Tanja Šljivar

Tanja Šljivar, born 1988 in Banja Luka, holds both a BA and MA degree in Dramaturgy from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, as well as an MA degree in Applied Theatre Studies from Giessen, Germany. She is the author of full-length plays How Much is Pate?, Scratching or How My Grandmother Killed Herself, We Are the Ones Our Parents Warned Us About, But the City Has Protected Me, All Adventurous Women Do, Regime of Love and the short plays Stillborn, Self-Sacrificed and Europe – The Death of a Saleswoman which were published, publicly read and produced in professional theatres in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Albania, Spain, Poland, Austria and Germany (Deutsches Theater Berlin, Schauspiel Stuttgart, Theater Dortmund, Theater Paderborn). She also writes short stories, radio plays, screenplays for short films and texts in theatre theory. Šljivar co-wrote the script for the full-length fiction film The Celts, directed by Milica Tomović. She won several awards for her playwriting, most recently the prestigious Sterija Award for the best contemporary play in Serbia, the MESS Market Co-production Award for All Adveturous Women Do in Bosnia, as well as the nomination for the 2017 Retzhofer Dramapreis for the same play in Austria. Her plays have been translated into over ten languages.





Aber die Stadt hat mich geschützt

1 The title of the play is a paraphrased quotation from Reiner Werner Fassbinder’s 1978 film In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden. This was filmed in Frankfurt-am-Main and the play takes place in the same city. I felt that it was nice and appropriate for the title to remain in German. Translated into English it would be “But the city protected me”. Fassbinder used the plural rather than the singular: “But the city protected us”

The action takes place in Frankfurt am Main on 18 March 2015. It takes place in Frankfurt am Main on the day that the new European Central Bank building is opened. And it takes place in Frankfurt am Main on the day of protests against everything that this phallic, glass forty-eight-storey building should represent, protests against grand concepts such as Capitalism, the Dictatorship of Capital, like Germany’s economic and political domination within the European Union. The city moves through the text and the text moves through the city. March in Frankfurt am Main is an idea which could change at any moment. The drama has five scenes. This should not be changed. 


2 This monologue is given at minute 79 of Reiner Werner Fassbinder’s 1978 film In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden by the character J. Smolik, the chauffeur of Anton Saitz (with whom Elvira, before she was Elvira, was in love), who became wealthy through unlicensed construction, by purchasing and demolishing slums and building skyscrapers in Frankfurt am Main. The city of Frankfurt and its buildings and its then mayor and its streets and officials and police officers protected him in all of this. The quotation translates into English as: 

Previously no one had given him orders. Those were the times. We bought old houses and emptied them. It was pretty difficult at times. Believe me on this. But in general, we still always managed it. We would let the prices of these slums fall. And we would build anew. Skyscrapers in the main. And then sell them for a good price. Great. Sometimes there was some anger about this. That’s normal. People are envious. But the city protected us. 



Dramatis personae:

ŽELJANA THE WAITRESS, a girl with cubic zirconia on her nails



Mr. Tesla

Sorin Ivascu

Iosif Stalin

And also MIKI EXPORT-IMPORT, 52, a businessman from Loznica

And also OLD MAN SAVO, 77, a pensioner, formerly an employee of IG Metall

And also NAOMI KLEIN, 44, who has come to Frankfurt from Canada, specially for the protest

And also a TV REPORTER

And also the squares, streets, traffic lights, skyscrapers, bridges, museums, river banks, river, Hauptbahnhof, zebra crossings, pavements, cafés, patisseries, Starbucks, art school, small museum on a bridge, park on the riverbank, horseshoes on café walls, planetrees, blue and white glass on the tall buildings, the blue Euro symbol with yellow stars on Willy-Brandt-Platz, the Yok-Yok kiosk and the 280 skyscrapers of Frankfurt (as CITY OF FRANKFURT)



The body of a naked girl, with cubic zirconia on her nails, is on lying on the pavement in front of the new European Central Bank building. TV Reporter, next to the body.


Standing next to the dead, naked body of this nameless, unidentified girl, next to this body on which only the cubic zirconia are still recognisable, we can safely say that we have proof that capitalism tramples over bodies, we have proof that capitalism leads to people dying, we have proof that capitalism always uses people’s deaths to accumulate capital. This girl’s head is shattered on the pavement, everything around her is blue and glass and tall. She too is blue with bruising, and her bones have been smashed to pieces as if they had been made of glass and scattered all over the pavement. The buildings around her are tall, but she is short. The monstrous buildings around her sparkle, the zirconia on her nails sparkle, albeit less brightly.




Željana the Waitress is on the roof of the European Central Bank, while everyone else is on the streets of Frankfurt.





From the air, my Sarajevo looks like a little dot of light and a heap of mud, while from the air my Frankfurt looks like a huge ball of light and a heap of asphalt. From up here, from one hundred and eighty-five metres, everything is simple and understandable. I have understood everything and made this decision myself. And I had someone to protect me. The city protected me. 



