BERLIN POEMS is the story of an interlinguistic love affair set against an indelible cityscape, an archaeology of unrequited passion, a frenzied attempt to remember against the inevitable flux of time. In it, language is at once a failure (it miscommunicates or can't communicate), a metaphor for near-misses (Landrum is gifted at creating significances in the sonic resonances within and across languages), and a recourse against both failures and near-misses, insofar as it affords the ability to re-imagine the past, to "say all this now that it's too late to matter."
Matthew Landrum is a writer, speaker, and teacher. Born in 1984 in Lafayette, Indiana, he studied writing at Bennington College. His work has appeared widely in literary journals including Agni, Image, The Baltimore Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, Asymptote, and The Michigan Quarterly Review. His translation of Katrin Ottarsdóttir's book Are there Copper Pipes in Heaven? is forthcoming from The Operating System. He lives in Detroit where he teaches at a private school for students on the autism spectrum.
WHAT WE DIDN’T SAY
I never learned to speak the language you dreamed in. You never asked me to stay, to trade this life in for another.
Once I asked you to run away to the Baltic with me but didn’t bring it up again. You’ve never once spoken
your boyfriend’s name in all the years we’ve known each other. I’ve taken this as a sign but didn’t say so.
On a resurrection morning outside a café, you laughed and leaned in. And for a moment, my hand on your cheek,
you in my arms, a lightness thinning the sky. I can say all this now that it’s too late to matter.