By Desmond Hogan
Following a crippling melancholy and institutionalization, the author Desmond wanders from his local Dublin round an more and more unrecognizable Europe, and so far as the southern usa, assembling a patchwork of small tales, conversations, amorous affairs, stories, regrets, and confrontations: “the labyrinth of news of individuals whose lives you contact . . . in order that your brain turns into like a polychromatic Irish pub.” even if a chain of tragic postcards, a cubist novel, or a memoir shorn of its connective tissue, A Farewell to Prague stands as Desmond Hogan’s maximum fulfillment: a catalog of the moments that justify a life—or shine a gentle on its vacancy.
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Extra info for A Farewell to Prague (Irish Literature Series)
The grenade casts a fleecy circulation, rising like tongues of fire, cold fire. The circulation catches the belly, turns it over. Only the belly will not turn. The veins are full of heady blood, blood mixed with saffron and sulphur, only sulphur sweetened with water. Breasts appear above the belly. Higher still, and in depth, but on another level of the mind, the sun aflame, only in such a way as to make us think the breast is burning. And at the base of the grenade, a bird. The sun wears a kind of look.
Darkness itself grew more profuse and objectiveless. All frost grew clear. Beside me hound-god, like a shaft Its tongue pierces the crust, The double, vaulted, flattened dome Of the itching earth. Here comes the water triangle Stepping like a bug But under the burning bug It rounds as a stab. 50 Under the bosom of hideous earth The· bitch-god sleeps, Away from bosom of earth and ice Rotting its hollow tongue. Here comes the hammer-virgin, To crush the earth cellars Where the stellar dog's skull Feels the horrible level rise.
Perhaps I indulged in table talk when I should have tried to understand and sympathise with you. I wanted to reassure and cure you. This doubtless springs from the sort of rage with which I always react towards life, where I am concerned. In the struggle for life, I would only admit myself beaten when I breathe my last. Your last letters, in which the word "soul" often takes 42 the place of the word "mind", evoked my sympathy even more deeply, but embarrassed me more than the earlier ones. I feel I am close to deep and private suffering.