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Chicagoetry: Michigan City Blues


"In Chicago you become a connoisseur of the near nothing." - Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift

Seven Choruses

I can see clearly
Now, clear

As the spring sky,
That I will work

Until the day
I die.

Opaque as god,
Oblique as love,

Death shall be
My condo
In Miami

Or my cottage
In Michigan City.
Sure as I sit
On the shore of this lake

I'll never be able
To retire.
Sooner walk
Across the water

To Michigan City,
Which isn't even
In goddam


Staring mildly into
This old sea
(Lake of Light)
I feel the

Horizontal gravity

Sucking out pain
And letting wisdom

I could slip
Under the quilt
Of these tides,

Rest my head
Upon the sandy pillow,
And dream a tiny bliss

For I am liberated.

The future has drowned
In the sea

And I am free
To thrive
In the Always Now.

The Buddha
Would be proud.

When death becomes Miami
I brood upon Miami.
In the cauldron of half-sleep
A transfiguration takes place:

A cut-glass vase
Of gratitude and piety
Becomes a cauldron
Of black anxiety.

It hurts
To remember
The hurt

But to forget
Would truly
Be Hell.

Deep night terrors
Abound between sleep;
The same silence heals
In the warm light

Of this beach.

When death becomes Miami
What then of Miami Beach?
Heaven or Purgatory?
Limbo or finally


I'll worry of a premature
Or self-inflicted Miami,

Getting shot to Miami,
Bored to Miami,
Before I ever reach

Michigan City.

Life is an island
In an old sea
Of nothing,

A shady copse in
An invisible field.

I've studied the Masters,
Kow-towed to the Gurus,
Consulted the Specialists, but

I am now
A shade tree mechanic,
As they say,
Fixer of my own mind.

Mind, by God!
You may get ticked,
But I say the Soul
Is over-rated.

From here on in,
I tweak my own psyche,
I tend my own wounds,
I shape

My own shadow.

Scanning the grey horizon,
I find that tiny bliss,
Scarce as a black house.

Listening to the light,
Staring at the silence,
Serene as a cloud.

Numb to rudeness,
Startled by kindness.

My mind floats
With the shore birds:
Seagulls, geese,

Red-winged blackbirds,
Each becalmed by
The gargantuan birdbath.

Both the waves
And the breeze
Sing of these:

"Beg forgiveness,
Borrow time,
Steal away."

Back West,
Back to the world,
Back through the labyrinth.

On across the Grid,
Between the faces
Marked with woe,

And the waning traces
Of childish hope,

Between the birdbaths
And bloodbaths.

Only a few thin letters
Between the birdbath
And the bloodbath,

Between the blizzard
And the salivating buzzard.

Though bliss is brief,
It must be this
We diligently seek.

Is no reason
Never to garden.

In life, no one
Has hurt me
More than me.

Had I forgiveness
To offer, I would
Forgive me.

I'm still
Thinking it over.


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


More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance


Posted on May 5, 2015

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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