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Stuart Dybek

The Tribune gets all literary on us today and publishes some poetry--poetry!--from native sons Stuart Dybek and Kevin Coval. Here's Dybek's:

Twenty Feet Above the Street

Workmen in coveralls are painting miles
of kinetic geometry, the electrified back-alley
Silhouetted twenty feet above the street.
Color doesn't matter where light
is the shade of girders sunk in recollection.
(I see el stations and I want them painted black.)
At Monroe, the accordion can't make change.
It's a day for snatches of free music: bells,
sirens, a saxophone echoing the spheres,
industrial-strength percussion from a tribe
of project kids, the techno beat
of sprockets as trains reel overhead
like runaway strips of film. But despite
the public soundtrack for the private movie
of reflections gliding shop windows along Wabash,
the buildings insist on telling their own stories.
For a modest fare, you get to hear
the voice-over of a digital conductor;
you get to see a northbound Ravenswood
releasing pigeons like blackbirds from a pie
A roller coaster on the straight and narrow
is how you get from here to there
while you further your secret degree
in Daily Ecstasy, eight miles high,
twenty feet above the street.

Admittedly the poems are mostly there to merely complement Alex Garcia's fine series of Loop photographs (which, sadly, aren't online), and probably wouldn't appear otherwise. But we literary junkies have to take such little victories wherever we can.

July 29, 2004 in Books | Permalink