Literature Jörg Menke-Peitzmeier

the red lettering
on the little snackbar
diagonally across from my hotel
as in even the smallest German city
my Turkish
was insufficient
to understand
what had brought the owner here
over twenty years ago in any case
it wasn’t love ask
it was the first word
I’d noted in my Turkish class
Köfte sweet and sour
Börek with peanut sauce
Peking corbasi
a clash of cultures
on my tongue
and in my heart
twice a week
when I saw the Bosporus
on the picture across from the counter
and remembered
that the water in rivers
elsewhere is blue
Medical guest
my name in Chinese
the only question is
who heals whom here

you small cement bride
on Münsterland’s southeast edge
whom no-one ever asked to dance
so you seemed to me
when once a year
with great-aunt Lisbeth
we walked down Lick Street
as we kids called the North Wall
where there was an ice-cream man
even Straziateller was here
not an Italian word
and Pisstazie more than a typo
now I hear about you again
almost forty years later
in Nanjing of all places
where a Goethe-Institut staffer
raves about you at a dinner
as about a young girl
I‘ve never met
that’s how small the world is
even in the gigantic Middle Kingdom
and I make up my mind to
pay you another visit
they say there’s
two ice-cream parlours Italian now
in the pedestrian zone
one of which is the Gelateria La Luna
the Spaghettieis a dream
the owner a Turk
globalization à la westphalienne
so I ask the waiter
if he’s got Italian ice cream for dessert
my first faux-pas out of homesickness
which I’ve a hard time forgiving myself for
over lily bulbs with sugar and cream

Jörg Menke-Peitzmeyer

b. 1966 in Westphalia

Studied drama at Folkwang-Hochschule in Essen

Graduate of Leipzig University’s German Institute for Literature

Author of over thirty plays, including Steht auf, wenn ihr Schalker seid (Hello, Hello, We Are the Billy Boys), Abstiegskampf (The Relegation Battle), Der Essotiger (The Esso Tiger), Erste Stunde (“First Hour”), Getürkt (“Cheated”), The Working Dead

Author of plays commissioned by Grips-Theater in Berlin, Theater der Jungen Welt in Leipzig, Junges Schauspielhaus in Zürich et al.

Numerous grants and prizes, including the Autorenförderpreis der Landesbühnen (“Regional Theatres’ Prize for Most Promising Young Author) in 2006, Deutscher Jugendtheaterpreis (“German Youth Theatre Prize”) in 2016

Novel: Billy the Beast, 2017, Ullstein Verlag

His plays are published by Theaterverlag Hofmann-Paul and Verlag Felix Bloch Erben