Monday, January 1, 2007

South Side Lament

from Lamentations 1:19
…gave up the ghost in the city

Pauline the old rodeo queen
walks Biscuit at 7. She addresses
the end of the leash:
Which is you and which
is the snow?

It has been 100 days
since Daniel saw his mother.
She swings on a tiny
rope around his neck.

George curses the impetigo
behind bullet-proof glass.
His legs brought him
from Lebanon, but will
they take him home?

Her giant glasses telescope
into the future because
Mrs. Duda does not need
to see the past engraved there
on her wrist.

No more eggs for the third
shift workers at Rowley Inn,
no more third shift workers
killed that. But it’s still
open 23 hours a day.

The dismantled Hulett ore
unloader: so perfect a machine
said the operator by God
it must have been made.

Sisters Dale and Dreama
up before dawn. Dale dips
metal tips into toxic barrels.
Dreama serves buckets
of city chicken.

The girl upstairs named
herself Raven. Of course
she named her pit bull
Misery. Misery, she calls,
time for dinner.

Men stand in confetti
piles in the parking lot
at Sam’s Dairy Mart.
Drifts of lottery tickets.

The cockfighter stops
for gas, his birds scream
in the truck bed, trading
one cage for another,
with blade.

Pierogi and kielbasa
at Sokolowski’s, beer
and butter beneath
the bridge they want
to rebuild,

a signature bridge to take us
to the same old place,
or make it beautiful
to leave. Cleveland gave up
the ghost in the city,
carpetbaggers all.


Anonymous said...

I like your blog and your new poem. But tell me: When you say "city chicken," do you mean chicken sold in an urban setting, or chunks of breaded veal on a stick? Or are you one of these poets who don't tell?

Amy said...

I wish I could say I don't tell. But I do mean the breaded meat on the stick. Is it really veal?