MODERN AMERICAN GYPSY: BY DAVID MCWANE PAGES 95-106 – Austria to Czech Republic to Germany.

Each day a new section of David McWane’s Modern American Gypsy will be posted. Todays stories start in Austria, then the Czech Republic, to finally Germany.


David McWane


Austria to Czech Republic


Little villages sit in the dips of the green hills of Melk, Austria


I look to my left

Out the window

Driving through Austria

On my way to Bruno, Czech Republic

I want to write about how beautiful the countryside is

But you don’t care to read about that

So I won’t

Instead I will tell you about

Something readers do find interesting

The sadness of people

The man sitting front right is depressed

With his head on the window

He is loveless and has stopped caring for himself

The driver is an Englishman

And he is tired

It is his 2005 Sprinter he mans and we ride in

He feels as if he has nothing, other than the adventure he is on now

But that keeps him going

He holds a face that reads hope

But he must still work through some thoughts before his full glow returns

The man far right in the middle row is full of anger

And is biding his time to voice it

His emotions torture his wisdom

I hope one day he will accept life for what it is and what he can make

Possible in it, if he just comforts his own angry thoughts

And stops wondering why the world is not following his angry logic

I hope he finds this before he dies

To his left is a man full of self doubt and pain

He was brought up weak

And what he hates most is that he knows he’s weak

But he is a good man

Everyone’s favorite

Kind and funny

To his left is a man who has no responsibilities,

So he is very happy

He is a simple man and easily amused

Runs away from things that do not make him happy

He will need a woman to help him understand the serious parts of life

In the last row, far right – this man is also very happy

He feels lucky

It is his first time out of New England

He is fresh, a green man

Loves women more than anything else

And the women love him

He will also need a strong woman to help him understand the serious parts of life

In the back, another man is sleeping atop the luggage,

He is hung over, but content

He is a man of simple needs

And his greatest need is to be drunk

He will do okay if he sobers up

For he is the smartest of us all when not wet

And I am the odd one

A man who has lost control of his imagination,

Like a full bender, spinning without a top

Some people like me

Some people dislike me

Not many know me and I like it that way

I’ll need a woman

Before my image of them fades

Before too many of them wrong me and I give up on them

We are a group of men

And we work well together

It is inside a dark week that we travel though today

And our souls are low

And our thoughts are dreadful

But outside our windows

Are bright yellow fields of rape seed squared off perfectly

Into lush family gardens

And the little villages sits cozy in the dips of the green hills

Melk, Austria gives



Endless stone walls

Shingled roofs – red and orange

Patina church towers

Sheep trotting together

Baby sheep running to keep up


Set on the tallest hill

A statue of an angel

Pointing to the sky




Czech Republic




            Many people speak of how beautiful the Czech Republic is and they are right.  But when you have as many prostitutes as they do, it becomes silly to me that one would say how yummy a sundae is and not point out the cock roach crawling on the whipped cream.

When driving into Czech Republic, you must take one long road that has woodlands to the left and right.  It’s not the type of place where you’d think a stiletto heeled blonde in a red frilly mini skirt and a light blue elastic tube top would emerge from, smoking a cigarette and waving you to stop by shaking her tush and breasts.  However, these women do exist here and they are not Big Foot’s harem.  The ladies of the woods emerge from little huts or lean-tos, deep in the woods and stand on the sides of the road for men and boys that simply cannot wait any longer for a kiss.  Thinking about it, this system does seem more organic than the dark streets of Detroit.  And the choices in these woodlands seem better than the classic man on man action showcased in the film Deliverance.

So all and all, seeing the bright frilly skirts, tinny tops, red heels, big hair and souped up breasts, waving and shaking their delicates as you drive by on this woodland stretch of road heading into Prague, is as odd as seeing a bird while scuba diving or an octopus while sky diving.  But without them, we wouldn’t have them and what a visual gift they provide.  And without that visual, we would have this.  And without this you wouldn’t be squinting with that perplexed look, saying, “Is this even true?”




Dale said, “The Devil lives on this bridge.”

“What d’ya mean, the ‘Devil lives on this bridge’?” I asked.

