Academic journal article Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

Palaces

Academic journal article Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

Palaces

Article excerpt

A city with a knife in its heart,

nerves exposed, arteries dangling, its temples to kingship,

religion, learning, and art

begrimed, and pock-marked by bullets,

or spruced, sand-blasted, and lacquered

to face the new market day. No wonder History

has a grim and elderly look.

She sits at the base of Schiller's statue,

manly, legs crossed, in her toga,

while her buxom sisters in négligé, Lyric,

Drama, and Philosophy, flirt with the passersby.

The boulevards convulse in excavations,

cranes rake the sky. The Palace of Tears

still runs with tears. In vacant lots

barrels protrude from puddles of khaki water,

pennants of shredded plastic shiver from chain-link fence.

Loss opens the way, I wrote in a letter

that was not a letter of love.

On Sophienstrasse, a small, grubby-faced boy

works with scholarly concentration

to dislodge a cobblestone the size of a scone

from the sidewalk in front of Queen Sophie Luisa's church. …

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