Wednesday, May 22, 2019

John Doyle writes


"The decision to return to any early scene in your life is dangerous but irresistible

Paul Theroux Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

I was not city, country, nor town,
nor the Karlov Bridge where everyone loves each other -
except men who spit their dreams on the glass of reflection,
as the swallowed river frightens itself to sleep;

I was not sunshine, nor nightfall,
bent like the swirl of pole-dancing trees
through the park
where I watch cops train horses - over the huddled loaf of wall,

and the waitress in the cafe
on Pod Havrankou
was maybe the only woman
I ever loved,

no, none of the above;
I've tried this beating heart
and lungs, emptied of vanilla strands of a love-lorn dance,
watching each watching face

from a passing train that worms the superterraneans underground;
I sip lemonade and I watch Law and Order
from 1995
in Marks and Spencers cafe

subtitled in Czech,
as bridge wrestles mirage from sun,
as lovers stand at either side of bridge
as equine bolts

turns the city's wind chime light-bulbs blue -
and watching Briscoe drive away,
I see Logan holding fist

now I'm every city, every bridge of course,
every town
your kneecaps un-touch 
and you like me loving you more,

from the knowing strands
of time,

like a waitress
with a loosened apron's clutch,
sips Kozel
beside us, on Pod Havrankou
Image result for karlov bridge paintings Charles Bridge, Prague -- Damaskina Lyudmila

1 comment:

  1. The Karluv most (Charles bridge) crosses the Vitava river in Praha. The previous bridge had been destroyed by a flood in 1342, so the new Holy Roman emperor Karel IV of Bohemia had a new one, the Kamenný most (Stone bridge) built. He laid the 1st stone at 5:31am on 9 July 1357; the date (1357 9, 7 5:31 ) formed a palindrome, and the emperor believed that this fact would imbue it with additional strength. It was not completed until 1402 and was the only bridge over the river until 1841. Its 16 arches were decorated with a continuous alley of 30 statues between 1683 and 1714 but they were all replaced by replicas due to various disasters.The bridge was renamed in 1870. Pod Havrankou is a villa in the upscale Troja area in the northwestern part of the city. Kozel lager (Velkopopovický Kozel) is the world’s best-selling Czech beer.
    Michał Marks emigrated from Russian Poland to the UK in 1882 and began selling goods to villages in the Leeds area before establishing his own stall in the Leeds open market and then expanded throughout Yorkshire and Lancashire. In 1894 he partnered with bookkeeper Thomas Spencer in order to expand further. Marks & Spencer became a major retailer of high-quality clothing, home products, and food, and became, in 1998, the 1st British retailer to make a £1 billion pre-tax profit. It began international operations in 1960.

    In 1990 Dick Wolf’s American TV series “Law & Order” began in 1990 and aired until 2010. For the 1st 5 seasons junior detective Mike Logan (played by Chris Noth) was one of the stars, and he was joined in the 3rd season by senior detective Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach), who remained in the series until his death 9 years later.

    Paul Theroux is the father, brother, and uncle of a number of writers. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi he was expelled for his political activity (his 1971 novel “Jungle Lovers” was banned in that country, then taught English at Makerere University in Uganda (while there he published his 1st novel, “Waldo,” in 1967), taught at the National University of Singapore (his 1973 novel “Saint Jack” was banned there), and moved to the UK in 1972. A round trip train journey from there to Japan led to “The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia” (1975) and established him as a major travel writer. “Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar,” published in 2008, recreated his earlier journey, noting how he and the area had changed over the decades.


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