things left on the floor of a hostel dorm:
old orange peel, grocery bags with dirty clothes, shoes pressed against each other like sleeping puppies, an empty bottle of juice, flecks of scrap paper torn away from notebooks, bread crumbs, large plastic bins slid under the beds like giant flotation devices under giant airplane seats, the light that spills from the open bathroom door, the dust of a hundred nations slipping into the corners like the pollen of tennis shoes.
also, cigarette butts, dozens of them. smokers snuck out to the balcony to smoke alone, each broken cigarette was a moment alone left behind on the ground.
i left the ground on a bicycle, and ground my tires around the square where all the books were burned just before the jews and gypsies burned, and on the ground i saw the memorial. i rode over the bunker where eva braun agreed to marry the dying dictator just before she agreed to die for him. i looked down on the ground where berlin’s notorious son was burned on the ground, and left his ashy dust behind.
i chatted briefly with american construction workers joyfully building the new embassy, covered in dust and leaving footprints of muddy concrete all over the floor of the bier hall.
everywhere i look, I see things left on the ground, things left on the ground, things left on the ground.
berlin – you dirty, pretty thing – someday the street sweepers will come for you, and wipe away everything that makes you beautiful. the men will come with brooms and scrub the spontaneous spray paint love-letters off the brick walls.
tomorrow, i will be seeing museums by myself. i wonder what i will see on the ground.