“Take a look, go on, be careful yah, he’s ugly.”  Then Dale takes a long drag with eye contact and holds his breath as he says, “Can’t take his photo though, he’ll hold a mirror up to you.  Show yah the real devil.”  Then Dale laughed.  “‘S a real sight, man, ‘s a real sight.”

And what do you know, at the end of the bridge was the Devil.  Crouching, shirtless, manic, pierced and barefoot.  He painted himself with chalk on brown paper.  Two blue horns came from his head, tattered brown pants, not many teeth, but a big Cheshire smile.  He hissed, spit, grunted and growled, crouched, crawled and scowled.  I raised a camera to him and he dove down covering his face, emerging with a mirror pointed at me.  Then he put it down and crawled back to his painting of himself, grunting and spitting.

The devil is uglier than they led you to believe.




When the sun goes down, the girls wake up, and when girls wake up they need money if they’re gonna score.  We walked through the wandering prostitutes to meet up with a friend of mine from my hometown that now lives in Czech Republic.  Two young working girls stood dipping French fries in KFC mashed potatoes.  With gravy teeth they try and chat us up.  Us men acknowledge the young working girls with a smile and a touch to the brims of our fedoras, yet we walk on.

“Most of the porn girls are just uneducated, with Daddy issues.  And they’re all on some sort of drug,” said my friend that now worked in the Czech porn industry.  “They mostly live in Bruno, all the famous ones, you’ll probably see some there while out drinking.  My girl’s from there.”

“Does she do porn?” I ask.

“Yeah, but she only does girls since we started seeing each other,”  he says.

After many drinks, one of my men and I walked over to The Devil’s Bridge.  That’s not what it’s called, but that’s what we call it.  But we got a little lost, so we decided to ask a young lady walking toward us for directions.

“Excuse me, do you happen to know where…”

“No, only one at a time,” she interrupted, “not both, no group suck ‘n’ fuck.”



Green Fire, Nazi’s & All The Beautiful Girls


We were lighting our third

flaming shot of Absinth.

My friend was nervous about tossing the green fire back

and by being nervous,

he hesitated.

1, 2, 3,


His face burned with the green flames.

He screamed.

Everyone laughed.

‘Silly American’, was the general thought.

After he was put out,

the smell of

burned nose hairs took to the bar.

It was 1:50AM;

Bruno, Czech Republic.

Ivan, the club owner, continued about how it was

May 1st – Nazi Demonstration Day.

“Five-hundred people plus had participated in this demonstration,”

Michael reported.

But I was unable to comment,

I just couldn’t stop looking

at all the long

Czech girls



and lusting

at the bar.


Czech Republic To Germany


Now is the time for silence.  The drives are quiet.  Down time on tour is a delicate time.  A man must give another man space if he is to expect his own to be honored.   So if one is smart and has control of their thoughts from their brain to their mouths then, now is the time for silence.

Each one of us knows deep down, that every man is a ticking time bomb.  Now is the time to talk low, now is the time to play cards, Pierdro for us, now is the time to buy or bring back from the Sprinter a beer for your friend who sits alone, now is the time to ask questions about each other’s lives and not talk about your own, now is the time for old jokes and old stories of better times, now is the time for silence.  Now is the time too keep your mouth shut about the little this is and that’s that are getting under your skin, boiling up and making you crazy.  For if one man voices the short comings of another man then – BOOM!

Now is the time for silence.




Berlin.  Cold Berlin.  Stormy Berlin.   Drunk, dark and a snow covered latched door in Berlin.  An old key in Berlin.  Lead by Simon is Berlin.  An empty church  in Berlin.  A newly constructed bunk house in Berlin.  Fresh sheets in Berlin.  Touring German musicians also being put up in Berlin.  Handshakes in Berlin.  Smiles in Berlin.  A long table in Berlin.  Crates of beer in Berlin.  “What’s this?” in Berlin.  A hookah in Berlin.  Late hours in Berlin.  A switchblade gift in Berlin.  A “Thank you,” in Berlin.  Thunder in Berlin.  Lightning in Berlin.  Going outside in the night to look at Berlin.  A simple church, sitting on a small hill, caught in a snowstorm, with agitated clouds sending webbed lightning across the sky, flashing briefly, illuminating huddled men in Berlin.  Everyone around the heater in Berlin.  The last of the wine in Berlin.  Everyone up to the bunkhouse in Berlin.  Cloths hung to dry in Berlin.  Warm in Berlin.  Stormy outside in Berlin.  Lights out in Berlin.


