from the kitchen window i see the world

»I arrived in Germany the day they closed all the borders or at least the ones I needed to cross. The borders that demand a passport, the ones that speak of nation-states, the ones they speak of in the news. «

Giuliana Kiersz is one of the fellows who should have arrived at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in April. Due to the official Covid-19 restrictions she had to remain in a Berlin flat. In the poem from the kitchen window i see the world she shares daily observations: watching dogs in the streets, children playing, police. But she also looks into her inner being and reflects on feelings ranging from euphoria over a blossoming cherry tree to elusive desperate desires. More than anything else, she is occupied with questions about borders and boundaries. She could’t imagine … what’s reality now.

from the kitchen window i see the world
the world that surrounds me
in the time that i live in
from the kitchen window I see
squirrels that jump
birds that search for food
other windows

from the kitchen window I hear
the ambulances
the children running
the people who get drunk
in the park
the dogs

i see the sunlight on the walls of the buildings
i find my favourite time
the moments when things transform
become the afternoon

from a kitchen window in berlin i live

i am a house
the world is all that i see
from this window
which is my boundary

and sometimes i go out
to stroll
to see
to feel the sunlight
to walk on the grass
to see others coming out from their selves too
to meet
even though we’re strangers
we feel the afternoon
the wind
the flowers
and after a while
we go back
back inside our selves
we cross through a doorway
we climb up a staircase
we go to a window
to see if the world
is still there

i arrived in germany the day they closed all the borders
or at least the ones i needed to cross
the borders that demand a passport
the ones that speak of nation-states
the ones they speak of in the news

i arrived from argentina on a flight
of nerves
food wrappers
and throwaway cutlery

i heard a flight attendant say to a passenger
the word repatriated

is a country a home to go back to? a home to go to when everything falls?

i imagine we’re all afraid
feeling like running outside
feeling like sleeping all day
doing something with this time
a desperate desire
a constant beating
an endless urge
to understand
what is this time
and when was it that time

today is a beautiful day
and from the kitchen window I see
the cherry trees in blossom
now that i can go nowhere
i go out to look at the cherry trees
of a house
in the park i meet some neighbours too
who live downstairs
they have two dogs and always take them for walks
they film the little dogs as they chase one another
i wonder is it always the same dog doing the chasing
and the other being chased

ever since this began
i’ve been out running every day
i’d never run in my life
but there’s something about running
maybe the urge to leave everything behind
the urge to cross the world
as if crossing a park
full of children
and police
the society we managed to build

there are people sleeping in the street
and people who plant flowers in the flowerbeds
people like me who go out for runs
because we have no dogs
and we don’t know what to do with our bodies
we take them out
the world
is still
more or less
the same

what can we do to change things?

i think
those of us with the privilege
of looking through a window
are at least reflecting
on where
history has brought us
on who
we vote for
on what kinds of government
we believe in
on who
our neighbours are
on who
we are
on what
this world is
that we’ve built
where the word

what territories do we build our territories on?

when i imagined a project about Germany’s borders
i didn’t imagine myself on this side
nor did i imagine that the borders
would be closed
when i imagined a project about Germany’s borders
i didn’t imagine
that inside
and outside
would take on such dimensions
i didn’t imagine
of the doorway I cross
as a boundary
the boundary that separates me from the world

and i go out because i feel shut in
but i come back
because i feel uncertain
and i stand still in the doorway
in the only place i’ve found
to be.




Giuliana Kiersz
Translated by William Gregory