I burned, today I burned beautifully, most beautifully, I burned today, but I protected her. The protests are at no. 20 Sonnemannstraße, in front of the glass, blue forty-eight-storey building and in front of its forty-eight-storey sister. The protests are in front of the towers, almost like twins, the protests are at no. 20 Sonnemannstraße, very close to the flat and big and wide and beautiful river that is in my name, though my name is not in the river’s. 

They are walking along the streets in front of the Dom and Römer,

they are walking along the streets behind the old opera house,

they are walking along my beautiful, flat streets.

The protests are where eight police cars were set alight,

the protests are on Römerberg and in Innenstadt and in front of the Alte Oper

the protests are also in my flat, beautiful suburbs, where people have family lunches and set fire to HGVs

the protests are in my Sachsenhausen

and in my Bornheim, and in my Eckenheim, and in my Eschersheim, and in my Fechenheim.

The protests are on the Internet too.


Gas entire Israel

Fuck capitalism fuck communism


tremble America your end is near


love germany and its people, dignified


Tesla is like Kosovo = Serbian

Muslims smell like piss

Fuck entire universe


one big fantasy

and fuck this protests

they’re doing nothing

if you know where Frankfurt is

fuck you all religious pussies


any certain belief system is wrong, the banks are fooking you and your future up, and you are talking about allah, god, and other shit people don’t suck, just our worth system can suck


This is so sad instead of rioting and confronting the police, they should be rioting and confronting non-whites in Germany


Hitler caput!3


The demonstrators stink. Their armpits stink. And they stink because they have spent a long time travelling from other cities, by train, by bus, by car, by motorbike, by bike to reach me. And their crotches stink and they are torching me so that I too might stink, that I might stink of petrol and corpses and the carcasses of dogs, but it isn’t that easy. She alone is fragrant. For this occasion she bought her Magie Noire perfume in me and now she is shattered on my pavement; in all of me she alone is fragrant. 


I have a special message for the ECB today: YOU are the true vandals. You don’t set fire to cars. You set the world on fire.4 


My lorry, which says Miki Export-Import on the side, something that was then crossed out and the name Željana sprayed over it in pink, is burning, anything that is in me is mine, anything that ever touches me is mine, I remember this, I know this, anything that scratches me is mine, anything that ignites me is mine, anything that drops a cigarette butt on me is mine, anything that spits at me is mine, anything that builds me is mine. My lorry, which says Miki Export-Import on the side, underneath the word Željana, sprayed on in pink, is burning.

One part of me is smoking a cigarette

One part of me is called Miki

And says:


I said to myself, Miki, you’ll make it in the West. I said to myself, Miki, you’ll be the boss. I said to myself, just be strong-willed and that’ll be that. I said to myself, Miki, you’ll have fifteen lorries. I said to myself, you’ll have eighty-eight employees. They call me Miki. And I said to myself that I would call the company Miki after myself. When you see a lorry going past that says Miki on the side, you’ll know that’s mine. When I was little, everyone said to me, young man, the West is the promised land for you. When I set off, my mother sprinkled water after me for good luck. But there you go, this girl has screwed me over, and this fucking city has screwed me over. But whenever a lorry goes past and it says Željana in pink letters on its side, you’ll know that that’s also mine.5


We have a choice between democracy and capitalism!6


My Mercedes S-Class W220 is on fire. 

One part of me is burning. One part of me is burning beautifully, most beautifully.

One part of me is called Old Man Savo

One part of me is smoking a cigarette

One part of me says:


The fucking Germans have organised all this very well, everything going to clockwork. And I was good at organising the smuggling of this car. I brought the guy to the border, to us in Gradiška to get the customs done quickly. It had to be, I organised all this, all because of the girl, all she talked about was that car, like she was obsessed. But, fuck it, there you have it – she won’t get it.

I was at the protests too. I put on my Muji scarf that cost me 10 Euros in the Christmas sales and my Massimo Dutti jeans that cost 100 Euros, and a Massimo Dutti T-shirt with three little buttons down the back that cost 10 Euros in the sales, I was proud of that, and my Mona leather bag, I won’t say how much that cost, my shoes are also expensive, well, sort of, but they’re good quality, so I’ve worn them for five years and that means they don’t count. When there’s a bit of sunshine, like today, I put on my purple Trussardi glasses, about 150 Euros, that mum bought for me. With a value of nearly 900 Euros in clothing alone, I am standing on Hochstrasse and shouting, surrounded by other bodies generally wearing clothes that cost as much as my own, I am standing, shouting and singing A – ANTI – ANTICAPITALIST.


