Freitag, 18. April 2008

Verbrechen gegen den Frühling/ Crime Against Spring (publ. in

Verbrechen gegen den Frühling

Jedes Viertel hat seine Täter

Der Metzger von Brooklyn

Die Mörder von Harlem

Der Henker von Queens

Das Manhattan Massaker

Die Opfer im Union Square Park

Dreiundzwanzig Hortensien

Zwölf Rote Hornsträucher

Zehn Stechpalmen

Sieben Rosenbüsche

Vier Sassafrasbäume

Drei Schmetterlingssträucher

Zwei Maulbeerbäume

Meine Lieblingsmagnolie

Des Winters überdrüssig

Sitzen wir

Neben der bronzenen Ghandi Statue

Und beklagen die Zerstörung

Unseres Zufluchtortes

Crime Against Spring

Each neighborhood has its perpetrators

The Butcher of Bay Ridge

The Elmhurst Executioner

The Gansevoort Girdler

The Mastermind of the Moshulu Massacre

The victims

Twenty-three hydrangea bushes

Twelve Chinese dogwoods,

Seven roses of Sharon

Four sassafras

Three butterfly bushes

Two sycamore maple trees

My favorite magnolia


We sit next to the Ghandi statue

And bemoan the destruction

Of our sanctuary

Crime Against Spring (publ. in

Sonntag, 13. April 2008

My Super and I (publ. in

In February of 1999, I moved to Harlem. Bringing down the garbage for the first time, I met our middle-aged super.

“Hi, I’m Angela. They call me the Clean Nazi. I really appreciate how you separate your garbage. You do a great job tying up your recyclable newspapers and cardboard boxes,” she said.

After my initial shock of witnessing a black woman calling herself a Nazi, I answered: “Hi, my name is Anna. Thanks for the compliment. I’m from Germany. Recycling is a religion in my homeland. You might go to jail if you don’t separate your brown from your green and white glass.”

“My kind of country. Welcome to Harlem. How do you like it so far?”

While I stuffed my laundry into the dryer, we talked. Angela, from Trinidad, didn’t mind White people moving to her Harlem. “We have too many people with poor breeding the way it is now.” Our conversation turned personal. We found out we were the same age.

“I hope you don’t mind me asking, but are you menopausal?” she said.

“I stopped menstruating a year ago.”

“A drag, isn’t it?

“I wake up at four every morning and can’t go back to sleep.”

“Do you take hormones?”

“No, I believe in really good quality dark chocolate.”

“You’re my kind of woman.”

On my next trip down to the basement I brought her some of the Novesia Goldnuss Schokolade from my mother’s care package. Angela inspected the green and gold wrapping, the see-through window revealing dark chocolate with gigantic hazelnuts. “Hmm, that looks different,” she said as she ripped the package open. She put the first piece in her mouth and closed her eyes in blissful surrender. I have never had sex with a woman, but Angela looked positively orgasmic. I felt like a voyeur watching the chocolate and hazelnut dance around in her mouth. Finally she opened her eyes.

“Good Lord, this is divine. I’ll throw my Hershey’s away for this. What makes this so good?”

“The right kind of fat. Nothing but cocoa butter. No fillers and additives,” I said.

Angela licked her lips. “How can I make it up to you?”

“No need,” I said, “I just wanted to give you something to take the edge off those menopausal mood swings.”

Then I threw the bright yellow Ikea bags with my freshly laundered clothes over my shoulders and made my way up the stairs.

“Wait a minute,” she stopped me. “Do you have any plans for Saturday night?”

“No, not really.”

“Want to come to my birthday party? We’ll have a male stripper to entertain a crowd of menopausal woman.”

Of course I wanted to go.