Sarah's Poetry

The purpose of this blog is for some understanding that as I began my transition for all purposes, I had to reconcile some emotions that had been following me since my years in Vietnam. This small group of poetry began with "A Soldier's Time", an emotional catharsis starting in 1968 after I returned to the United States.

These poems emerged at the same time of Sarah's appearance.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Check Point Charlie

“Checkpoint Charlie”

One gate numbered as Charlie

Guarding the division of two worlds

One German city divided by the Wall

One city surrounded by darkness.

One gate standing between lives

Dominated by political terror.

Entrance to a path infused with the dark

Oppressive cold hands pushing at your shoulders

Sending chills down the neck and back

An opening to times past.

Like a faded black and white photograph.

Where the past dominates the future

Lines for a single loaf of bread,

Lines for a pair of shoes

Like the discarded pair left in the trash

New department stores with empty shelves

Broken escalators going nowhere

Plaza’s empty of crowds

People with empty eyes, frozen faces

Shuffle down streets with broken spirits

Looking through the bars and wires of the wall

Looking to the west

Looking for freedom

Looking for hope over the gate

Looking past “Checkpoint Charlie”

February 20. 2002

If you have never had the opportunity to walk through "Checkpoint Charlie" which was the most used gate between East and West Berlin during the time of Communist Occupation, then you miss a most chilling experience. It wasn't just being check by military police, you were given instructions on what to take, what to say and not to use US dollars the feeling of sorrow, pain, oppression was greater when you walked the tunnel to the Eastern Checkpoint, where your group was photographed and counted. It was going back in time, all the buildings still showed the artillery marks. For the first 100 meters you passed deserted buildings and dead echos. Such a strong sense of sadness, of blank stares in people we passed on our way to St. Marks Square in the middle of East Berlin. We have exchanged our US dollars for East German Franks as we got a better rate on the US side than we would have exchanged them 1 for 1 in the East. Which all the East Germans wanted.

As we walked around E. B. we came upon a line of people waiting to get into a shoe store to get 1 pair of new shoes. We saw a lot of shelves empty which should have had new things to sale. We did get a chance to buy some recordings and wanted to buy some instruments but didn't have the money or a way to get it back home.

When the wall came down the military moved the whole building to preserve it in the new museum which was being created. So you can still see and visit 'Checkpoint Charlie' if you can get to Berlin.

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