Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Prague: A love story

Francis Flisiuk | The Free Press

Posted on December 09, 2014 in Perspectives
By martinconte

Dear Prague.

What can I say that you don’t already know?  You’re beautiful.  Alluring.  Elusive.  Mysterious.  From the moment we met, I felt chills (it may have been the freezing cold temperatures, or it may have been the way your moonlit world seemed to come from outer space).  You’re the lover I always wanted, and in just a few short days we explored each other’s nooks and crannies in a whirlwind of energy.

It started that first night, when I got off the plane and met Lakota and Cecily, two friends from home. We made our way to an afterparty for a film festival that had recently closed, located in what appeared to be four floors of an abandoned office building.  Already, Prague, I could see your sensuous curves, and we danced together through the night to a French DJ, surrounded by an array of that wild and crazed European party society you see in 1970’s art magazines.

The next day, I climbed your backbone, crossing the river Vltava through the Charles Bridge, avoiding the pockmarks of beggars literally on their hands and knees, holding paper cups up hopefully. At the top lay your castle, a thousand years old and still holding all your brainpower: presidents, ministers and officers. And there, like a diadem on your glorious head, sits St. Vitus Church, looming with the Gothic austerity of a Europe gone by, but gleaming with stained glass windows dyed bright orange and red. I stand in awe on your head, looking out over the seething streets and bright washed buildings of your body.

What other lovers came before me?  I don’t ask this out of jealousy but in humility.  What other souls wandered your twilight streets, asking of you the impossible questions, hearing the rumblings of your inner organs as possible answers?  Perhaps most famously, Franz Kafka, one of my own idols, now venerated in a museum located in the crook of your shoulder just above the Thomas Bridge. The Kafka Museum, as much dedicated to the biography of his life and works, as to itself being a Kafkaesque experience, complete with shadowy rooms, red staircases and eerie creaking sounds throughout. Indeed, it was Kafka who knew you best, wasn’t it? It was Kafka who saw in you that “Prague never lets you go… this dear little mother has sharp claws.”  Now, I put my feet where his feet once were, and imagine his terror of your streets as my own.

Art is the skin that swaddles your body; from the Dali/Warhol exhibition, to the many small galleries lining your streets, someone’s creative invention is always nearby. They tattooyour body with paints and sculptures, following a tradition of innovation, daring to question all that came before them, while lovingly evoking the old gods casketed in the cathedrals and churches.  Mozart’s music is the way you hum to me, Rilke’s poetry the whispers we share as I go to sleep.  Prague, already my legs feel an itch to return to you!  I fill my heart with your possibilities!  I dedicate my scribblings to the vast capacities of your soul!

I will remember you as the woman who sat with me through the night.  After the Thanksgiving dinner I shared with the other Americans courting you, full of shared food and drinks, conversation and love, I catch a 2am tram through you to the outskirts, back to the airport. The city glowed silently. Fellow insomniacs rode the tram in a zombie-like calm, passing through the drunken revelers, succumbing to your lullabying company. Each time the doors opened, your cold swept in on us. But it was not a frigid cold, rather the brisk cool of a beautiful, silvery night. Three days only we spent together, but you’ve kept a bit of me, which I will return for one day, I can promise you. Until then, the clocks of Prague chime on the hour in my heart, and she will be a wellspring of inspiration, for months to come.

 

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