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Runcible Spoon

heart logo Craig Paulenich

                        The Spires of Prague  


The spires of Prague are needles knitting

history, syringe to God’s blue veins,

antennae to electric Gabriel’s ear,

lances of knights and pikes of burghers,

second hands and stopped pendulums.

The spires of Prague are green onions,

painted penises, fierce erections,

the needle points of a compass,

television rabbit ears or the tails

of pointers terrifying grouse.

They are fingers of desire, fingers of linden,

like the splayed fingers of poets or lovers.

The spires of Prague are God’s fingernails,

Turkish knives set in filigreed hilts, blades

pressed to the blue underbelly of sky,

spires like Maypoles or fairy-tale spindles,

like pinnacles of blue ice or sharpened femurs.

They are linden posts and flaming miters,

muskets, ramrods, spiked helmets

and the barrels of belching Panzers.

They are like partisans and collaborators,

irises and tiger lilies,

like a graveyard of drowned ships

or the pinfeathers of indeterminate angels.

They are like the eye of a horse.

The spires of Prague are needles of sunlight,

golden spirals of stalagmites rising

in the dripping sunlight,

stems of tropical fruit,

wingtips of painted birds, Chinese figurines,

mother-in-laws’ tongue, crossbones,

gleaming chrome mufflers, silencers,

stakes through the heart, heads on sticks.

They are silos of history.

The spires of Prague are goose quills in inkwells,

tombstone crosses after the frost,

finger bones in the pockets of shipwrecked sailors,

blue fingers in the snow bank,

hundred-spired Prague, impaling the stars

with fingers of roses

with fingers dipped in blood,

with fingers of moonlight,

with fingers like flails,

with fingers of bayonets,

with fingers clenching grass,

with fingers like ditches,

with fingers like tracers,

with fingers of betrayal,

like umbrellas tipped with poison,

with fingers of sunshine and shadow,

with fingers of couples quarreling,

with fingers of velvet and revolution,

with fingers of colored glass,

with fingers of blinding chrome,

with fingers like wicks,

like daggers into Germany.

God walks on gilded splinters,

walks on the spires of Prague,

spires like the rifle-ranges of Ruzyne,

Big-Top tent poles to history’s three rings,

spires like necromancers, lightning rods,

or singing mystics aflame, like spits

or lances of crucifixion, mystic shortwave antennae,

like the sword of St.Stephen,

like the staff of Moses,

like St. Vitus’ withered arm,

like splinters of the True Cross,

like tuning forks divining the

microwaved voice of God,

spires like the stingers of Braconid wasps

that leave us to slumber in mute wonderment,

spires in search of wandering satellites,

like ray-beams, I-beams, eyes raised

to those needle points packed

with jittery angels.