In A Thousand Words or Less

A Prague chronicle, told through
photographs, postcards, and dreams.

It's all true because I believed what I saw.
                                                                      --Jack Kerouac

A Dream Before Departure
August 1994

On Wenceslas Square the beggar is folding
sheets of industrial waste into doves,
binding them with wire. How much
will you give? he asks with his eyes.
When you ignore him he throws it high.
It comes alive, flaps once, dies,
reduced once again to trash.

Dreamt also of a choppy bay, driven
by Otto up steep vineyard roads crowded
by tiny cold grapes I was afraid to taste.

I was to live in the catacombs
under a castle in the heart of town.

"One moment it was snowing on the square
and though alone I knew I would never
be happier," I narrated in my dream,
as if all life were lived retrospectively.

Then came the plows—ugly Russian things—
to bully what little snow there was, pushing
it into dirty piles that blocked all the doors.

The beggars kept folding Styrofoam doves,
not enough junk to sculpt swans.


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