Original poem reprinted online here: "Prague" by Khadijah Queen
Originally read: July 7, 2013
More information about the Poet: Khadijah Queen
I'm still figuring out how the first line works. Sounds weird but, syntactically, the line, "Yes as thievery," can cut different ways.
*If the title Prague is the focus, then the affirmative of yes compares Prague to thievery -- which has a more scenic focus.
*If the simile compares the word "yes" to "thievery" then there's a focus on more of the saying, more
and more of the speaker.
Does either or both meanings matter since in the same line the speaker negates the phrase, "except if saved for / a fantasy" This is also what I'm debating as well. At the end of the poem, there's a strong message which I could see relating to one or the other, but if both, like one is analogous to the other -- then the meaning becomes muddled.
So from the first line, like I stated, there's a dismissal of the "Yes as thievery" line, and the shift goes to the speaker, "I in a backless / dress encounter" and to the other, "You on a typical balcony / overlooking Vitava". When I read these lines with a cursory application of thievery to the images of the scene and the adjective "typical" -- the scene plays out more like a dream. Or perhaps something ripped out of a romance/espionage flick, "gripping the lattice work, / metal, a barrier to leaping / into an esoteric night." It's the language. Also note the line-break at "leaping" signals a difference in implication -- something below the scene.
"[night] fixed and ornate / enough, like my penchant for the infinite / within the singular," heavy rhetoric here not the comparison to night to an "infinite within the singular" paradox. Possibilities, is the first word that come to mind -- but not any old possibility, rather possibilities in regards to the speaker within this "fantasy."
"encounter you / as a tributary, serpentine, the heat of your fingers / on my spine." The speaker and the other has a gradual physical relationship, but note the adjectives and nouns to describe the "you" -- tributary, serpentine, heat -- language going in different directions and images. Tributary more of an accomplice, serpentine have a weird visual negative connotation, and heat, a very tactile word that could go either way. I find the speaker static in the possibilities, but the other dynamic in representation.
"my head turning / as you bend to catch the yes / I'd held latent" here's when the discussion of "yes" becomes a turning point for me. "Yes" could refer to the speaker and the poem is more of a fantasy with the last lines being more metaphorical based on the experience.
However, if the "yes" here circles back to the place, to Prague as thievery, the last lines, "a mine, you trigger with / your tongue, neither of us / mean to stop exploding" becomes more dire. The transference of the "relationship" to a city in a non-stop cycle adds a sense a destructive desire on the city. Note that the speaker and the you aren't necessarily named, and the title is "Prague" which could refer historically to a place.
Or maybe the place where the speaker had something "light" as a tryst. Either interpretation is strong, but both, let's say, the tryst is comparable to the bombing of a city -- doesn't work for me since the comparison would trivialize both (of mine, mind you) interpretations.