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There's poetry in German bureaucracy. (Photo: public domain)

Heartfelt poetry for the Ausländeramt

in Glocal/Poetry by

Playing with Authorities

Poetry by Gaby Bila-Günther aka Lady Gaby / © Berlin, May 2003

Lady Gaby at Neo Neo Dada, marching alone in the street, Berlin, September 2016. (Photo courtesy of Lady Gaby)
Lady Gaby at Neo Neo Dada, marching alone in the street, Berlin, September 2016. (Photo courtesy of Lady Gaby)

Inside offices I wait for my rights and feel obliged not to play the stunned mullet fool
I sign papers I know nothing about and tell them my name endlessly
Ya… Bila-Gunther mit t h… and u… e… in Australia es gibt keine umlaut
Behind foggy glasses they ask me if I want to bleib (stay) here for immer (always)
Immer is such a long dirty word
Americans and French and Argentineans surround me with tales on their tongues
Gypsies and Asians and Africans sit in another room isolated
And I still have my sense of humour after all this waiting

I sit in another warteraum (waiting room) without a number for the very first time and ask myself if it’s going to be alright and wait to tell the bureaucrats in which box they should put me in
I feel I should be on my knees praying
No pictures, no illusions hanging on the wall bout a better life here in Deutschland
Only posters of Euro notes you could never earn unless you are part of the legal working class
But they still call me a client after all

Behind doors stand ladies with authority
Behind their desks they look at passports and beat them with stamps and nod with disapproval
Where do I come from? From Australia
How did I get here? Not on a ship that sunk but on a plane that flew
Why are you here?
Let me see I answer…
For the Berliner Pilsner and not the Schultheiss
For the kunst (art) in the house
For the lust for the kunst (art)
For the dark cobbled stoned streets
For the schnell (fast) and sauber (clean) u-bahns
For the better frauen rights
For the anarchists and the autonoms (punks)
For May Day and Sylvester in Kreuzberg
For the Eastie Strassenbahn (tram) and not the Love Parade
For the Chance to eat the world up with my words

How do you plan to support yourself while here in Deutschland?
Ich bin ein Schriftstellerin was sonst? (I am a poet, how else?)


My name is Lady Gaby, a spokenword poet based in Berlin from Australia. I organise the poetry show The Poetic Groove on a monthly basis, in which we present international and local poets as well as music in between the poetry sets. Our openstage is very sought for as we like to challenge them and produce strong poems at 2 minutes each. I also host the radio show Word Bank on 88.4 fm, where I interview guests from the literary and performance scene in Berlin.

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