3 poems for Chicago Calling 2011

These 3 poems were written in collaboration with Cathleen Schandelmeier for the recent Chicago Calling festival and Cathleen read the poems at the festival.

Plague Carnival By Cathleen Schandelmeier and Simon Phillips
The Pest House
where plague victims were sent
to live
or not
stands yet
on the fringe
of the village
and his uncle’s farm
Provisions left high
upon the hill
excluded from society
awaiting the certainty
of death
They still celebrate
on Plague Sunday
Roasting carnival sheep
in Eyam
Remembering how swiftly
Plague arrived
The carnival
While the Pest house
Stands yet
On the fringe
Of society
While a new plague
Carves initials
On flesh
… awaiting AIDS carnival.

SUBWAY VACATION By Cathleen Schandelmeier and Simon Phillips

Beautiful view
back of the train
Penthouse Suite on the CTA
Conductor announces
the train is packed
I don’t even notice
from my glass bubble
in the back
I am in relaxed spacial heaven
-with a view!-
my first-time experience
with the upper crust
who need not dirty their hands
to clean
or want for space, food, money
Have never stood packed on a train
like fish food
No comprende
Those who struggle daily
just to stay alive

suddenly full of guilt
for my moment of relaxation
I have a vice gripped
around my chest of
anger and injustice
about to jump out of my skin!
I wonder at the calm indifference of the
beside me reading her e-book.

Wonder what she’s reading
I can’t ask, just imagine
something set in the loop
Killer being chased
Down a Iron fire escape

Jumping to the sidewalk
Gunshots fired as he races away
Running up Damen
Flat Iron in the distance
Crashing into artists carrying canvas
Reverie broken
By the El stop chime
got to get to work song
abrupt end to my
Subway vacation.

Chicago City On The Remake
By Cathleen Schandelmeier and Simon Phillips

Marked down derelicts with dollar signs for eyes,
Hustling for change down inside the loop,
all we need to know about
passion, heaven, hell and a city

More hungry and homeless men than all the gold coast,
Wondering where all the jobs went,
dynamic tension between the
city’s breathtaking beauty and its utter brutality

Shoes imitating the white city professionals,
Still profiting while all around collapses,
boundless human energy and its stifling
greed and violence

Building was a synagogue,
Now it’s an upscale bar,
bribery, extortion, influence peddling, nepotism, fraud, speed money

Seventh street potentialities still lying around behind,
In the American
annex to Dante’s inferno
alley he lay sleeve rolled up,
a nether world peopled by rat-faced hustlers and money-loving
demons who crawl in
Where undried blood on the pavement,
Had trickled from his arm,
the writer’s brilliant, sordid, uncompromising and twisted imagination
Nobody will tell her how Tommy got free,
Last seen down by the Unofficial Soup Kitchen, no one
captured the spirit of Chicago better
For no man can make a dent in emptiness,
No matter how his words hang in the void.

Notes. Simon took one line per chapter plus the after word of Nelson Algrens Chicago city on the make, then written alternate lines, Cathleen completed the stanzas by using a MASTER OF ARTS PROGRAM IN THE HUMANITIES from the UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO titled The Secret Faces of Inscrutable Poets in Nelson Algren’s Chicago: City on the Make by Jeff McMahon May 20, 2002


About simonovitch

Writer poet music freak etc etc based in London you'll find out more by reading my blogs.
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3 Responses to 3 poems for Chicago Calling 2011

  1. beachpoets says:

    See it here! See it now! Thank you for all your hard work, Simon!

    Peace & love,

    Cathleen Schandelmeier

  2. zumpoems says:

    Very much Chicago!

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