In days of old,
before the war,
I fantasized in ticket stubs,
plotting alpine excursions ‘cross Austria -
the thin leather plate of my shoe
grazing dense, craggy terrain
on a walking tour
while snowy-frosted peaks
glinted by foreign moonlight.
I was young, you see,
and optimistically pixilated
in miraculous-blind naiveté kisses
to Baden Baden and Berlin divine,
its renaissance menschen
and the gemutlick fraulein
awaiting my return on track #9.
The crisp apple of her cheeks singed
rosy by the hiss and coo off engine steam
mind - a crooked mix of Shelley and Hegel,
heart, unfettered by prejudices yet to come.
Her sudden appearance, was the milky white center
of virgin chocolate, pliable -
apart from the passing parade.
We chose to stroke our Russian vodkas
and eavesdrop Strauss by candlelight…
each sway and pulsation, mood and tempo
the tussle of an evaporating existence
laid cold now and buried –
within hollow historical records
kept brittle, yet warm
in the prickly heated embers of my brain.
I cannot bear to dream on that pillow –
meine Liebe, mein Leben, meine atmenseele
straining that fragile haunted melody
blotting out the anschluss
though not its tinderbox memoirs
my forgotten youth.
Hence, when I imagine you now,
I dream inside a postcard Europe,
that frosty-alive November mist
poised natural on some ancient station platform,
properly aged before the war,
or in treasured glimpses…
and Stuttgart rolling past my window sill.