Poetry: ‘Occupy Prague’ by Domenic Scopa

by / 0 Comments / 05/07/2014

Occupy Prague


“Jan Palach was a Czech student of history and political economy at Charles University. He committed suicide by self-immolation as a political protest against the end of Prague Spring.”


Under a lean-to at the Occupy tent city

four thousand miles east from university,

I heard the snap and pop

of the campfire.


Smoke blackened my luggage wrinkled outfit:

tie dyed tee shirt, collar frayed,

denim skinny jeans

that cut off circulation to my crotch.


All afternoon I interviewed

the stilt-thin leader of the movement,

a lunchbox full of marijuana opened on his lap.

He never shared his joint.


I thought sacrifice

was eating ramen noodles with plastic forks,

while protesters listened to politicians

banter healthcare laws on boombox radios.


Along the cobblestone sidewalks

of Wenceslas Square,

verdigris memorials are arranged

in metal flocks like condors.


Communist Era bronze

preserved the flaccid penises

and puffy, squinted eyelids

metalworkers hammered into shape.


A pigeon held its pose

on an ashen colored cross

rooted like a gallows tree.

I read the dedication to Jan Palach.


One match lit my Lucky Strike,

then the wind bit and crumbled its charred remains.

My thoughts were with him.

I wished I had something of his courage.



About the author: Domenic Scopa is a recent graduate of Suffolk University and was recently accepted into the number one low residency MFA program in the country, Vermont College of Fine Arts, attending in June to attain an MFA in Poetry and Translation. He has worked closely with a number of accomplished poets including National Book Award Winner David Ferry and Washington Book Prize recipient Fred Marchant. He is currently the assistant poetry editor of Venture Literary Magazine and has been published in literary journals numerous times.

Ali is a Law undergraduate at the University of Portsmouth with an especial interest in Constitutional Law. He is a keen musician playing mandolin, guitar, drums and keyboards. He also enjoys writing music and poetry.