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Posted by : cj on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 12:22 PM
Poetry:  Click On The Author's Name .
This page has been awarded to fromer Illinois Arts Council Award recipient Kim Berez, winner of's 2004 Readers' Choice Awards.

Kim Berez, Starwallpaper editor and Poetry Center of Chicago teacher, has been published in numerous small press zines and seven anthologies most recently Woman Made Gallery's Inhabiting the Body. She was involved in some of Chicago's earliest multimedia poetry performances as a member of The Other Chicago Poets, co-wrote and performed in Obras and Untitled, and her poetry was included in Words on Fire at the Steppenwolf Theater. "The Loss" is usually performed in the dark with projected slides. In real life, Kim Berez is an art therapist, having worked 20 years at Roberto Clemente High School. She ran the first high school hip hop club in Chicago and her students won four Gwendolyn Brooks Young Poet Laureate Awards.

From now until February 28, Kim Berez is accepting submissions of poetry from 6th to 12th graders for the 14th edition of Star Wallpaper.

The poems for Star Wallpaper should be sent to:

Kim Berez - StarWallpaper
The Puddin’head Press
PO Box 477889
Chicago IL 60647

If you have any further questions, please call the Puddin’head Press at 708-656-4900.

For more information check out the website.


The Loss

for D.D.

I dream of dark chambers
Rooms I never use
Heavy varnished doors
with finite thud & click
A long forgotten houseguest prone across lavatory tile
--Panic of blood splashed across my cool porcelain dreams
trickles to the sewer now
an underground bloodsystem

Wrinkled red kidneybean of an unborn thought
lost in the chenille folds
leaves her impression
long after removed I dream

still dream
translucent fish spawning in underground streams
in the dark until
their eyes disappear
in rooms half forgotten
I call out in the night

Where is my dark child hiding
Where is my ghost-pale child
In the shadows behind your eyes?
Behind yours?
Behind some still-too-vivid memory?

I'm leaning out a 3rd story window
Calling from an abandoned building
oh whoever you are
Come home for dinner

Come home

by Kim Berez


First Place Winner


He used to call her
His scent like the exhaust fan
The kids had to walk past at the neighborhood bar
To fetch him home

That stale smell stifling their childish blue & pink bedroom
Mama had moved into months ago
In order to stop him though it didn't

he spewed freely
for the world to hear
back when a man couldn't
rape his wife in court
'Cuz she was His to do with as he pleased

As she pleaded
as she sobbed
as she screamed in pain and frustration
- except this night –
this one random night

She didn't beg sob or yell
for the kids to run next door
and call the cops

Held down
Both her tiny wrists pinned
under one of his hard square hands

While his free hand ripped her nightgown
She . . . spit

She just spit
No one breathing
in his face

and she spit again

He whacked her harderBITCH

she felt nothing /not the red welts rising
She felt nothing but her new power

Spit / Slap
Blood surfacing

The daughter holding her breath
in her own damp pillow
felt the power
Overflow into her

& It was something
silently Silently
she slipped from under cover

In the drawer with his union badge
he kept a fishing knife

by Kim Berez

What Happened to my Friend 

the roof of her husband's love
floats high above their home
letting the jewel-blue evening wind
waft white clouds across their bedroom

They dream of a stage made with red tiles
to remind them of their country
And all the audience waits hushed
The only motion the steam rising from their coffees

These attentive women thinking in native tongues
These silent women are treacherous inside
Ready for bombs and poison
Ready for prison
Broken glass in their eyes
Fighting for what they believe

How was she to know
One of these 'political' women would leave early
to crawl through he hole in her roof
and drop a bomb into her worst nightmare
Churning her hurricane sleep
and cut off both her arms

Waiting for a sign from God

Despair is a wasteland
of india ink washes
of Miguel's clay sculpture of the ruins of the future
A life-size ink wash in 3-D
You are walking through in the fog.
Despair is the grey Cadillac you're diving through the fog
& a phone somewhere in the distance is ringing
& it's someone you don't want to talk to
Or the phone won't ring

for days
but you can't stray past the perimeter of
the wasteland of
waiting so you don't miss the one phone ring
that will be a decision/a sign from God
that will be the sun breaking through the smog
that is confusion of lies ambivolence & mixed message

& it's empty behind all the faces you know
hanging out from every place a window used to be
& the voices the yelling & calling
"Ma mi!!" & the kids chattering & the fights
on tv & the salsa & the alternative rock
& the sirens always sirens & something crashing
into the city of despair
like the soundtrack
that plays when a movie's depicting
someone going mad

& yet you're alone somehow insulated
by the absense of colors
Floating above with a higher purpose-
Waiting for a sign from God
so you don't have to make the wrong decision

& you go where you always went for no reason
(which was probably the same reason ya always had for going)
& your friend the feature poet
threatens unless you buy him a drink
he'll announce how many X's you have
in this room
& yet you're alone

shedding parts of yourself
like you loose days
your experiences
to step away from like a bathrobe
or lover

like some Eastern religious trec
You're realizing the secret
that we're really all alone

So now you're having a control issue with God
You at your kitchen table at 2am
He sittin on a golden curbstone
Each stubbornly refusing
to be the first to apologize

Decades After the Depression

In my cousin's yard

in Crumbstown

which is near North Liberty

which is near South Bend

In my cousin's yard

are strewn the bones of Studebakers

long after the factory closed

They stopped feeding the huntin' dog

Unchained him

Said he could hunt for hisself

They stopped feeding & clothing Monica

Sent her to us in the city

My Mom complained bitterly

Another mouth to feed

& fixed her a sandwhich

Sewed her a dress

& complained some more

Waving goodbye to someone already gone

For the stars not falling
into her palms
I apologize

For the collapsed sticks of her home
not gusting upright
For not pretending they have
I apologize

I hope I don't peel open the sky
just to find endless night
But there are no more towns-
just granite angels looming from gravesites
on this road

& I am already turning
My palm outstretched
Reaching for an empty hand
to hold

I Am sorry

French Film
(for Effie)

entitled French Film
where slow foggy plots
only intuitively intertwine,
and ending with the words and

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