Defenestrations in Prague


"Contrahit orator, variant in carmine vates.”

— Manuel Álvarez, Prosodia


“Out of context the line can mean: ‘The orator summarizes; the poet-prophets transform [elaborate] in their verses’.”

— Don Gifford, Joyce Annotated: Notes for A Portrait of the Artist


Baristas at the Starbucks who sell lattes

to indigent physicists who drive

taxis full of Dutch designers that live

in Old Town — “...variant in carmine vates” —


have sung how old King Wenceslas looked

about on word of his councilors’ deaths

dazed as lambs led to the abattoirs beneath

his gracious kitchens. Bohemians who chucked


their papist regents onto curb-side shitpiles

also threw poor Frederick’s Palatinate

into pious Habsburg’s collection plate.


Now waiters barely hum when steam precipitates

hard falls. Burst, economists who defile

the Hilton’s terrace raise eyebrows, not smiles.