Those people, who are the same as me, who are in me, who are walking around me and marching and setting fires around me, who are singing in me, they hate all my skyscrapers, they hate all two hundred and eighty of my skyscrapers. But most of all, more than all that glass and steel and cement and concrete, most of all and above all else, they hate the European Central Bank.7

But she, she who is also me, she loves me, she cares for and caresses me. She stands on me, she stands on my building, the tips of her fingers tickle me and I laugh happily and the liquid from her hole falls on my building and is smooth and sticky and warm, and again I laugh happily. 

Eight police cars were torched in the protests, but two other vehicles were also torched, the police cars were torched in the city, but in the suburbs, my flat and beautiful suburbs, an HGV, a lorry which had Miki Export-Import written on the side, underneath Željana written in pink, and a Mercedes S-Class W220.

Why did they torch cars that were not police cars and that were not even in the city centre, that were their own private property, why did they torch something that didn’t belong to the state, something that belongs to them, and yet still belongs to Frankfurt am Main, why did they torch a lorry that says Miki Export-Import on the side, something that was then crossed out and then Željana sprayed over it in pink, a lorry that when I feel it on me, I know that it belongs to Miki, a businessman from Loznica, why did they torch the Mercedes S-Class W220, they torched it because they were desperate, they torched it so as not to torch themselves, they torched it to torch me, they torched it because she loves me more than them. 



Commerzbank Tower


Westendstrasse 1

Main Tower

Tower 185




Deutsche Bank I

Deutsche Bank II


Euro Tower

City House

Frankfurter Büro Center

Messe Torhaus

Japan Center

IBC Tower

Westhafen Tower




I took a long time choosing, I thought for a long time about which building I loved most, which building is the most beautiful part of what I love, which building could look most like Haris. From a height of one hundred and eighty-five metres, Frankfurt am Main looks like New York, Frankfurt am Main looks like Sarajevo, Frankfurt am Main looks like Haris, but most of all, Frankfurt am Main looks like me. The river flows like my blood, and all the lights on the tall buildings are like my eyes, and the pavements are like my skin, only softer, and the planetrees on Zeil8, in the wind, are like my hair. I am standing up here, and down there cars are burning, I am standing up here, and down there the little dots of people are protesting. I am naked and it is nice and everything is available to me and I myself decide on everything. 
I decide to jump.

3  All lines taken from the live-stream chat of the Blockupy protests in Frankfurt on 18 March 2015. The complete footage can be seen on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7gfyZ5we3w
4  Part of a speech by Naomi Klein at the Blockupy protests in Frankfurt am Main on 18 March 2015. Footage of the whole speech can be seen on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7LDfjgT6To
5  Part of this monologue is taken from an audio recording of an interview I conducted with patrons of the Torta café in Ostend in Frankfurt am Main. The audio file is called STE-015.wav, recorded on 18 March 2015.
6  Part of Naomi Klein’s speech at the Blockupy protests.
7  The building that is symbolically (and literally, given its size) the thematic centre of this play is 185 metres tall, or 201 metres with its antenna, that was built in the architectural style of Deconstructivism a building whose construction cost approximately 1.4 billion Euros, and was designed by Coop Himmelblau, the building from which Željana the Waitress, the girl with cubic zirconia on her nails, jumped.
8  Shopping area in Frankfurt am Main, with beautiful rows of planetrees



