Over cobbled streets. Through public parks and gardens. Past large empty buildings, cold and ornate, like tombs. By fences and plywood walls with advertisements for brothels and cigarettes.
In Berlin, I quickly break vows. My will, so strong back in New York, seems to buckle and disintegrate beneath the pressure of a new city.
And Berlin feels that way – new. It feels that way even as you pass the old buildings, with new scaffolds all around, harbinging a new spurt of construction that will bring new homes and new people to fill them.
The art is new and fresh, too. Not the shock that they sell on the streets or in the shops, but the tags and graffiti the kids put up at night.
Some of it is even written in English – the new Latin.
I find excuses to be alone and wonder where my feet will lead me. For a moment I follow this person, then that one. And it’s not long before I’m just walking anywhere,
And I could disappear.
I think about how slippery of a slope it is, to go walking, and then have a thought just pop into your head that you could disappear in a place like this. No need to let anyone know. Sell what you have and get a plane ticket.
People must do it all the time.
Never heard of again.
Tell people a new name. Tell people a new story. No one will ever know.
The train comes surging into Stadtmitte. I get on and watch the girl across the aisle who watches me, in between starts and fits of conversation with a friend.
Down the platform and down the steps. To the street. Where Tony and I stand, waiting for the gates to open.
It’s an odd sensation.
When I am alone, I walk and look for cracks. For a place I might skip into, or through.
From windows above, a child watches me.
And people come and go around me as I pause to photograph some piece of vandalism. Like an edying stream, they pass on.
But the more I see, the more I look and take it in, the more I feel a need, welling up in my chest and clawing up my throat, to get out and shoot, shoot, shoot.
Ideas need to be formed. Projects thought up, sure. But at the heart of that mania is an impetus to go out and do. On shoestring budgets. Bartering if need be. And when everything else should fail, roaming the streets at night like a wild dog.
Maybe at thirty I am already past middle age. Maybe I don’t have all that long left to leave a mark, to reach someone, to be truly heard, seen, or felt.
There is nothing to delay. The important thing to do now is to keep shooting.
No matter what comes.
Every spare moment. Every nickel and dime.
And just keep shooting.