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Mary Morstan Female, 55, New Zealand (7/31/2013 4:15:00 PM)

From Café Slavia, by Justin Quinn

I’ll give you that I love the way the city
spreads outwards from these windows. I’m a foreigner
who’s more or less at home with all that’s shitty
and beautiful here. Who could be a mourner
at such a party which axed its own committee?
I love the view of Europe from this corner.
I love the smog and irony, the skaters
sometimes on the river. I love the waiters.

I’m sitting looking out across the river.
The trams swing round here from all over Prague.
They trundle to a standstill and deliver
the city to its day—the crowds zig-zag
to different buildings. The traffic sends a quiver
up through the café’s floor, so slight the bag
of sugar on the saucer doesn’t even twitch.
But your innards feel the smallest roll and pitch.

So many hundred miles the river flows
before it spreads itself into the sea.
‘This is the deepest interior, ’—so goes
the line by Petr. Landlocked, at home and free,
I sit here looking at the furling snows
that melt against the water and dust the quay.
If it comes down another day and night
the continent will be entirely white.

Except in Ireland, an afterthought of land
that bears the ocean’s savage brunt and languishes
amidst the Gulf Stream, the coastline’s rock and sand
warmed by its constant touch, the languages
at odds and still doing business on demand.
Where cottiers and labourers once sang wishes
for better days and then got shopping malls.
Except in Ireland, where snow hardly falls.

It’s time I asked the waiter for the bill.
I’ve got to leave the café soon enough,
hop on a tram and then walk up the hill
to collect my three-year old and hear his guff
(as he hears mine) . The snow piles on the sill
like a baroque matron’s voluminous ruff,
and twists and wheels above the river’s stream.
Once more I walk back into Prague’s large dream.

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  • Rookie - 329 Points Alice Vedral Rivera (8/3/2013 11:17:00 AM) Post reply
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    I really enjoyed this poem, Mary. I've never been to Prague in the winter. Come to think of it, I've never been in Prague in the spring either - something I'll have to rectify.

  • Freshman - 644 Points Jefferson Carter (8/2/2013 12:52:00 PM) Post reply

    Mary, i like this! ! It's the first formal poetry I've read in a long time that transcends the academic stench that usually attends formal work. Very cool! Reminds of a re-born AUDEN.

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