Thinking about hanging out in Plsen with Bernie and Phil made me a bit nostalgic. It was 9 years ago that I lived in Prague. Karlstejn is one of my favourite pieces I wrote while there.


it was the injured grasshopper that finally
caught my attention, flanked by a wasp,
in the foot path, too late for you, buddy,
i said, too late. that and the 72 meter deep
castle well. a man poured a cupful of

dobra voda
down the shaft and we all waited,
watched as it finally hit the surface of the water,
sparkled for a good 2 minutes. below castle,
man fishing from canoe on the river. i’m lazy
i don’t take photographs. drunk, too. one

and i don’t know where i am. 40 minutes
early for the train so i walk around the quiet
block that smells of yesterday’s garbage
guarded by colorful flowers. study the leaves. i

could be anywhere
. tiger-cat in field stalks
butterflies until it sees me, i wave and it makes
off gazellish like never to be seen again. i
caught its green eyes. thought we made a
connection. i spoke. perhaps it didn’t recognize
my language. back to the train station i long for
a real companion. marigold, rose, you bright
nameless purple thing – yes, don’t you mock
my loneliness. we’re all pitiful historians.
it’s not true – what they told us at the castle.
we’ve always been here at this tourist attraction.
it was built for us. we can only walk away.
i walk away. man on the corner keeps
locked-up cockatiels. they can’t scatter
when he comes. every other thing
is a holy relic. and i am the suffering christ.

~ ~ ~

hop on the train.


  1. Fledgling Poet
    Mar 2, 2009

    Stunning imagery…your rambling thoughts create a beautiful vision!

    yeah, *rambling* about sums it up… haha

  2. julia
    Mar 2, 2009

    I really, really enjoyed this! Especially:

    ‘early for the train so i walk around the quiet
    block that smells of yesterday’s garbage
    guarded by colorful flowers.’

    What a dizzying array of impressions packed into this poem.

  3. Sweet Talking Guy..
    Mar 2, 2009

    Cool post, could do with a pivo now! Love that word gazellish!

    thanks, STG!

  4. angie
    Mar 3, 2009

    this really captures that strangeness, that fusion of familiarity and unknown…

    love this: “we can only walk away./i walk away”

    it’s always like that when I travel… one of the things I love about it…figuring out how it’s all connected, while living in the surprise of it…

  5. Brad
    Mar 5, 2009

    I see the pull of nature and you’re there
    among the crawling dead. I wonder where you were before the horror dragged you from your head. Why does a man (and how, pray tell) pour a cup of mountain peak into a well unless of course it’s water talking market speak? Oh bugger this, I cannot walk and chew on this activity. I need to lose the lot of you and suffer in my own good space.

  6. openchannel
    Mar 5, 2009

    Hi Brad!


    “dobra voda” means “good water” in Czech. It was a brand of water people drank there, like Evian or Aquafina.

    i’ve never seen “horror” in this piece before. Melancholy, yes, but not horror.

    I had gone to Karlsjn to see the castle, but found it too touristy for my tastes… I had a beer and began to wander around the town buzzed (I’m a lightweight).

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