Pavement baking underfoot,
I tried to walk the stink of you from my nostrils
but the clang of a tram stopped short
by a sky squeezed between monliths
and the sight of a heavyset Slav
carrying an incongruous manbag
drag me back to now.
that marks the spot
where they blew up Stalin's effigy
reads half-past ten,
though passes a nod towards darker days
overlooking remnants of an old regime
in department stores that sell very little.
Wencelas Square is really an Avenue
where cafes and kiosks continually spill
mid-morning mayhem among trees and tables.
The cigarettes are very cheap here.
I light one up.
Wish I could write you
a postcard of the feeling.
Later, at the Museum of Communism
just above McDonalds (TM),
I watch footage of protests that took place nightly for months
years before my daughter was born,
to the echo of her laughter at my coming here.
The thousands turning into millions,
exerting no pull on her.
In the Mala Strana the funicular is out of service due to essential maintenance work.
While at the Church of the Holy Infant,
Chucky gloats down towards St Cyrils from a gilded altar.
Stumbling across Charles Bridge
I give myself up to the Old Town vista.
My back to dictators, dissenters and martyrs,
in this city of a thousand spires.
j. joyce 2008