Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

The Border - 1962 - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

Adrenalin.
Berlin. At 3 a.m.
Location Checkpoint Charlie.
The sign says 'YOU ARE LEAVING...'
Yes, that is the big idea.
A piece of cake it is,
but not yet ours to swallow.

Yes, uniforms give me the creeps.
Intimidating.
Oozing power
and reeking
of the bayonet
designed for kidneys.

We should be right,
assurances sound hollow.
And tremors have to wait for other times.
Then 'Step inside',
a voice of razor sweetness.
Commands and lights and lie detector fun.

Now comes the captain.
Walks like Colonel Klink.
He whips his pistol out
to point the muzzle
at my left eye.
There is no time to worry,
wet your pants or cry,
the captain quietly says:
'You are a spy! '

Shit! What a thing to say.
I reckon he is guessing, bluffing
or perhaps he knows as these guys do,
the most incredibly covert and secret stuff.
The problem is that everybody knew
that his authority to shoot
was good enough.

I stood my ground
and squeezed my anal sphincter
so tight that jaw and wisdom teeth
were grinding.
And he mistook
the brave expression
for defiance.
Of honest and well-founded origin.
And now he smiled.

'You're free to go
but tell me why you travel,
from East to West
at 3 AM so often?
'I cannot sleep at night',
I meekly said, he nodded.
And went to fry a bigger fish
waiting outside.

For: All those we did get out and those we couldn't.


Comments about The Border - 1962 by Herbert Nehrlich

  • (6/15/2005 3:13:00 PM)


    LOve 'the bayonet designed for kidneys'. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (12/11/2004 9:57:00 PM)


    Extremely well done.
    Who would've envisioned the wall coming down back then
    (Report) Reply

  • (12/11/2004 4:35:00 PM)


    Thanks for that insight H (Report) Reply

  • (12/11/2004 4:59:00 AM)


    Ah sweet, sweet Berlin, how we miss thee so... (Report) Reply

Read all 4 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: travel, fish, fun, power, sleep, night, fishing, smile



Poem Submitted: Saturday, December 11, 2004



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]