            By noon we had left the Church.  We figured out how to get to the Berlin Wall by just moving forward and detailing our direction as we moved.  Most of The Wall has been taken down; Germans are not proud of it.  It isn’t a statue.  Yet some of The Wall still stands.  Remembrance to reinforce practical wisdom.

Everyone was in top mood this day.  No-need laughter was let out in abundance.  Being silly and acting the fool was on everyone’s front burner.  The morning coffee had done well.  And catching up on sleep wrapped in clean sheets didn’t hurt either.  Cameras out.  Smiles on.  “Use up your film mates; we’ll get more, we’ll get more.”  Snap, flash, snap, flash and “Could you take one of me here?”.

“Wow,” we all cadenced while we tried to see who could jump and touch the highest point on The Wall.  Dale gave us an impressive history lesson that in 10 minutes painted more than my 8th grade Social Studies class could all year.

I found an American flag spray painted on The Wall, bent down along it and pocketed a couple pieces of The Wall for my father and future son.  Black lines on the spray painted flag looked to me like an image from one of my past poems titled, Running With Your Arms Out.  So I positioned myself at the base of the lines, to have it look like my cast shadow had his arms out.  And when I looked up to where the sun was being covered by the fast moving bruised colored clouds and from where the new rain derived I heard – ‘snap-snap’ and…

…“Brilliant mate, you’re gonna love that one.”


Burn Me


For too long

has water

been only

rain and sweat for me.

Shivering in complete darkness

I step inside the squat’s shower.

The cement is slimy and cold.

I feel around the blackness with closed eyes,

I find a bar of soap,

I find the water lever and twist it. 

Water blasts out,

still steaming

from the man before me.

The city of Gottingen in East Germany

is too dark and too cold tonight.

And my body feels as if

it is just a starving ghost

of myself.

Once the water strikes

the scalding makes me smile.

I steam.

I had forgotten how

muscles relax, I had forgotten

what pleasure felt like.

For too long

there has only been focus,


struggle and pain


for too long

for me

has water

been only





Over Hanover


I get a wave of excitement

to look outside my window

for a poem

in Hanover,

because I am in Germany

and anything could look




and a spark could happen

and a poem could be born.

Today, I feel lucky to not be in New England.

A boy like me could never afford a trip

to Europe and I take a moment

to remind myself that.

I will look out the

window of the

bunk house,

as I drink through this carton of bottled beer,

by the light of two candles.

The men are playing cards,

laughing and talking

about women

and the

electronics of proper amplifiers

and guitar pick ups.

I look out and think

how lucky I am,

‘How am I so far away?

How am I in Germany and not America?

Am I doing something right?’ I think.

I finish a beer and pop open the Belgium beer stashed

in my back pocket as I lift the window fully open

and sit in the windowsill, three stories up

with my legs dangling.

I think about how

boring America is.

I slide the blue velvet curtain over

So I can sit sideways in the window frame.

I look out in search of the spark,

in search of a poem,

in search of the young eye,

that eye that finds

what the adults miss.

I look and look.

And drink and drink.

And look and drink and then,

I bring my brow down and really look,

while I take a long swig of my bottled beer,

but there is nothing,

nothing special for me.

Only a red car,

with a street light above it

and trees blowing slightly,

from the gusts from the east

and a dog barking

from somewhere in the fog,

and the distant sound of harsh girls

that I had met hours before giggling.

I put the pen down.

I put the paper away.

I open a new beer

and turn to the men talking

to engage them and

get in the card game.


is boring too.


            Us men decided to go into a peepshow.  We needed a cheap laugh.  And not one of us had ever seen one before – only in movies.  We waved to the man at the counter, walked down a narrow, dully lit red hallway, stepped inside small booths, and each put coinage into slots that make the metal window slides go up.  Sure thing, there was a woman taking off her delicates, dancing a bit and kissing at all the tinted windows.

