David Prater

Berlin and Lübeck


thrown on cobbles like a dart
meat hooks & the future’s stake
streetside waits a stencil boxcar
an iron-bound but invisible gate

misplaced pock-marked stones
hear the rubble of some victory
tunnels to the now defending
ghosts from gore & take-home

video’s silence down the years
tap on a russian tank alphabet
denied something else besides
parade mounds viral drumming

photographs of mirrors smoke
starved of black dogs cracked
nights seven silent gateways to
an alien nation it said in a book


the strange tedium of roadbuilders
whacking blocks with rubber mallets
like retentive poets trimming lines

this one’s for you, björk & the umlaut
a trio abruptly vanishing from signs
like the mythical blue skies of lubeck

the wall’s bad teeth (a bracket’s braces)
holding pants & smiles up for a camera
like babies at a forced emigration

frozen in the luggage carousel of day
embittered by the slightest orange roll
like a toymaker with several splinters

strange to be singed here in similes
every silence hangs mispronounced
like my surname, it’s a beer garden

ich bin ein tourist

thank you for the compliment
ich bin ein Tourist ha ha – in
meinem eigenen Leben! access
all areas deutschland ja ja! one
tourist under a visa /short of
change/ an excuse they will kill
me upon my return thank you

for the oom-pah welcome you
rationed me like white bread I
prowl the perimeter of a new
travel zone /pecking at these
stale crumbs I fear for gretel
grows sad having realised that
this trail never did lead home


i understand the wind observes
the overcoat of a young woman
searching her pockets by a phone

(i mistake its previous conversant)

i comprehend the logic of u-bahns
though in contemplation of diagrams
my pipes & nerve endings all jam

(i believe in mass teleportation)

i process the stubbornness of clouds
despite the forest entropy of airliners
unmoving as an iceberg or the mortar

(i possess the day’s grey charisma)

i concur with nature’s experts
seasons come like dreaded conversations
the rolling down of summer’s shutters

(i still prefer the hero’s haircut)

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