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Chicagoetry: Black Ghost

Black Ghost

If a flamingo, be of steel.
Strike a pose in mid-pirouette.
I see myself in Calder's Flamingo,
bright red steel striving to dance

and my parents are the Federal Buildings,
serene monoliths of dignity, repose
in black steel and glass.
So I am the carefree child at their stolid feet

dancing in both reverence and defiance.

I think my dad wanted me to be Sears Tower.
I think my mom just wants me to be happy.
I don't think either imagined a flamingo,
even one of strong, stubborn steel.

Say my dad was molded by Mies,
elegance and strength in extremis.
Say my ego was molded by God,
who, in poetry, is expected to be addressed

as "Father." Say: this is not the curvature
of my mind. I dig the omnipotence of mind,
like the omnipotence of Mies,
like the omnipotence of a monolith.

When impotent, I am livid.
When potent, I am vivid.
When my dad died, I was id.
When God died, I suspected ego.

I think my dad wanted me to be Sears Tower.
If he was Mies, I wasn't even Bertrand Goldberg,
protege defying the square steel master
with voluptuous concrete and curvature.

At least Goldberg was an architect, too.
I wanted to dance, OK? Jesus: I shall dance.
My father, my teacher, did expound the value
of individuality. So I got that part right.

I can't blame him if he secretly wished
I might be like him only taller and more
complicated. I hope he'd be proud of me
but it has to be OK if he wouldn't be.

I have to allow him his serenity,
his individuality. I shan't project my ego
into his peace, his transcendence of this
vale of suffering. I sure am proud of him.

My bright dance would be invisible
if his fell black ghost didn't hover



J.J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He welcomes your comments. Chicagoetry is an exclusive Beachwood collection-in-progress.


More Tindall:

* Book of poems: Ballots From the Dead

* Music: MySpace page

* Fiction: A Hole To China

* Critical biography at


Posted on August 3, 2010

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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