Zoo Station

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1993. Travelling at night, on the tube, with my cassette player in my ears, the rhythm section, guitar, bass and drum locking in with the clack of the tracks,tube, euro-rail,  going through a tunnel, getting dark then bright again. You’ll spend most of this summer this way, looking out at the countryside: England, Scotland, Germany,Italy, Hungary, Czech and Slovak Republic, new places as you push east, still with the same cassette tape. Arriving in Germany, Zoo station,  Berlin, exploded city as metaphor, ruptured pinata of vibrant color on top of an old Soviet era black and white, the colorization of an old movie, East and West Berlin, the world opening up to you as a young American, western freedoms and capitalism bleeding out from the hub, Berlin as heartbeat.

Train pushes forward, taking it all in, farm houses where languages change, but what’s been changed here, the more you see, seeping into your blood, the black and white parts of you changing, graying a little, becoming more fully aware, on this train, building you up, going strong, this last summer of youth. Fall means jobs, means responsibilities and roommates and taxes.

But what gets to you is that all of these beautiful places, even after that, what you remember are the times spent alone, watching it all fly by, wishing you had someone to share this with, so maybe what that trip was, not anything said before, but maybe that was opening a space in yourself for someone else to inhabit, the old eastern block, wilting away, the western party long over, what’s left but empty space inside you to be filled.

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