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September 9, 2004


it was raining and i was wearing my hurtful shoes - birkenstocks, a gift from london that had already caused me to bleed. my right foot, it seems, is larger in girth than the left...but leather stretches, i thought it must to accommodate the change from calf to cow. a loosening of one pip relieved the pressure but caused me to claw at the front of the sandal with my toes - exposing a new raw patch - a saddle burn on the top of the piggy that went to the market.

on the east side all the consulates are huddled together near the UN...close to the water and quick escape. There was a huddled mass outside the Ukrainian embassy, all smoking and looking at passers-by suspiciously, especially the one with the bloody foot and crumpled Fed Ex envelope used as an umbrella.

the metal detector didn't go off, thank god. I still can't walk through those things without being reminded of shoplifting an Al Jareau tape when i was eighteen - being led out of Crossgates mall in handcuffs past my mother who happened to have needed a new pair of shoes that day.

on the other side of the bullet proof glass they summoned Angela Terfloth at my request (Terfloth is one of the few names/words that sounds better in German than in English - "ich liebe dich" or "i love you" sounds like the death cries of a drowning snake). I'd spoken with her a few times on the phone, most recently the day before yesterday, regarding the process by which i could renew my German passport.

"I don't recall ever having spoken you to on the phone."

You could tell that she resented that I spoke English. I can understand German quite well and my accent is nearly perfect, but my ability to structure sentences properly or assign gender to things like butter and chairs is long gone.

I'm a dual citizen. my parents are German born and i was born in Ithica, NY while my father was on sabbatical in the states. An arrow of geese flew overhead as i left the hospital...whatever the fuck that means. I'd had a German Passport before, when i was younger, and had last used it to travel through Europe soon after my arrest. I had been advised, rightly, that a German passport would speed me through customs even before the EU formed. German proved to be an excellent language to know while i travelled, especially in Spain where no one seemed to know English. The Germans are voracious tourists, with a knack for telling locals where the best spots are to eat in the town they are visiting.

"Where is your old passport?" Angela was visibly frustrated with me.


"Did you report it to the police? You know German passports are real just like American ones, you have to report to the police when you losed (sic.) them"

you mean they aren't fake? not like that weird ass monopoly money you use? its like...a real document? no shit.

"I think it got lost in a move"

"Well, we will have to see if you are still a German."

i felt like dropping my pants and showing her my uncircumcised penis...a vestige of my heritage i had to endure in the high school locker room. "The hooded hog", "A snake with a turtleneck", all the boys with mutilated genitals would call my poor penis.

"I experience more pleasure than you, you've lost sensation." I would say.

of course i have no idea if this was true. I have been told though that many men in their adulthood who are circumcised long for the return of that morsel of skin... and it ain't easy to reverse the process.

so i have to go back. with papers and signatures, my foreskin, and pictures of my parents when they were younger. and all of it with the hopes of working in london, and showing off my calloused feet to the one who gave me my hurtful shoes.

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Comments (7)

I've missed this.

Posted by: safire at September 10, 2004 1:47 AM

OH! :D

London... :) London, London, London...

Posted by: Lala at September 10, 2004 1:52 AM

this is a VERY well-crafted piece of writing

Posted by: at September 10, 2004 7:40 AM

i deserved that.

Posted by: zefrank at September 10, 2004 11:07 AM


Posted by: at September 10, 2004 12:36 PM

Being German I completely understand the foreskin comment. I just never though about using it to my advantage to prove *heritage*.

Posted by: Knut at September 10, 2004 4:34 PM

This is a very funny story!

Posted by: at September 30, 2004 4:31 PM

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