Two Poems by Sean Edgley

Postcard from Belgrade

Београд  off-white city     of   red Cyrillic
Teenagers gather   around an oxidizing horse   in front of the opera house
Nubile lip gloss   street lamps     and a girl crossing the square
with hips poised like the centered swivel of scissors

The sky filled with gutters and a Danube that runs on diesel
Down every alley
the stone threat of the gulag
meat hung in windows
tables for one
the sadness of Chinese restaurants
The skinhead that walks off screaming into the park
erupting in biceps
descending into the underworld sunset

The police line the avenues in riot gear
the end of the football match
and beer

The new money limousine smiles
the gypsy mothers
the hotel room arguments

And one can never be sure what’s going on inside the opera house

Clouds and women in shawls drift
over the Balkan markets
pears in the shadows
of early-morning techno

Birds like Teslan mustaches radiate from the tops of
donated Swiss trams that rattle down the cobblestones

Feral dogs walk me home or to church
forlorn as an Orthodox cross
The NATO-bombed buildings
sag in disrepair
All the while there is a woman in front of the train station
selling pretzels
with no love   no bread
no teeth   to speak of


The morning sun
is split horizontally
above a building—
a blood orange lying
in the cool shadow
of a plate.

Its glow pours color
onto the women
in the windows
lounging in ornate armchairs,
eating croissants
as if no one is watching.

A brunette combs her hair
with her fingers,
feet dangled
over red velvet.

Like a ghost or Madonna
a shoeless blonde
in a beige gown
rises and passes
over the wood floor,
bare back dissolving
into sunless ink.

The murky lexicon
of wallpaper.

Staccato of tires
over cobblestone.

A beer bottle
stuffed with cigarettes.

The blonde rejoins
the monarchs in the window,
draped with fatigue.

When she bends down
to right an overturned
high heel,
the wallpaper
stops her alphabet of spine
at the letter S.

About the author

Sean is a native Californian who has spent the better part of his twenties away from the West Coast. He's currently halfway through the…

Read the full bio

Issue 14 · February 2012

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