©2003 Eric Chaet
We’re addicted to de-natured flour, sugar, fat
we’re addicted to convenience
we’re addicted to herbicides & pesticides
we’re addicted to usury
we’re addicted to starving those who say what’s true
      but difficult
we’re addicted to the pronouncements
      of useless people in positions of authority
we’re addicted to manipulating those we live with
      most intimately
we’re addicted to gasoline & driving
we’re addicted to thinking how clever we are
we’re addicted to anxiety, blaming, excuses
we’re addicted to art that changes nothing
we’re addicted to histories that didn’t happen
we’re addicted to fitting in & getting along
we’re addicted to winning & losing
we’re addicted to prices only others can set
we’re addicted to gaining the approval
      of those who have gained approval
we’re addicted to stock-piling dollars
      to insulate ourselves from necessary upheavals
we’re addicted to breaking addictions—
      then celebrating for the rest of our lives
      rather than doing anything useful.

State Street, Chicago

©2003 Eric Chaet
Beneath law, lie ocean, ape, & dream
branches & leaves wrestle & dance with wind
roots reach elsewhere.

Broke-nose Chicago ascends the lumbering bus
jamming in aggravated swarms aboard
or slowly thoughtful in worn clothes
to feed the work addiction
morning & streetlamp night.

My grandmother on my father’s side
rode by horse back from Pharoah to Novgorod,
trained beyond the Pale to German coast
emerged from ocean by boat at Baltimore
& caught another connection thru doppler zones
       to this city.

Trailing Assyria, caesar, czar of all
Odessa & Kiev, hasid, & ritual butcher.

She met her man on day shift
& lived behind store front near black Africans,
mafiosa & their wives & children,
Irish cops & bars & tenors,
& stench of pig & steer massacres.

I am only trying for a straight account
of how I come to be walking up State
sucking Chicago’s rusty teat
dreaming & growing stronger.
[click to view introduction]