Spätverkauf Reudnitz - photo by Ana Ribeiro

Lockdown poetry: Trip to the Späti


The Späti is an East German institution. Your friendly neighborhood convenience store and even rest stop, open on Sundays and evenings when all other shops are closed. Though in Leipzig, they do tend to close a bit early in the night in comparison to Berlin – even when there’s no pandemic-related curfew. But that can be said of many bars in Leipzig, too.

Oh, the things we used to take for granted and now can’t do…

I have many fond memories of times I stopped by a Späti on the way to a party in Leipzig. And many Spätis have also been there for us during lockdown. Going to them offers me a brief respite from our current reality.

Ahoi Späti at Coppi Platz, Gohlis
Ahoi Späti at Coppi Platz, Gohlis – photo by Lisa Renner

Spätis transport me to the epoch when we could still stand and dance close to each other, enjoying together the magical randomness of Leipzig nightlife. Before we lost our innocence, so to speak. They also take me back to when I was a bit younger and hangovers (physical and moral) didn’t hit me as hard. Yeah, I’ve lived in Leipzig for quite some time now.

So this past weekend I went to a Späti and it inspired me to write this poem.

Trip to the Späti

A little bit of normalcy
on my trip to the Späti;
I can pretend the bottle is
for a whole group of friends.

I look and sound like Darth Vader
on my trip to the Späti
but the smiles behind the counter
make me forget it and

think of the times we’d stumble in,
the whole night ahead of us,
life an exciting enigma,
a Sterni on the bus,

random encounters to music,
strobes and words getting fuzzy,
then a dürum to end the night
(“Salat alles” and fries),

reset and do it all again,
thinking it would never end
but the hangovers did get worse;
the world moved in reverse,

we grew gray hairs collectively,
followed maps attentively
as grasshoppers covered the sky;
so I shut the blinds and

hide, play the lottery of life,
see hazmat suits when I close
my eyes, and when the doorbell rings,
pretend I’m not inside.

A little bit of fantasy
on my trip to the Späti:
It could also be located
elsewhere in Germany.

My glasses getting all fogged up
on my trip to the Späti,
but I still can spot Sterni
and overpriced cheap wine

that I only find out at home
is actually semi-dry,
its bitter-mellow aftertaste
reflecting lockdown life.

Late Night Späti on Arthur-Hoffmann-Straße 47, currently closed due to corona
Late Night Späti on Arthur-Hoffmann-Straße 47, currently closed due to Corona – photo by Heiner Uebbing

We are looking for stories! Want to share your own lockdown tales on LeipGlo.com? Please contact Editor-in-Chief Heiner Uebbing at heiner@leipglo.com.

A Global Studies doctoral degree holder and former newspaper reporter, avid eater, pseudo-philosopher and poet, occasion-propelled singer, semi-professional socializer, movie addict, Brazilian-American nomad. In this space, she will share some of her experiences and (mis)adventures regarding various topics, with special attention to social issues.

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