Neruda Street

Barbara Krasner

It’s Sunday afternoon and the rain drips
onto cobblestone, leaving a reflective sheen.
Milos has led these tours a million times I’m
sure, and yet he talks to us like he’s Geraldo Rivera
dredging up the treasures of the Titanic on camera.
In Mala Strana we traipse up Neruda Street
like climbing the stairs of the Empire State Building
and he says hello to some white guy
with Rastafarian braids. The guy’s
an American ex-pat. In his U.S. Army surplus jacket
he stands on a stone ledge and recites his most
recent poetry, his hands clasped, eyes closed. He speaks
to the open air, no notes. He performs his poems,
announcing that despite his own protestations
and self-berating monologues he has been productive.
I listen to his controlled lyrical rant and think, yes, this
is what I’ve come to Prague for. He stands at the pinnacle
of the hill, behind him stuccoed walls and terra cotta
roofs, street lamps perhaps once lit with kerosene.
Smetana’s Vltava flexes under the Charles Bridge. It
creeps into his voice and through his fingertips. If only
his fingers would whisper that juice into mine
so I could call it my own.

 

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About the author:

Barbara Krasner’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Nimrod, Paterson Literary Review, Peregrine, Rust + Moth, Blue Lyra Review, and numerous other journals. She holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches creative writing and composition in New Jersey and online.

 

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