My first New Year’s Eve in Prague, alone and watching, still with a stranger’s perspective. One of my favorite place poems.


Flying South

New Year’s Eve, a forced festivity
crams itself on Charles Bridge
Essences, all essences,
the fabric an innocent madness
Smell of powder, as clouds
of harmless smoke drift upriver

The yield of spontaneity
a thousand amateur celebrations
Randomly, skyrockets follow
a lone swan that flies unevenly
from nowhere to nowhere
up the night-black river sky

An atmosphere brilliant with flash,
heavy with explosion,
each detonation caught
freeze-frame, wide eyed
Ambivalent, an early drunk
pees against cathedral walls

Ground rockets spray at ankle height
quickening the dance
Bottles passed to strangers
swigged and passed again
No strangers now, in this
community of clutched strangers

A night of coupling, exaggerated winsomeness,
pizza and champagne
Punctuated, an explosive mini war,
harmless and supercharged,
high expectation, too high perhaps
A discontented Roman candle

Some arch the sky, against bright eyes
that promise everything
Some sputter, fizzle, gutter out
like worn through faded jeans
A girl sits on the steps,
arms wrapped around herself and weeps

Twelve months of fantasy, the excess
powder hoarded for tonight
Dreams with fuses buried in the core
of lives throughout the world,
touched off against reality
Twenty-four time zones, east to west

The promised hope of everything
somehow works at it tonight
Lovers kiss, strangers kiss, the unloved
kiss as well and all eyes look up
Another year explodes,
shimmering into Prague from further east

and the darkened swan flies south

Poetry Collection: Broken Pieces
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman’s
poetry collection
BROKEN PIECES
available here in print
or as an e-Book
in your favorite formats.