Matchbook Epiphany by Stephan Delbos

On this boulevard lined with ivory
obelisks & cranes, I’ll lurk
until sunrise, my perfect
embouchure on a glass thirst
trumpet; each penitent sip
arpeggio learned like the sorrowful
mysteries: by rote.

clock legs spread as darkness comes.

Stilt heels, cigarettes, mint chewing gum;
clutching their sparkling pocketbooks,
two shes sway down the sidewalk:

pearls torn from a necklace
in my anonymous lust
robbery attempting to be trusted.






Stephan Delbos is a New England-born writer living in Prague, where he writes freelance and teaches at Charles University and Anglo-American University. His poetry, essays, and translations have been published internationally. He is the editor of From a Terrace in Prague: A Prague Poetry Anthology (Litteraria Pragensia, 2011). His collection of visual poems, “Bagatelles for Typewriter,” was exhibited at Prague’s ArtSpace Gallery in 2012. His play, Chetty’s Lullaby, about jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, was produced in San Francisco. He was a recipient of a PEN/Heim Translation grant in 2015 for his co-translations of Czech surrealist poet Vítězslav Nezval’s collection The Absolute Gravedigger (1937), which will be published this year by Twisted Spoon Press. He is a founding editor of  B O D Y.

  1. i really admire the text of your concluding “stanza”- congratulations on giving impact definition, proceeding what feels like a very personal reverie, leaning into itself, seeking information. all the best!

  2. Nice. I especially like the image of “clock legs” which clicks back into the music of the first stanza and is perfect for the scene.

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