national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014

Mr. Rococo in Prague

Varun Nayar  • 
Grinnell College

Now of course, it is the fractured,
roadside music you remember most.


But there was so much more to that
city than your shitty poetry. You, master
of metaphor, brooding inside tiny piss-
stained bathroom stalls, plucking orchids
with your teeth, smooth talking at the
phantasmagoric girls, the cheap champagne
drinking fantastic girls, sucking the damp,
pulsating yellow from street corners.


You, in your Brownian balter, ablaze
with that gilded mothertongue—
that language rendered ornamental in form,
curling like the baroque sun cathedrals
where you sat burning yourself most days.


It is true the mind remembers only childish things.