1.9 State Street, Chicago

by Eric Chaet

Beneath law, lie ocean, ape, & dream—
branches & leaves
wrestle & dance with wind
roots reach elsewhere.

Broke-nose Chicago
ascends the lumbering bus
jamming in aggravated swarms aboard
or slowly thoughtful in worn clothes—
to feed the work addiction,
morning & streetlamp night.

My grandmother on my father’s side
rode by horse-back from Pharaoh & Babylon
the Persian & Seleucid empires
English, French, Spanish, German expulsions—
nationalism & bigotry breaking the feudal shell
the dismantling of Poland-Lithuania
& arrested development in the Pale of Settlement—
access to nutrients deliberately withheld—
then incited rioters, while police stood by
burned the roofs under ecstatic, autistic fiddlers—
time to move or die, however dire the options—
thru mechanized, electrifying Germany
by locomotive to the steamer ark—
& emerged from the rocking, implacable sea
at Baltimore—& caught another connection
thru Cumberland Gap’s doppler zones
to this booming refrigerated railroad car city—
as ravenous for cheap sewing machine operators
as for cowed, driven, bellowing meat.

Trailing Assyria, caesar, czar of all
Odessa & Kiev, hasid, & kosher butcher.

She met her man on day shift
& lived behind store-front
near penalized black Africans
mafiosa & their wives & children
Irish cops & bars & tenors
& stench of pig & steer massacres.

I am only trying for a straight account
of how I come to be walking up State
sucking Chicago’s rusty teat
dreaming & growing stronger.


traduccion espanol – Eric Chaet y Michael Bent

Debajo la ley se encontran océano, mono, y sueño
ramas y hojas luchan y bailan con viento
raízes llegan a otro sitio.

Nariz-roto Chicago ascensa el autobús cargado de espaldas
se agolpaban en enjambres agravados a bordo
o lentamente pensativo en ropas gastadas
alimentar la trabajo-addición
mañanas y noches de farolas.

Mi abuela al lado de mi padre
se paseó a caballo de Pharaoh a Novgorod
viajé en tren a la costa alemana
salió del buque océano en Baltimore
y llegué una otra conexión a través de zonas Doppler
a esta ciudad.

Arrastando Assyria, céser, zar de todo
Odessa y Kiev, hasid, y carnicero ritual.

Ella se encontré con su hombre en turno del día
y vivía detrás de escaparate cerca de africanos negros,
mafiosa y sus esposos y niños,
canas irlandés y posadas y tenores
y hedor de masacres de cerdos y novillos.

Yo estoy tratando solamente para un informe directo
de cómo yo paso andanda Calle del Estado
mamando la teta oxidada de Chicago
soñando y creciendo más fuerte.


Picture: Chuckman’s “Chicago Nostalgia and Memorabilia”


Previously published in Dictionary of International Poets (Korea), World Poetry 2001 (India).

Also posted online @ Kintespace (USA), Arts Dialogue (Netherlands).

Previously posted online @ Blocos (Brazil).


metanoia composure series

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