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.]