Dramatis personae:
ŽELJANA THE WAITRESS, 22, a girl with cubic zirconia on her nails, she is mentioned, but she is not here, although she should be at work, she isn’t, and we saw earlier approximately where she is 
MIKI EXPORT-IMPORT, 52, a businessman from Loznica
and also GRANDFATHER 1, owner of a failed bra factory
and also GRANDFATHER 2, attempting artificially to stimulate his excitement
and also OLD MAN SAVO
and also YOUNG MAN 1
and also YOUNG MAN 2
generally all Bosnians
and of course, CITY OF FRANKFURT
The action takes place in the Gute Stute café, where Željana the Waitress, the girl with cubic zirconia on her nails, worked at the bar while she was alive. The subject of conversation among the regular patrons of the café is like a metaphorical Wachstum – the economic policy of growth, but in actual fact it is really Željana the Waitress. Furthermore, in keeping with Wachstum, everything in this scene is growing. The amount of alcoholic beverages being poured is growing. The amount of pressing of the colourful buttons of the slot machines grows. The desire for sex with the absent waitress in the café cellar grows. The skyscrapers of Frankfurt grow. And in Frankfurt, in the real Frankfurt, they grow daily. Whenever I come by train, I really can see with my naked eye how they are growing. The audience should also be able to see this on stage. If the skyscrapers could grow on stage in front of the audience, I would consider that fantastic work by the director or set designer.
Whether the growth is natural or artificially stimulated is less important in this scene. Thus money can be pumped into the European Union monetary system, old men can take Viagra so that their penises will grow, the buildings’ growth on stage can be some sort of optical illusion or video footage.
And yes everyone in the café is in love with Željana the Waitress, who is no longer here and will never be here again.
There are some parts of me that stink worse than a dog’s carcass or stale human urine, there are parts of me where dogs in the street eat human flesh, there are parts of me called Bahnhofsviertel, there are parts of me that stink of stables and the skin of immigrants. There are parts of me that I myself prefer not to look into, where only mares and idlers go, to warm each others’ hairy bodies. If I want, I can also take a good look at my arsehole here, a look at what oozes, fluid and stinking, every day from my bowels, and that isn’t money, and isn’t protests, and isn’t light or museums or skyscrapers or glass, if I want, I can also look into the Bosnian café Gute Stute10. I don’t check and I don’t understand everything in me, my ulcers and migraines, my haemorrhoids and infections, my inflammations and herpes and tumours and pus. I do not check my stables, but I can sense them and I can look at them. They eat meals that stink, and they munch on bean stew and pork ribs, they eat the peanuts that come free with beer, and they drink brandy. I have no idea how they entered me, and now they simply won’t leave. They entered me because they have been raped, set on fire, killed and someone who makes decisions about me, and I don’t know who that is, felt sorry for them and let them in and now I am food for them instead of their being food for me. They eat peanuts with pork ribs and dip my buildings in fat to make them easier to swallow and digest. But it won’t be that easy.
How’s it going in Frankfurt? How’s it going in Frankfurt? It’s good, we sleep until midday and go for a walk in the afternoon. We’re a team here. Anyone who has a business is doing well, anyone who doesn’t is a failure and that’s that. It’s good here, there are people here from all over the former Yugoslavia and no one meddles in any kind of politics, you see. I had a factory here, but I failed. I only sold bras and I failed completely. Trade. I had, do you know what I had? I had a designer from Sarajevo, but he didn’t do it well Women from thirty to eighty-five, that was my target group. I had a somewhat different plan. No lace, no silk, no black, only plastic and white and makes the tits bigger. I had a shop in the city. I had business. It went well, at first. I registered a growth in profits and then… then everything went tits up for me. Now the Krauts are giving me a sponsor for finances. Again the Krauts sub me for a bit, they give me a bit of Hartz IV11 a bit of this, a bit of that. Because you have to fail three times. I failed once, so I’ve got two more times to go. You have to fail three times and then they throw you out. Then it’s finished. So that’s how I failed, while I had my target group of women from thirty to eighty-five, I worked well, because they only want to have big tits, they don’t have to be firm or pretty, just has to be obvious that they’ve got ’em. And then I rushed into making a collection for this girl, black, silk, lace, with a hole over the nipple, I was really fooling around. And I didn’t advertise this well and I failed. And that was the first time I failed. The second time I failed was when I brought her the unique creation that I had the guy in Sarajevo make for her based on my instructions, with the nipples peeking out and two golden tassels hanging from each black cup, that’s what I imagined, but when she refused to accept this gift, the earth swallowed me up. And now I’m drinking brandy, waiting to fail for the third time, so that I can go back.12
Because today you’ve got Women’s Secret, you’ve got Yamamay, you’ve got Intimissimi, you’ve got Victoria’s Secret, you’ve got whatever you want. But no, the old man fell in love and wanted to go into competition which couldn’t work.
I’m an expert on the Balkans down there. Politics. Politics. Yes, politics is important, very important. I don’t work. It’s not right to work. No, no, it’s not right to work. You know, some people work, some people don’t work. That’s not right. It should be everyone. Either everyone should work, or everyone should not work.
How do I live? Well, a bit of this and bit of that. That’s how it’s been my whole life, here and there, and now I’m getting ready to go to Kuala Lumpur, and who knows where after Kuala Lumpur.
I’m A-grade material. I’m respectable, logical, realistic, 100 per cent.
It’s not fraud, it’s easy to commit fraud, you can always do a bit of this and that, and bit by bit that little initial stake grows into fraud. It was only with her that I couldn’t pull anything off. I tried everything. The suffering I went through for that girl… that’s God’s honest truth.13
I was at the strike in Bonn. I’d never seen anything like it in my life. Twenty-five thousand people striking, for fuck’s sake. And then they set off down that street. All the workers were there. IG Metall from all over Deutschland. All the workers. We were all in Bonn. Oh I don’t know what year it was, damn it, it was, it was twenty years ago. But it shook the country. But those Krauts, how fucking organised are they? They come by train. Fucking trains coming in, trains picking us up from all parts of Germany. Train comes in, unloads, it just goes there, and another train is already rolling in. We were striking for a pay rise. Something like that. I think we got something like five percent. And now someone says that I’m supposed to go to these protests today. You know, for the opening of that huge building. And these protests have a Reihenfolge14. Like you’ve got a timetable. So, you’ve got a fucking timetable of where to gather, at what time, there’s no room for anything accidentally not going to plan. And then you’ve got those guys who torched the cars. I reckon that even that was according to a specific schedule. So it’s 15:04 and according to plan I set fire to the car that I wanted to give to her. She was always talking about how she fucking wanted a Mercedes S-Class W220, and like a fucking fool I buy her one, OK, I did some wheeling and dealing, the Montenegrin helped me, like all of them here in the café, we’re a team here, people know that, and our guy down in Gradiška did the customs and then there’s the fucking car outside the café, with a blue bow on the bonnet, and she’s not here.15
Old Man Savo sets fire to the Mercedes S-Class W220. Not as an anti-capitalist act of terrorism, but as the act of an enamoured old man who has gone soft in the head.
