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WHITE ON WHITE: a film noir — BERLIN
rufus corporation

BERLIN

There’s a confusion in going. Stepping out into the black and blue morning before light, the wet streets and the cold damp air, before the black birds; a violence of destroying something; a rawness in ripping the body from bed, from warmth, from loved ones, from all the familiar skins, and going. I shudder and panic, and go. And exorcise it later, weeping like a lamb, when I know it will have been worth some cost, and not just fear, before the black birds. On the train listing somberly inside the rising light, even and gray, and then the inhuman machinations of the airport. The yellow signs and bells and the soft spongy crackle of German over hidden loudspeakers. A primal comfort in the forming and shifting masses of others, hurried and embracing, gathering broods, advancing in packets and lines. There are other people here. Absurdly exiling themselves like me at this brutal milky hour. Mothers and babies and surrendered fleshy husbands. Fluid spindly antelopes, all elbows and sinew. Domesticated action figures commuting to Frankfurt. Affordable supermodels, hyper-eyed, with ornaments and Turkish tans, somehow. Bewildered adolescents breathing through their mouths like turtles without shells, looking into a mental space devoid of things, corneas just functioning as the flow of bodies moves them toward the metal detectors and x-ray machines. Everyone stripping themselves. No one creature should be accused of resembling any other. Every object, every system, is painfully unique. The opposite is impossible, and systems presuming this, erroneously and myopically, collapse and burn out. Just people described poorly, blurry colors and nerves, packed into vacuum sealed cylinders, and launched; I am comforted at this hour by our common strangeness. Burning, and after-burning. On the plane I purge the adrenals with coffee, and sleep. I don’t remember it. I am flying.

by Jeff Wood