Aida Schneider © 2011 All Rights Reserved
Postcard from the Irish American Heritage Center, Chicago
Before some bloke name of Quinn
spoke about Yeats and astrology, dipshit
Swedes and why Mayo County birthrights
rock, I had to get lunch. What’s the saying?
“An empty sack can’t stand, full one
can’t bend.” Anyway, not the best
part of town. Found Sunny’s Snack Shop.
From the counter I could see records
for the last pest control visit, better than not
seeing any I suppose. Out on the street,
we saw a Toyota crack its radiator
against the bumper of a 1972 sedan.
The cook was totally giddy:
“Not a fucking scratch on that fucking
Lincoln! You fucking believe that?!”
I’m trying to be as positive as he was.
Lot of glum laddies, them Irish.
Sometime I’ll tell you about the face
of a dead pope, painted six stories tall,
frowning on the side of a private school.
Take Good Care,
Allen the Swede
Postcard to Joe from the Chicago Loop
Seen da Vinci today on the train.
Only seen him cuz his way
of beard plucking and preening
is your way. Said, “Leonardo,
what are you doing in Chicago?”
He said something about pasta;
the L was loud and his accent broke.
Of course we were both itching
to meet King Tut and his pharaohs.
Would you believe me if I swore
the ghost of a Crested Hornbill
perches on the lintel to my room,
coronet like a trumpet tipped back?
Oh I almost forgot, right by Blues
Chicago on 736 North Clark
(not to be confused with the Blues
Chicago on 536 North Clark) tocks
one of those fancy Victorian-replica
clocks but, get this, wearing a pastry
chef’s hat. Talk about tacky! No I swear,
swear to that preacher on the corner.
Every day the same promise on his PA:
“Ain’t no smoking allowed in Hell!”
Allen Braden is the author of A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood (University of Georgia) and Elegy in the Passive Voice (University of Alaska/Fairbanks), winner of the Midnight Sun Chapbook Contest. Former poet-in-residence for the Poetry Center and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he has published online at Poetry Daily and Verse Daily.
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