I bought a box of Viagra. It’s said that the Krauts are artificially stimulating market growth, and I’m artificially stimulating the growth of my cock. So, I’m sitting at the bar, and we all knew already that the girl was a little tipsy and that she was somehow in love with the city, we didn’t realise how, and fuck it, we didn’t know whether it was with Sarajevo or with Frankfurt, or with Sarajevo, what we miss in this city, what we had there, if there’s something of Sarajevo in Frankfurt, or nothing of Sarajevo in Frankfurt, or something of Frankfurt in Sarajevo. And that’s it. And then all of us, dead drunk, sang to her together.
Together we grew, oh city, you and I
The same blue sky gave us our verse
Under Trebević we dreamed our dreams
Who would grow quicker and who more beautiful.
You were already great, and I was born, 
From Igman, with a smile, you sent me a dream,
The growing boy fell in love with you then,
And here stays connected to his city.
Wherever I go, I dream of you
All roads lead me to you
I await your lights with longing,
Oh Sarajevo, my love.16
((Zajedno smo rasli grade ja i ti 
isto plavo nebo poklonilo nam stih 
ispod Trebevića sanjali smo sne 
ko će brže rasti ko ce ljepši biti 
Ti si bio velik a rodio se ja 
s Igmana uz osmeh slao si mi san 
dečak koji raste zavolio te tad 
ostao je ovde vezan za svoj grad 
Bilo gde da krenem o tebi sanjam 
putevi me svi tebi vode 
čekam s nekom čežnjom na svetla tvoja
Sarajevo ljubavi moja))
And she would grieve a bit, but it was nothing, there’d be brandy and beer on the table again, free peanuts, and we would grieve a bit too sometimes, and it was nothing. We’re a team here, everyone knows it, we don’t care.
Well, the old man managed to save for twenty years, back from the protests in Bonn when they raised his pay. He saved, saved, for a house, saved, saved, none of us knew for what, and after the girl started working here at the Gute Stute, since she was always going on about the Mercedes S-Class W220, we all learned by heart what her favourite car was, he told her that he would buy it for her and he stumped up all his money for that Mercedes S-Class W220. So he bought it and now the girl isn’t here. I gave her a gift too, to ward off the old man. I said to myself, I’ll call the company Miki after myself. When you see a lorry going past and it says Miki on it, you’ll know that it’s mine. Well, I crossed out my name on one of the lorries and wrote her name, I used a pink spray to write Željana. And when you see that, that’s mine too.
Miki Export-Import sets fire to the lorry that says Miki Export-Import, that has been crossed out and Željana written over it in pink spray. Not as an anti-capitalist act of terrorism, but as the act of an enamoured old man who has gone soft in the head.
I brought her a vibrator shaped like the European Central Bank, it’s a double vibrator, an awesome product, I found it in the Bahnhofsviertel, you get one that’s forty-five centimetres long and the other that’s forty-eight centimetres, and they can stay connected for, like double penetration, but you can separate them too. Since she’s not around, it’s left to us, so we’ll see what to do with it.
Well she was a strange one. It is what it is, fuck it.
And, as usual, since the waitress hasn’t been around for a while, the men, who have all in some way and for some time been really, truly in love with her, now that she hasn’t been around for such a long time, slowly begin to think and talk about other things.
All of us came for a month or two, to lay the foundations, the first tiles.
Some go back. Some don’t go back.
We’ll go back in a box.
I won’t be going back, not even in a box. The only way is maybe if they burn me and shove my ashes into that ECB vibrator so that the girl can at least benefit from me when I’m dead.
There are those among us who were born here, so you were born here, you’re a foreigner.
This is a country for thieves, for idlers, for shitheads.
You’re a nice, well I can’t say thief, I can’t say idler either, you’re something like Njeguš.17
Why am I here? I don’t speak German, and I’ve been here for eighteen years. I don’t speak, I don’t speak, I don’t speak, in fact, I have no desire to. And it’s superfluous.
Women. They come and go, and sometimes stay. There are women all over. Listen, I like men.
Well, that’s honest. There’s no shame in that.
There’s no shame in that. Women? I’ve had, I’ve had two or three of them, one of them turfed me out.
The last one turfed you out.
Not the last one. What do you mean the last one turfed me out? Come on, who could turf me out? This is how it was, when I was four, I didn’t listen to my father. From when I was four until now. There were lots of them, but only a few long-term relationships, only three. I wouldn’t turn around for the president. If Merkel were to come in, I wouldn’t turn around, but when that girl started working here, I stood up every time she approached the table bringing us beer. Out of respect. There you go.
You don’t speak German, but I passed the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade. I’ll say it again: I passed the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade.
You’re invalidating marriages of two men or two women.
I’m only interested in black guys, I’m not interested in anything else, just black guys.
Well, each to his own, and you enjoy then, and that’s fine.
Of all of us here, no one works, apart from you.
They work, they work, there are people here who work.
You sleep until midday, and then go for a walk in the afternoon.
We’re all on benefits. We all have flats for free, we get money to live, there’s no country like this one.18
Now it no longer matters which of them is talking. They can all speak, and the lines can be assigned to the actors as the director wishes.
I entered on the sly
I was in the camps, raped, burned, killed, roundabout, and now asylum
When the war started, we all came, and at that time you didn’t need a passport or anything
Through the forest, over the hills somewhere
After one hill there’s another hill
Then a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth hill
Then you get rid of your passport when you arrive, they can’t send you back, they don’t know where you are
They wanted to send him back to Kosovo
And him back to Bosnia
You can stay, you can leave, it’s all the same, it’s your decision
Listen to me, don’t leave under any circumstances
And after the eighth hill there’s a dump with as much paper as you like
This one here is an Abgeordnete, what d’you call it, a representative of Herzegovina
They didn’t let me into from there
But now that I’ve got in, I won’t ever leave again
I await your lights with longing
Oh Frankfurt, my love19
9   Quotation taken from an unsigned text on an Ökologische Linke party flyer which I obtained at the Blockupy protests in Frankfurt am Main on 18 March 2015. Translated into English: In capitalist centres low growth is currently stimulated artificially by the central banks flooding the market with cheap money.
10  In English: Good Mare
11  Translator’s note: Long-term unemployment benefit
12  Parts of a monologue taken from an audio recording of an interview that I conducted with patrons of the Torta café in Ostend, Frankfurt am Main. The audio file is STE-015.wav, recorded on 15 April 2015.
13  Ibid.
14  Translator’s note: Sequence, order
15  Parts of a monologue taken from an audio recording of an interview that I conducted with patrons of the Torta café in Ostend, Frankfurt am Main. The audio file is STE-015.wav, recorded on 15 April 2015.
16  Song lyrics taken from http://www.yu-midi.org/tekstovi/viewitem.php?j=8861#axzz3ZllVFREH, the whole song by Sarajevo songwriter Kemal Monteno is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPpOpy2CSYU
17  Old Man 2 says Njeguš, but clearly means Petar Petrović Njegoš, the most significant Montenegrin poet, philosopher and statesman of the 19th Century.
18  All lines taken from interviews I conducted with patrons of the Torta café in Ostend, Frankfurt am Main, audio file: STE-015.wav, recorded on 15 April 2015.
19  95% of the lines are taken from the audio recording of interviews that I conducted with patrons of the Torta café in Ostend, Frankfurt am Main, audio file: STE-015.wav, recorded on 15 April 2015.


