H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






Falling asleep in Berlin


It’s odd to fall asleep in a foreign country. The sounds that come from somewhere down

the road are unfamiliar: the sirens wail with an irregular tempo and in a different pitch;

the yelling that makes its way over the window sill and into your bed arrives with strange

syllables and an odd accent that makes you feel like you have water in your ears.


But you are relieved to be in a foreign country, to not have to speak to anyone, and to not

be spoken to. This language barrier allows you a rare privacy and a break in the stream of

information that your mother tongue lashes at you daily.


When you can’t understand what is being said, it’s as if you have been given the gift of

not having to care because you are excused from participating and therefore are not

expected to have an opinion on any subject. You do not have to read the newspapers and

learn how horrible the state of the world is. After all, the words make no sense, including

food packages, road signs and traffic patterns; however, these are things you can get your

head around eventually if you wanted to, unlike the state of the world.


I hope to finally get some sleep here. The Germans want to forget the past; I also want to

forget the past. So we have this in common, and this alone is all we understand of one




[Originally published in NHS 2010, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs10/index.html.]