There is only one photograph on this page taken in a little pub called The Bulgaria. One of the best friends I made in Berlin, Paul Karr, and I used to hang together and once in a while would frequent this quaint little bar, owned by Teal. Paul's fiance, Niki, worked there, and while she tended bar we would sit and sip suds until she got off. One night as we sat there minding our own business two locals sat down with us to argue politics of war. The photo, which cost five Deutschen mark, was taken by one of the German photo freelancers that wandered into the bars from time to time. The conversation got a little heated, and here's what followed.
Once upon a German night
In the city of East and West
We left the barracks for a night on the town
Adventure, party and booze was our quest
Schnapps and beer, women and song
We cared not in what order
Hell, we were there to serve and protect
A few miles away was the Communist border
While Niki was working at the Bulgaria Bar
These two guys had a couple days off
An innocent night out is all we wanted
A guy named Karr and a Spec called Goff
As the night wore on and drinks flowed freely
Pride and tension began to mount
"Don't call us stupid G.I.'s you sonofabitch,
around here in this town we count!"
There was no room in our lives for ignorant people
Especially when we had their overall cure
They weren't going to get away with that crap
Of this we were going to make damn sure
As the four of us rose and left the table
That fateful night brought a sickening sound
Outside the bar as a few fists met faces
Those poor dumb sonofabitches did hit the ground!
That, and another one of my written pieces, was published in a book called
"INSIDE OUT." If you are not into poetry, or verse, skip to the next page.
One more piece follows below if you care to read on.
DER STUTTGARTER PLATZ
In the military world of lies and deceit the soldiers' relief was Stuttgarter Platz
in the divided city of East and West Berlin. Cognac bottles were highlighted by neon signs
flashing their enticement, and the beer flowed like liquid gold pouring over a waterfall.
While the cities' bureaucracies were ill at peace this soldiers' sanctuary was safe
from all harm. "Schnapps und ein Bier," was the evening cry as we tried to forget the day's
work in a field of subterfuge, intrigue and an unjust political war of governmental
and monetary necessity. Der Platz was unlike any other city district in the world, yet it's
decadence of euphoria and pleasures of the night were universal. We drank and saluted
our allies of freedom, then whistled and staggered from bar to bar, our arms forging a barrier
of justice and defiance, which no one dared question. The women there were beautiful, except
one whose face was misplaced by her voice and a fist of malcontent and disillusion. She
should have remained soft and unspoken. On der Platz we were no longer soldiers in the
machinery of uniformity and rank, we were comrades protecting each other from the spies of
cold and indifference. "Noch ein Bier, bitte," then we go home. The Wall was strong, yet it
began to crumble when the need for freedom was finally heard, and the voice of opportunistic
dictators died. All the rainbow colored buildings, flashing lights, smell of stale beer, and
cheap perfume are embedded deep in those who sought refuge and a few moments of unabashed
fantasy and pleasure on der Stuttgarter Platz, in the now undivided city of Berlin.
Okay, enough prose and "stuff," on to the next page of photos as we are close to ending the tour of days in Berlin, 1965-1968 as seen, and felt, through my brain. I have another book about to be published called, "INSIDE AGAIN." Neither of the first two books concentrate on Berlin or Germany, but are excellent reading. My next book, in the works right now, will detail my three years in Berlin, and later life through marriages, divorces, and "stuff." At my Berlin juncture I was just beginning to study photography seriously in the sixties, after having free lanced for a small newspaper. But enough of that for now, let's go!
Photo Page Zwolf