Die EZB versucht gegenzusteuern, indem sie noch mehr billiges Geld in den Markt pumpt.20
Dramatis personae:
CITY OF FRANKFURT, as before, omnipresent, although it says nothing in this scene.
MARIO DRAGHI, 67, handsome Italian, works in the Frankfurt multi-storey building against whose opening we are protesting today, he says only one thing in this scene
Mario Draghi is in the tall building. I see Mario Draghi, we all see Mario Draghi in photographs in the European dailies and weeklies, only ever wearing navy blue suits. Sometimes Mario Draghi decides to fool around and wears ties with psychedelic patterns. Mario Draghi absolutely never wears a topcoat or overcoat. Regardless of the outside temperature, Mario Draghi is never afraid of freezing. Mario Draghi orders and buys his suits from just one tailor. Mario Draghi has a briefcase, of course, but never ever an overcoat or topcoat. Mario Draghi is looking out of the glass windows of the new European Central Bank building, he is looking from the forty-seventh floor, he is looking at Frankfurt, at the street, at the river, at the ditch, at the barbed wire security fence. Mario Draghi watches the cars burning on the streets and watches how, in the buildings, cheap money is being pumped into the European Union’s monetary system.
But on this occasion, surprisingly, Mario Draghi is not wearing a navy blue suit. Mario Draghi is wearing a bathrobe, and says just one thing.
Within our mandate the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the Euro.21
In fact, he adds one more thing.
And believe me, it will be enough.22
He says this and the deflation of the Euro stops immediately. J. L. Austin called this speech act theory: Said – Done.
He slides off his bathrobe. He gets into the Jacuzzi. Hot water is pumped into the Jacuzzi, which has been delivered from Mario Draghi’s homeland, and massages his body, hot money is pumped into the European Union monetary system and massages us all, and we do not know where that comes from. The only thing stopping Mario Draghi from relaxing is a naked woman’s body falling past the glass window of the forty-seventh floor. Mario Draghi, in surprise, is slightly sick into the Jacuzzi. But the water and money keep being pumped in.
20  Quotation taken from an unsigned text on an Ökologische Linke party flyer which I obtained at the Blockupy protests in Frankfurt am Main on 18 March 2015. Translated into English: The European Central Bank is trying to counteract this by pumping more cheap money into the market.
21  Speech by Mario Draghi at the Global Investment Conference in London on 26 July 2012, following which the deflation of the Euro was partially, temporarily halted.
22  Ibid.


