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Chicagoetry: Exile on North Ave.

Exile on North Ave.

Every day I dream
of a different life.

Like: a city in a ship.
Not a ship

in a bottle, but a city
in a ship, a city

of words.
I have stripped away everything,

stripped it down: a few books,
cigarettes, coffee, beer.

Food is the least of my worries.
Food is a chore, food is a function.
Radio and television, OK.
Some clothes, a sink. No fridge.

A part-time job
I can hardly stand.

Years now: cigarettes, tears.
Somewhere down the line
I made a choice. Stripped.
Words are people, buses, beers and rain.

Sometimes I hear my neighbors bitch.
There's a firehouse up Pulaski
that gushes sirens. You get used to it.
Fan, space heater, a printer

out of ink for two years now.
There better be a city in it, man,
or I'm fucked.
There were different lives

but I walked away from them all.
There better be a dream in it, man.
I have gushed a stereophonic tunnel
of howls, picking out choruses,

weeding through crocuses.
Bliss is a bitch you can only worry on.
I can feel it all slipping away
but it's OK because I wrote a lot of it

down. I picked the jewels from my
frown. If what is left is but shards
perhaps they'll glitter.
Yeah: I can feel it all slipping away.

But there were a couple of weeks of bliss
and that's a lot to be thankful for.
People rarely get to build their own glass ship.
Words fail but don't we all.

We do have this.


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


More Tindall:

* Music: MySpace page

* Fiction: A Hole To China

* Critical biography at


Posted on May 17, 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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