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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Arlene Zide
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 05:22 PM
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American Open Mike:  New American Voices .

** Arlene Zide **


CHICAGO EVOLUTION

Winter-whipped treetops screech and chatter
with schizophrenic parrots

gray stands of concrete reflected
in the grayed-green plumage
echo the once tropical oranges/greens/ turquoises of our
grandparents loosed upon this gray city.

they flirt, flutter, fly ó
ignore the crack of smiles
the amazement
of their would-be captors.

How they got here ó
the broken window of a pet shop,
two love-birds abandoned
by an old womanís passing,
merry escapees from the Lincoln Park zoo or college laboratory ?
Now they fret and flutter as they munch on bright orange berries
beckoning on snowy branches
ornamental winter trees in a city they never knew
they were not supposed to be able to survive, ignore
the stares of passersby.

They grow grayer along with their Hyde Park neighbors
stubborn
opposition to the ordinary, to the clout
of lusher regions, having forgotten warmer climes,
pull grayer feathers closer, face inwards,
more eccentric,
ignore the Arctic hawk,
dig in

adapt.



CHICAGO WINTER

City of ice
breaking
hard-nubbed branches

Slick
as plasticoated baby-faced IDs,
easy as rubber ice cream,........the smile
of a knowing judge,
All-American city of the clean
gun, the dirty street.

Your walls wrinkle in gray ridges
and the eye of the night
stares in.

We
cannot sleep,........can not
waiting
for that gunshot
crack
that overweight branch........to snap
and fall

splinters
of ice
and wood,........gashes
bleeding
into a boggy ground.



SOMEONE MAY ANSWER

You may knock at all their doors-
the president, your senator,
the landlord
Even your own dead motherís
they may not answer
Wonít answer

But
they say in Aleppo
in the folded caves of Afghanistan, beneath
the black crow coverings of Tehran
If you knock at Godís
door, at some holy gate without St. Peter standing guard
someone
will answer
God or devil
Golden angel or light-bearer

The Catholics offer up their suffering to it
Jews sorrow before its ragged broken stones
Hindus hold grudges about it
Buddhists
make an art of not caring
about it

God or devil
Golden angel or light-bearer
Those who play at human lilas of pain
at tsunamis of corpses littering the beach like seashells
Indifferent clockmakers
Or sexless forces of light
Someone
may answer


who?


lila................the play of the gods

Hoshangabad, 2004


Arlene Zide lives in Chicago. She is a poet, linguist and translator. On a Fulbright to India, she collected and translated poetry for the anthology In Their Own Voice: The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary Indian Women Poets (Penguin, India, 1993). She is a former editor of Primavera, the women's literature and arts journal out of Chicago. "I have had many poems published individually, but at age 65, have no collection of my own work published, though I have enough for 2-3 large collections," Zide says


Copyright 2005, all rights reserved.

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