In a Downtown Athletic Club the Skyscraper is used as a Constructivist Social Condenser: a machine to generate and intensify desirable forms of human intercourse.23
Dramatis personae:
ŽELJANA THE WAITRESS, we have met both of them in the previous scenes
I won’t look for Bistrik or Višnjik or Vratnik or Kovači or Čengić Vila or Pofalići,24 I won’t look for them in Hauptwache or Ostend or Bornheim or Eckenheim, or Eschersheim or Fechenheim25 either. All I’ll look for is a Mercedes S-Class W220.
I don’t need to look for anything inside myself, I just need to take a look at myself and see three cities, and then many more cities, to see Manhattan and Istanbul and Paris, the sadder parts, when it’s raining, and when it’s not, I am my stinking Bahnhofsviertel and I am my parochial Innenstadt and I am Lloret de Mar and I am the towns they talk about, ones I cannot even pronounce; I am Čelinac, Prjnavor, Celje, Prijepolje, Banja Luka, Zvornik. 
We rolled around groping in the VW Golf that Haris used to pass his driving test and where I lost my virginity and all that he could say when he caught his breath was “I have to go to Germany and earn enough to buy myself a Mercedes S-Class W220”.
There are at least 32,874 Mercedes in my garages and on my streets.
He pulled my hair and said fuck this scratched and battered Golf, fuck it a hundred times more than I’d fuck you. I want to drive a Merc into the yard. And all I could think was how my head hurt because he was pulling me and my jaw was about to explode, and I just stayed quiet or moaned – I can’t quite remember now.
Sometimes the wind pulls up tress from my pavements, but I keep quiet or I moan – I can’t quite remember now.
Then he dislocates my jaw, then I scream, that I know for sure, and all the time he’s in me, and it’s both beautiful and ugly. I couldn’t get out of the Golf now, even if I wanted to.
Then they say, austerity measures. They trash my jaw, and it’s both beautiful and ugly. I couldn’t leave myself now, even if I wanted to.
Then he pinches my little tits, and even he doesn’t know what he wants any more, and they get bruised, and then again he says only one thing, when he catches his breath, that he has to go to Germany and earn money to buy himself a Mercedes S-Class W220.
When the rain is pouring down my streets, over my stomach, even I know that everything will be all right again, that the fire that torched each police cares and torched the Mercedes S-Class W220 and the van that says Miki Export-Import on the side, with that crossed out and Željana sprayed in pink over it, will be extinguished.
And then he disappeared. No one could find him in Sarajevo any more. I knew that he had gone to get the Mercedes, that cocksucking Mercedes, and we could have done everything in the Golf.
I will never disappear, when there is nothing, there will still be my buildings and the trees that grow out of them and it doesn’t matter what else there is.
How did I get up to  the roof here? How did I get here? It doesn’t matter how I got here, what matters is that I am here now. I gave a start whenever I saw a Mercedes S-Class W220. And I realised, for fuck’s sake, maybe he’s not in Frankfurt, maybe he was fucking with me. And I got a job in a café and thought constantly about what he said, and continued to think: I have to go to Germany and earn money to buy myself a Mercedes S-Class W220. 
If we haven’t realised it yet, Željana the Waitress and Frankfurt am Main are just about to have sex on the roof of the new European Central Bank building.
It’s a challenge to be truly intimate with a public structure, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.26
Haris had one cock.
Frankfurt am Main has at least two hundred and eighty of them.
And Željana has chosen one, the European Central Bank, which enters her, she is so moist and capacious.
Željana cums. Frankfurt absolutely doesn’t – we probably wouldn’t survive that. Željana stands on the edge of the roof. Željana’s right foot and then her left go over the edge. Željana falls, but to her and to us it looks as if she’s flying. And Frankfurt am Main, like every man, carries on as before.
The naked body touches my asphalt. Her nipple splits on something bulging out of me. I feel that just as much as I feel those who are marching around me and carrying banners that read:
Kapitalisten aller Länder enteignet euch!
Troika Kolonial!
Sie retten die Welt zu Tode!
Austerity kill, stop it.
Ich bin nichts
Ich kann nichts
Gebt mir Uniform
Kapitalismus geht über Leichen.
And here, those protesting against capitalism walk over the corpse a naked girl, almost without noticing her.
The all think and say together:
Let’s take the party over.27
Of course, the City of Frankfurt is also invited to the party.
All together they think and say something that is not written on a single banner:
Frankfurt am Main is being fed by the crisis. And we, its citizens, are also food for it.
It’s nice to be chewed.
It’s nice to be soaked in spit and chomped on.
It’s nice to be in the concertinaed dark intestines.
It’s nice to be swallowed and digested.
And if the naked girl could think and speak now, she would say:
How nice it is to be dead.
23  Rem Koolhaus, Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan, The Monacelli Press, New York, 1978.
24  Suburbs of Sarajevo.
25  Suburbs of Frankfurt.
26   Quotation from a documentary on sexual behaviour  labelled as objectophilia, where women fall in love with large public objects, Married to the Eiffel Tower, screenplay and direction by Agnieszka Piotrowska, 2008.
27  All lines taken from banners carried by demonstrators at the Blockupy protests in Frankfurt am Main on 18 March 2015.


