Jan Těsnohlídek

3 poems
-Translated from Czech by Tereza Novická

sidewalks full of dead birds


a girl makes a boy think that

	pigeons are  b o r n
in the leaves on the sidewalks –
that they sleep
and during the night they mature/fly off so that
children can scare them on the square or
	feed them pigeon feed and
that everywhere
like at prague central

t h e y  r e s t

	nestled in the netting
like in hammocks

	from wire

a girl makes a boy think
that love
that forever			
that happiness and all that jazz and
other times
other times the

	sidewalks are just full of dead birds


apartment complex


standing on a balcony
on the 6th floor
at 10pm

it’s a bit chilly
old ladies are walking their dogs
a few people are coming home

if I jumped
what would remain?

what would remain
if I jumped
in twenty years

what would change
if someone jumped
from a balcony now
from the 6th floor
of the building opposite

A thump
A shriek
A few lit windows


unprejudiced violence


unprejudiced violence is
giving a stranger on a train platform
a knuckle sandwich
tripping up a child
	running by
unprejudiced violence is
stabbing a person on the street
	in the back
like that
to intersect two episodes
	with one incident
at once –




JAN TĚSNOHLÍDEK is a Czech writer, editor and publisher from Krucemburk near Zdar nad Sazavou in south-east Bohemia. He has received a number of literary prizes including Orten’s Kutna Hora (2005–2008) and Vaclav Hrabet’s Horovice (2006, 2008). He has written two books of poems: Násilí bez předsudků (Violence Without Prejudice), which received the Jiri Orten Award (2010), and Rakovina (Cancer). His poems have been translated into English, German, Italian, Slovenian, Spain, Dutch and Polish. He was co-general editor at the Czech literary magazine Psi vino from 2008-2011 and is a member of the Prague Writers’ Club, the Czech PEN Club and the director of JT’s publishing house. He lives in Prague.

About the translator:

TEREZA NOVICKÁ grew up in San Francisco, California and moved to the Czech Republic in 2000 where she studies Anglo-American Studies at Charles University. She has translated various Czech and Slovak poets into English including Ondřej Buddeus, Sylva Fischerová, Lenka Daňhelová, Martin Skýpala, Vlado Šimek and Pavel Novotný. She is an assistant director at the annual Prague Micro Festival.