Friday, April 27, 2018

The Sunday Poet: David Tisel

David Tisel

David Tisel grew up as an American expatriate in the Netherlands and Germany before moving to the U.S. at age 15. His poems often evoke a sense of place and in-between-ness, or nostalgia for the present moment. David is currently a graduate student in urban planning at MIT, and he lives in a cooperative house in Davis Square. 

White Chicago

Chicago, with grit in your teeth
concrete feet and steel bones
smokestacks for arms and
slaughterhouse stomachs:

your buses go straight down
rows of orange in the night
sprawling huge into the plains:
a circuitboard city

or, a sausage city
union shops and machine
politiciansgross, delicious,

Chicago, where people believe
they are white, but Slavic
vestiges remain, or German:
a polka parlor, potića,

Grandma's accent at the table
spots of color refusing
to be erased
but to create white

race riots and uneasy alliances
there must be black
and so the south side stretches bleak
worn from attrition and siege and

the Chicago Police, finally:
the fullest expression of the violence
of an idea--whiteness--that birthed
Chicago and kills Chicago nightly

but still Chicago will hum
and scream, gears turning,
furnace blazing, shaping
the myth that built America.

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