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poetry The Wall

Brooklyn poet Ally Malinenko offers a sardonic/graphic expose of East Germany's nostalgia for the old days.

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The Wall

By Ally Malinenko

There are all kinds of drawers

in the Deutschland Democratic Republic museum,

things you can pull out

and examine,

a mock up kitchen

a pair of soviet jeans

created to counter the levis

much like the Trabi

with it’s sad two stroke engine

was created to counter the Beetle

telling East Berliners

you don’t need what the west has

because we have our own.

People waited 16 years for a car made of plastic.

There are journals in there too, about how

all the people in East Berlin had money

but nothing to buy,

nowhere to go

except where they were told.

They had nude beaches,

a small thumbed nose to the communists.

I love the DDR museum

because much like a plastic car

it feels as though this couldn’t be real life

How could an entire city be divided up

like so much cake?

How could a wall be built that would cut through

cemeteries, and apartment buildings and lives?

How? I ask smiling, fascinated

because none of it seems real

But then, there she is,

leaning out her apartment window,

trying to leap to the other side,

before the wall is finished,

missing the net

landing hard

on the pavement

her head

thankfully

cracked open

so she would never know

how much worse her life was going to get.

Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collections The Wanting Bone and How To Be An American (Six Gallery Press). She is also the author of the novel This Is Sarah (Bookfish Books) and the forthcoming poetry
collection Better Luck Next Year (Low Ghost Press). She lives in Brooklyn and tweets at @allymalinenko mostly about Doctor Who.