Thursday, January 11, 2007


By Adam Gibson ©

i'd like to consider myself more like

Franz Ferdinand (the band)
Franz Kafka (the man)
but standing in Prague's Old Town square
i feel more like the latter
and he was a grim dark soul
who has been dead for
more than 70 years;

and that's the point ...

i am death warmed up,
a walking zombie,
my chest glued by flu
and my blood cells
staging a raging party
with fever for festivities
and delirium for drugs.

cool, hip and young like the band?
i am kidding myself.
cool i cannot be in such a state,
my hips are aching with a deep dull ache
and, furthermore, i am not young anymore
by any stretch of my lack of imagination

there's a clock tower here
where on the hour
little figures clatter out
for an ancient ritual
in front of which
torrents of tourists
gather to shower
the tick-tocking fellows
with flashes of appreciation and
give some meaning to their
otherwise directionless touring

and middle-aged men
with big bellies and bigger wallets
parade their pretty girls on their arms
with furtive looks
which reveal they are
eager to be seen with an attractive catch
but equally keen,
in jaw-jut stride and Viagra pride,
to not be thought
to have paid for the privilege

and the tourist shops
all stock the same things:
little witches on strings
(batteries not included),
authentic Praha fridge magnets
(made in China),
'Genuine Bohemia Crystal'
(100 percent Russian glass)
and souvenir t-shirts
reading: 'I Czeched Out Prague'.

in the Kafka Bookshop,
the premises on which
the bloke himself
spent at least a night
(the specifics now lost in
the lack of need for such specifics)
the woman behind the counter
watches me with my hollow cheeks,
sweating forehead
and turberculosis wheeze,
and even buying a Kafka biography
doesn't make her pleased,

so i retreat back to the freezing square,
make eye-contact with
a supermodel straight from the Siberian steppes
on the arm of a bloke old enough to be
someone far older than her and wearing
a grey suede jacket
and i stumble on back
to find a sickbed uncomfortable enough
to lie in for a
day or two
at least.


regina said...

starting to get interesting this weekly effort Adam! prague is a beautiful place, but nowhere is good when you are ill. do you need a nurse!??

caitlin muir said...

I had a similar frustration w Prague, tho it wasn't the flu that marred it for me... but yes, those dark old buildings are definitely worth the trip, unforgettable!
Maybe u should order the local specialty of roast duck - but be prepared to digest half a duck and a mountain of dumplings. made me feel like lord of the mansion, enjoying the success of his sporting hunt that day..!

Benito Di Fonzo said...

speaking of no longer being young, you realise that Kafka was only a few years older than you and I when he died?

Thought that would cheer you up.

& may you never feel the weight of your emotional baggage.

Adam Gibson said...

Thanks for that Benito... i read a biography of Kafka during and after my stay in Prague. he was a miserable bastard hey. he also managed to convince himself he was in love with Felice after meeting her just the once. oh hang on, i've done that about a million times in my life too.