I have ten minutes here,
Less than ten in this press of people, before I go through those gates
to tell you that, Berlin was beautiful, a free celebration of all love
The Self-Owners, The Island, The Girlfriend, The Schwanenberg.
Then under the strict shadow of a worded paragraph I am now a number
Scratched into my skin, my name pressed into records,
between pages and pages of names.
Before Berlin was lights and love and music, gay bars and open study
Here is mud obscuring my identity,
photographed from three angles,
in grim stripes and triangles
we become homogeneous herd, corralled into camps.
The gates open, we move closer, the fences swallow the mass like an indifferent whale.
My time is short to tell you so much.
To tell you my name.
My name is Gad Beck, I rescued my love from a camp. At the gates he couldn’t leave his parents.
He walked back in and died with them.
My name is Pierre Seel, I watched the guards set dogs in my 18-year-old lover.
Rip him skin from skin.
My name is Albrecht Becker. At my trial I said ‘Of course, everyone in Hamburg knows I am gay.’
My name is Heinz Dormer. My name is Carl Gorath.
My name is Joseph Abert, Leo Clasen,
My name is Rudolf Brazda, Gotfried von Cramm, Frederich-Paul von Grazheim, Wilhelm Heckmann, Kurt Hiller, Karl Langer, Annette Eick, Henny Schnermann, Lotte Hahm, Otto Peltzer, Kurt von Ruffin.
My name is amongst a thousand, thousand names. Crinkling paper, rustle records
All that is left of a free city of lights and music and laughter
And then we had a new Chancellor.
How does life go on when I have nobody left?
Is my community, my family, echoing my grief for me?
I am at the gates.
Suzanne is an #ownvoices queer poet/writer from Derbyshire. She was a Writer in Residency working with LGBT+ communities in 2017, shortlisted for Little Tiger Groups ‘Pride’ Anthology and a #WriteNowLive workshop attendee in 2018. She loves her wife, their grumpy cat and spoken word nights.