The Ghost Book
18th Place, a patch of its asphalt stripped,
unearths steel tracks
of a ghost streetcar system
long gone before the oldest part of me
hit the scene--so why does it feel like my loss?
Yesterday a building burned on the Far South Side.
Passing cars eyes could see smoke in sunset
yellowish grey and mad
and all around
the block was blinking with
fire truck lights, a troubled bee colony of them.
The rails under the street appear to be of pre-Sne. Žabić formation.
The word "ghost" appears to be of pre-Germanic formation.
The sense of pre-Sne. Žabić Chicago should be fury, anger
The sense of pre-Germanic ghoizdo--should be fury, anger
I particularly like Avestan zõižda--"ugly" and how
"outside Germanic the derivatives point to a primary sense
'to wound, tear, pull to pieces'"
What if I return and find my building
a burning copycat? Six years or more
of possessions of our meager life gone.
And the two of us embraced in mutual comfort.
The next day an outpouring of charity
from family, friends, and acquaintances,
a fresh start, and new neuroses to do with disasters.
After the fire
you wear someone's old clothes
These fingers type
what I tell them to
later they'll remember
what I no longer possess
but they won't have a language
The sounds the child-me would hear
came from magpies
of Eurasia, North Africa, maybe even North America
svraka, magpie, pica pica
when days passed
without ambulances and fire trucks
magpies mocked cuckoos
kukavica, cuckoo, cuculus