one two three four five taxicabs in a line
one to bite the beast and two to beat the bread—
a carnival of conditions
and I feel better than Chicago —
gunshot city, weather watchers,
complainers and animosity, angst
and mediocrity, gut wrenched trees,
flash drive passions,
four corners, six corners, uptown,
downtown, the park Roger named,
fear seeker, bullet heads,
gray down on the rooftops,
pock marked and feckless,
store glass, white automobiles,
black heads and blemishes,
acne scabbed and oozing,
the train crossing,
pigeons on the platform,
garbage cans. Splinters,
tears, cracks and holes.
Silence is afterbirth,
downed wires, downed trees,
a bird's nest with three spilled eggs.
About Michael H. Brownstein:
Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, Poetrysuperhighway.com and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks includingThe Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), and I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).
Brownstein taught elementary school in Chicago’s inner city (he is now retired), but he continues to study authentic African instruments, conducts grant-writing workshops for educators, designs websites and records performance and music pieces with grants from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the Oppenheimer Foundation, BP Leadership Grants, and others.