine», «Maintenant 3», «Raum», «Sand», «Stadtsprachen Magazin», «Semicerchio», «Magma Poetry», «The New Post-Literate» and others. Among his books: “L'opera racchiusa” (2009, Lorenzo Montano Prize), “Appunti dal passo del lupo” (2013) in the book series curated by Eugenio De Signoribus, “Dunkelwort” (2015), “Mrogn” (2017, Elio Pagliarani Prize), the long poem in english and german “Requiem auf einer Stele” (2017), “Liner notes for a Pithecantropus Erectus sketchbook” with a foreword by SJ Fowler (2018) and “Paraula de tenebra”, Catalan translation of “Dunkelwort” by Marta Vilardaga (2018). In 2017 he was awarded the Lorenzo Montano Prize for prose.