For Whom the -R Rolls

Greg Nissan

Like fatherr like sun
burn: im Sommer die Isarr
trills my sprach a-frroth, what lofts
my map-white Nase hoch.

Grruß glott!

I spill of alveolars a river
in mirroar with the deut
in my Deutsch.

Whose glott?

We tell it slant and so it’s
tolled Frrauenkirrche’s
c’est belle! wie toll! Should these
Ba-bells chime your Hochzeit
let it be Mann und Frau not
Lan und Frau. Where do you
stumm from?

Grruß glott!

The newspap
-ers err, say the Spree’s a wave
of blunted tongues trilling
their lingo stumm. Clear as the river

Whose Gott?

‘s not that “woher”
herrscht, aber ischwöre, bin
deutscherr, what’s my ma
rgin of erroar, my mother
-lärm? Hair black as a fact
ory cough? That you im
agine me so anders, an
-other smokest
-ach in a Großstadt bell
-um-bleached of its bell
-e époque?

New glott!

An Isch for an Ich the Zeit
-(z)ungen pan
-ic: thast you speak in
Zungen or tongues—
Ey man, ey nutte, killer, krass
Ey bud, ey slut, that’s so badass
But they penned the script
they’re ’fraid of.

Ohne artikel. Wie sie eben reden

Either/ort what’s sung is sun
g. A Berlan stumm to your fach

Ich kann mich gut
Bewegen, wa?
Ischwöre. Egal,
was für ein Hip
isch höre,
ey, mein Körper
drinner tanzt
voll, lan.

-sprach: what about my
aufgewachsen talk washed
of trills the very same
that irrigate your

Grruß glott!

I can shake it
good, ‘mi right?
Foreal. Same shit
with any hip
-hop beat my
body starts to
rock inside, brah.

Whose glott?

-wöre, when gibt’s a will
there’s a wave. (Wo ein Wille . . .
eine Welle . . . ) The rivers lose
a shiver in transcription—a mess
-er’s blunted blade.

Whose Gott?

How the newspa
-purrs a sound into sound
the alarm, these migr
-unts, it’s nothing but a
lärm! A terminal tr
-illness. When will
we wake beyond
to be or not to be

Tschuss Gott!

Ache in the head
lines: alveolars
in the south flush
with the Isarrr’s mouth
but a trill in the
north machs the
Deutsch bisschn
torque-ish, oder?

Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch ich Gewalt!

Dank sei gott it’s
not isch. Ich is
Goethe but isch is

What I associate with Kiez
deutsch: uneducated, primitive
young men…hatred of the
educated…of Jews and

Forget the head
-li(n)es. Lassma the sun
the Zunge set beobachten—
not the day rotting watch
die roten Strahlen of what’s
revolving. Better snap the pic
fast. No lost Mal with
lassma but you’ll get called


[NOTE: This poem incorporates language from a variety of sources: Der Spiegel, the comments section of Focus Online, the KiezDeutsch Korpus at Universität Potsdam, and Goethe.]