The City of Frankfurt is on stage. It is the eighteenth of March two thousand and fifteen, and night has fallen. Frankfurt shimmers and flickers and sparkles and shines and glows and glimmers and gleams, as if nothing has happened in it today. In the centre of the stage is a river, large and flat. The river is in the name of the city. The city is not in the name of the river. There are three cities within the city. There are many more other cities in the city, but the first and almost sole Frankfurt, the Frankfurt of skyscrapers, as always, shimmers and flickers and sparkles and shines and glows and glimmers and gleams the brightest of all the Frankfurts. Lights flicker in the windows of the tall buildings. The lights flicker from the Europaturm, from the Commerzbank Tower, from the Messeturm, the lights flicker from Westendstrasse 1, from the Main Tower, from Tower 185, from Opernturm, the lights flicker from the Taunustrum, from the Silberturm, from Deutsche Bank I, from Deutsche Bank II, the lights flicker from Skyper and from the Euro Tower. The lights flicker through the glass blue and white windows, and through the windows we can also see the small heads of the big people deciding what they would like to do with us. It would be nice if the amount of electricity needed to make Frankfurt am Main, in Hesse, in Germany, shimmer and flicker and sparkle and shine and glow and glimmer and gleam at night could be brought to the stage and for the stage to sparkle like Frankfurt, for the stage to sparkle like the place that all the characters in this drama imagined as a paradise before they came to it.
With most of the characters whom we know from the previous scenes who are all Frankfurt am Main already.
I said to myself, you’ll do everything, but you’ll make it in the West.
Austin’s speech act theory is not as easily applied to the Bosnians in Frankfurt. In their case said does not also mean done.
I shimmer. I flicker. I sparkle. I shine. I gleam. I glimmer. I glow.
And believe me, it will be enough.
I shimmer and flicker and sparkle.
The Germans know how to organise everything.
I shimmer and flicker.
Listen to me, never leave here under any circumstances.
I shimmer.
Pause. The city is flat and beautiful.
From the air, my Sarajevo looks like a little dot of light and a heap of mud, while from the air my Frankfurt looks like a huge ball of light and a heap of asphalt. While I am falling from the forty-eighth floor, I know that I am going to myself, going inwards, going to what I came from. As I pass the forty-seventh floor, I see a naked man in a Jacuzzi, vomiting. As I pass the thirty-ninth floor, the wind whistles its hardest. As I pass the twenty-fifth floor, I scratch part of his building’s glass, and I feel as if I have touched myself on the stomach and navel. As I pass the seventeenth floor, I remember when I was seventeen in the Golf in Bistrik with Haris. As my cheek touches the concrete I know that we will always be together, I, a spot of blood and he, the ball of light. I enter him and he enters me and it’s no longer clear who is the man and who the woman, nor who has the bulge and who the hole, nor who controls whom, nor who is insecure with whom, nor who is shy nor who did whom first or more. We simply become one, forever and only one, we become one, and we shimmer, flicker, sparkle, shine, gleam, glimmer and glow like a huge ball of light, Haris, Frankfurt am Main and I.
And there is Željana on the pavement. She has disappeared and is not there. She has escaped from Hartz IV assistance, from Aufenthaltstitel28, from paying for ARD and ZDF, from extending her visa, from submitting requests, from electronic residence permits, from online banking, from TAN numbers, from university module codes, from her electronic library membership card, from paying commission on SEPA payments in the European Union, from group health insurance, from tax numbers, from the number on her Bosnian passport which broke, but which somehow can still be used for travel, from her Stud.IP portal number, from her students’ forum code, from electronic access to everything. And here am I, still in Frankfurt, and I have to contend with all this, to bear this for a long, long time to come. 
I burned a little today. Only a little bit did I burn, and this was the exception, and I sparkled a whole lot today, and this was, as always, the rule.
The city burned. But the city protected us. The city is now sparkling, and the city always guards us.
I flew from him to him. But the city protected me.
28  Translator’s note: German residence permit

Translated by James Cook