Learning Experiences


(at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, Prague.)



We walk the steps of past bloodshed we think we understand;

see the stones of lives that fought for what we now trample.

            How do you forget the million cries & piercing pain?

We walk over invisible bias we think we can swim in. Wade in the shallow

            end, all dressed to the nines, ready to roll & clink our drinks

to the sound of money and chatter of sex.

We scandal with piercing words; yes darling, friendship hurts

            & trust no one, I’d tell you but you’ll only tell everyone else;

            who gives a damn about her&him, delicious, disgusting

            fluid rumour, without humour. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

We lose ourselves and our clothing; it ends as fast as it begins. No second

coming. Just the smell of apocalypse, followed by a mundane
Monday. Where is my transcendence? Tran-what?

We bask in the sun of attention. Forgetting protection from rays

            of words that slither from rampant mouths of bystanders.

            And those we clasp close enough to the heart to dub ‘friends’.

We look at traffic lights; he honks and she yells, fuck you, loud voices

            of tires communicating a crash. Shapes and forms, next to monuments.

            Ambulance adds to the colours of concrete. I want you to see it.

            Bodies in pieces & pieces of bodies. We drive away

We forget and forgive, but not really forgive. Remember you saw

            her&him on your bed? Forget it. Forget her. Red lights ahead.

            Phone rings, she jumps. Staccato & shivers. I’m sorry, forgive me.

We hurt and are hurt. Current of insults. Careful, don’t drown. I warned you.

Head high, remember, when you left me, alone and lost. Drunk and foreign, looking for you. Quiet rage of your words. I stifle my sobs.

We feel and are felt. Hazy strangers in smoky bars. Touches of secrecy,

            wanna dance, glitter-queen? Be obscene and ridiculous. Take

            him home. Quick game. Snap! Waiter, another on the rocks & a drink, too!

We understand or pretend to. Your happiness hurts & honesty sucks,

            so does she, right? I will smile, and rejoice. She’s lovely darling,

best of luck. I grind pleasant thoughts between my teeth; hardly for the
better. No matter. I can’t alter what happened. Neither can you.

We edify and discover. Some scars seldom heal, you taught me.

But mine don’t compare to yours. Let’s not share. See memorial stats on steps: Communist victims make fools of us both. Put down your razor &
salivate to freedom. Pieces of freedom. Freedom from pieces.

We learn.                   We earn.                    We burn.                    We…



- Stacy Kirpichova