Enter Home Planet News Poetry of Issue #5                        Page 6
Table of


Hi Franz––
How are you?

Just got into Prague
and I’m talking to an answering machine
it’s the 21st century
wonder if your trial is still going on
at the old castle
your world famous schloss
just kidding––of course it’s going on
it will always go on
forever and ever amen
here’s what we know

you’re lucky you had
a true medical friend in Klopstock
that caring drug supplier
prince of the hypodermic
mercifully he put you out with morphine
as you demanded
it was 1924 and you were all of forty
what if TB hadn’t done you in
let’s bring you up to date

Hitler would have burned your bones
solved all your problems:
family, relationships, identity
there wouldn’t even be a trial
you would simply disappear
like your sisters
in a little cloud over Europe
but thanks to your best friend Max
who refused to burn your manuscripts
your face will always be
on T-shirts in Prague
BTW how’s the roach problem
still keeping you awake?

  David Gershator __


Brown bagging lunch with Jesus on the Charles Bridge
the river stately and bourgeois and well behaved for now
reflecting on all the caricature artists kitsch vendors artsy crafty jewelry
wood carvings T-shirt sellers seagulls pleasure boats
was there ever a war here? what war?
German invasion Jewish extermination Russian occupation
the tourists shootin’ snappin’ clickin’ away
at me and my lunch and the statue of Jesus
a distant cousin who doesn’t mind
my eating lunch at his feet
golden Hebrew letters around his haloed head––
a prayer kadosh kadosh kadosh holy holy holy
paid for by a 17th century Jew accused of blasphemy
lucky to escape with a monument to anti-Semitism

The Dixieland band starts to serenade Jesus
with New Orleans jump and jive
real jazz kickin’ up its heels in Prague
Oh when the saints go marchin’ in
living it up on the bridge
for me and you and droves of July tourists
and one dying rabbi screaming at the sky

The saints and statues on the bridge know
it’s way too late for lunch with Jesus
too late for lunch with the angels the golem
or anyone in gloryland
but never too late for jazz
and just another gig among statues on the bridge
statues too stiff to get down with the band
warming up the crowds
too late for lunch too late for history
too late for the music of Smetana poor Smetana
deaf––like Beethoven––to his own music––
deaf like the Red Cross to the music of Terezin
played out over the river on the first day of forever
and the last day of never

The saints go marchin‘ marching into Prague
and a small voice says ask the seagulls what they know
ask the seagulls and don’t forget the swans
cruising like Bohemian bandits on the Moldau
slow and easy

  David Gershator__

Sometimes there are unexpected
welcoming committees
sometimes there are sunflowers
near the trolley tracks
sometimes there are seagulls
hundreds of miles from any sea
sometimes there are gypsies
hoping to skate on the rings of Saturn
after they find new planets in your pocket

“You should’ve been prepared for this!”
I berate my empty pants pocket
“Well, I was sorta”
answers old pocket mouth
“There was only cash no credit card
or ID or passport or unfinished poems”
OK, OK. not so bad
half prepared is half lucky
you let your guard down for a moment
and you’re caught in their universe
they move fast
in and out of the trolley
they’re professionals
no knives no guns sheer talent
for redistributing the wealth in your pants

they seem to be admired by the police
who appear empty handed as your hands
it sounds romantic to call them gypsies
and in fact they are
you’re privileged now to carry
a news story to the river
where seagulls sometimes
steal from each other

you’re entitled now to write
a new Bohemian opera
on the pickpockets of Prague
who have their codes
who have their loves
who have their addictions
to the nimble fingered trade

Ah! poor stolen wallet
at least 30 years old
the weight of its loss
the loss of its weight

  David Gershator__


There’s a trial going on
am I the accused or the accuser
its been going on for centuries
don’t know what the charges are
if they’re trumped up
or a bureaucratic error
I have to cross the stone bridge
and check into the castle
it’s a bit of a climb
leaves me panting

when I get there
I’m handed an envelope
with papers to sign
if I don’t sign I’ll be assumed guilty
and be placed on probation or parole
will a persistent cough exonerate me?
while the trial is postponed
I fold the paper this is written on
into a paper boat

it will float downstream and lead me
to the scene of a possible crime
committed in my name
by someone whose identity is an alias
according to my defense counsel
I can only confess to myopia

  David Gershator__