This poem was prompted by seeing a remarkably well-dressed man rooting through the bins of Rača, the district of Bratislava where I live. It’s not uplifting, but I never claimed this blog would just focus on the positive side of life in Slovakia. Hopefully a focus on some of the negative things (and the number of people I see rooting through rubbish on a daily basis in Bratislava is actually quite shocking for a European country) can help those negatives, in time, to become positives…
You walk down the street, and it’s straight – without end,
And the breeze blocks and smokestacks do not relent,
And abysmal spectral faces spectate
And you’re spent – so sick and so tired and spent.
The angles stab you, the sad fog grabs you,
All-day casino bars shriek from the pavement,
Tannoys play Patrioticheskaya,
And you wonder what the words could have meant.
And you’re not in the motherland anymore –
You’re in a land of your own – of cement,
You can’t see the future for the travesty,
Nor all those nice woods for the barbed-wire fence
And the ones that taught you: where are they now?
They sold you or bought you and told you: relent.
And the new generation: where did they go?
All the way down to get stoned in the basement.
Is all you see from the cracks in the pavement
Or maybe the smoke as it rises from ashes
From the sixth-floor window of your tenement.
And the tram trawls by but it’s gone – you’re too late,
And the bar is warm and convenient,
The brandy fires you, the ice-cold wires you,
Thus you see; clearly; life – and where it went.