We all smiled on our way out, laughed and asked each other what kind of lousy booze we would like to go find.  As we crossed the street we noticed one of us was already there, kicking dirt and looking sullen.

“What’s goin’ around, yah?’ I asked.

“Didn’t you go into the peep thing?” another man blurted.

“I saw yah go in.  I saw him go in.”

“Yeah I went in, but I guess I read my door wrong.  I put my coinage in and then, the um, the window started to raise.”  He kept on while his hands we’re in his pockets and he looked down at a glass Coca-Cola bottle he was kicking along and spinning around with his toe.


“Yeah, so I saw the girl’s shoes, heels I mean, and the window went up and I saw the legs, with the pantyhose and the window went up and then the tush, but when she turned around…” He looked up to see all of our eyes wide and our mouths covered with our palms.  “It was a naked fella.”

Not one of us men didn’t have to go to one knee, keel over, gasping from laughing on the side walk of Hamburg.  He laughed too, but he still wasn’t too happy about it.  Yet it was a good cheap laugh and perfect timing for us all.


I like zombie movies.  People would tell you I love zombie movies – I just think I like them quite a lot more than others.  And Hamburg, Germany has as many prostitutes as the pinch point in a zombie screenplay has hungry zombies.  The venue we were performing at was four blocks from the zentrum, a fifteen minute walk.  But, it would take us an hour fighting off the zombie prostitutes of Hamburg, Germany.

The ladies are only allowed to stand in a circle the size of a Hollywood star in Los Angeles.  If they leave that area and step into another girl’s area, they would be in a lot of trouble, cat fight trouble, because they would be in another lady’s rightful work area.  And I believe they rent these small areas to stand as well.  These zombies would grab your shirt, pull you close, grab your hand, pull you close, grab the back of your neck, belt or even your unmentionables, just to keep you close.  At first they act as sweet as a school girl with a big crush on you, or a playboy bunny hot for her billionaire.  But if you step outside their area, they become mean and vengeful.  “Go fuck each other, gay boyz!  I bet youz big gay boyz for each other!  Go sucky, sucky each other gay boyz.  FUCK YOUZ GAYZ…GAY BOYZ!”

Some girls are allowed to walk free, but they were careful not to walk into a stationary prostitute’s area.  Pushing, yelling and grabbing was the lawful right of these ladies.

Grab, flirt, whisper, pull, kiss, touch, caress, tug, tug harder – insult.  SCREAM! The ladies were fishing and the men were their dead fish in their dirty sea.  Some are young, some are old, some cover drug sores with thick make up, some would handle you right there, some you take back to a designated pimp house, some you could take behind a dumpster.  Most of them seemed German or Russian, but as an American, my nose does not smell accents as well as Europeans.

We began to take the long way back to the club, because, like zombie movies, these zombie prostitutes were too dead, too hungry and there were just too many of them to come out alive.


Zombies of Hammburg Germany


Zombies, of Hammburg Germany

Everywhere, the female allure

Perverse beauty

The precocious love of—

Junked little girls sitting quietly

On the #57 bus

It’s last stop at – ‘Desperation’

Upon exit


The fast hard life

No fear

No reason for fear

When all of instinct’s adrenaline has been used on

Daily nightmares

‘Love’ becomes a word of betrayal and swindling

A listless emotion becomes a commodity

Now, incorrigible for daytime society

Trapped, standing in designated working areas

Two feet by two feet concrete square

Clawing at passers by

Trained humility

The pulsating vein, a different syncopated heartbeat

Humanity’s own living meat feast

Carrion skin, dying under—

Caked make up cracking, from—

Coarse sores protruding—

Like a snow covered volcano

Pungent perfumed burning




Despondency of childhood innocence

Replaced with Man’s pitiless traditional

Handbook for women

His inimical greed

Somber women



Dead and walking

The whore


The German Compliment

If you ask me,

Germans are alright people.

They drink to laugh,

are joyous and loud

and don’t try and talk politics

with me at 2:00AM

like those in other countries do.


However, they do one thing

that strikes me as odd.

If and when they compliment you,

they always add an insult after.

The insult is stronger

than the compliment

and completely

cancels it out.


I call it – The German Compliment.


In Munich, a blonde girl – quite pretty,

with a voice like a sexy double agent

in a James Bond film,

walks up to me confidently,

interrupting the conversation at hand, stating,

“You guys were very good,

not as good as some groups, but good.”

I said, “Thank you.”

She checked my eyes for sarcasm,

didn’t find any,


and went back to her friends.


In Goettingen, a wet drunk,

slapped my shoulder,

gave me a full body shake

and embraced me.

“Your new record is great,

track four is shit,

but it’s great.”

I said “Thank you.

Track four is my favorite,

give it another go.”

“No,” he said.  It’s shit.”



the German Compliment.

It’s quite confusing when

you’re not ready for it,

but very fun,

when you are.


My favorite was from Erfurt though -

“I only liked it because I was drunk.”

said a slobbery young man.

It’s short and has a good punch.

I told him,

“Well, I’m glad you’re drunk.”



Thanks for reading! I will post 10 pages tomorrow. You can find Modern American Gypsy here:

And check out the bonus Poems below.

Take care,

David McWane


Bonus Poem 1 of 2


Don’t Visit The Graveyard When It Rains, When It Pours

The Gravedigger

listens to the relatives of the dead

at funerals and burials.

He tries to get a feel for who each person was.


Then, later at night, he visits each grave,

telling the innocent they are still wonderful people.

He sings lullabies to the little children,

even tries to give everyone an update on their family,

When he can.


The Gravedigger is very patient.

The souls appreciate him greatly.

They love the old man.

God is still a bit unsure of him.

And the Devil thinks he’s a riot.


But when it rains,

when it thunders,

when the wind moves showing its teeth,

The Gravedigger visits different graves.

He visits the graves

of wicked men and wicked women.


These nights, with haunting fury,

he curses them down,

cuts them apart with his words,

screams “Murder” over them

and reminds them how they are hated.

With confidence, the Gravedigger glares at their stones,

by his side – the rain and thunder.


These are the nights that the Devil climbs up.

And crawls atop each tombstone.

He stays through the night,

drinking bottle after bottle of blood wine.

Rain pours,

the thunder claps,

the Devil choruses the Gravedigger with laughter

once he’s lit from the wine.

Screams. Screams. And screams.

The two point jagged fingers.

The two rage murder.

And souls scream horribly back.


It is punishment.

It is horror.

It is nothing you want to see.

So visit when you will,

but the graveyard is not the place to enter,

when it rains, when it pours, when thunder claps.

Best leave it alone.


Bonus Poem / Audio Poem 2 of 2 


Smoking Her Chalk 1
(click above for audio poem) 

Smoking Her Chalk

Seventh grade Social Studies class was my favorite

There was a seating chart

I was in the front

Dead middle

Usually I would have been discouraged by my Vulnerability

To get called on

But Mrs. Jones smoked her chalk

Like an old 1930s actress

And I liked my seat because of the up close view

It provided of her

I don’t believe Mrs. Jones knew what she was doing to Us boys

After she chalked up the black board

With dates, names and old excursions

She would sit on the front of her desk

In front of me

Toss her red hair back

Cross those thin legs

Shining wet from the school’s harsh overhead lights

Her loose shirt flipped over a bit

If it was a good day

Knees would show

Even the white lace underskirt

Would sneak out

Then Mrs. Jones would smoke her chalk

Like an old 1930s actress

She would hold one of her elbows

In the cup of the other hand

Her small piece of chalk, hanging like a cigarette in her Light fingers

She was less then 3 feet from me

What a class Miss Jones had

As we answered her questions

She would squint her eyes

Pucker her lips

And bounce the chalk against her pucker

I would stare

Didn’t she know how foxy that was to us?

To me?

Years later I was told

Her husband died from a heart attack

I leaned against my apartment’s door frame

To remember

Miss. Jones smoking her chalk like a 1930s actress

‘Maybe I could seduce her now’, I thought



Don’t Visit The Graveyard When It Rains
, When It Pours’ is from the book Biting Lightening, Bloody Mary. Smoking Her Chalk is from the book The Gypsy Mile. Both books can be found here: and the audio poem is from ‘The Gypsy Mile Reading’ found below at



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