I recently wrote here about my decision to move from Israel, where I had lived for fourteen years, back to the South Side of Chicago, where I grew up and where my family has been since 1888. Leading up to that move, I wrote a suite of six poems about the South Side, White Flight, home, and exile. Here is Part VI, the final installment, unpacking the complications in leaving the Promised Land to return to the Ancestral Homeland, and the nasty underbelly of the Promised Land itself. You can follow these links for Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IV, and Part V.
South Side Suite Part VI: Home and Exile
1) So I feel in exile, but live in the Promised Land,
2) stretched and bouncing, tense like a rubber band.
3) Ancestral home? that’s what the South Side is.
4) Flesh and bone, guess I’m a Chi-town Zionist.
5) Hmmm…no, not exactly the idiom:
6) Zionist, sure, but South Side Palestinian.
7) Five– generation South Side, Homeland;
8) broken destiny, living in the Holy Land.
9) Home, Exile? It’s hard to explain.
10) My mind’ll jump around, ‘cause it’s a house of pain.
11) Can’t re-write the book, it’s twisted, too late.
12) {beat} I’m hooked, double-fisted the Kool-Aid.
13) Drunk on rancid milk and honey,
14) while messianic land thieves bilk our money.
15) Ponzi schemes, tricks and cunning.
16) We’re manic panzies, it’s sick and funny,
17) like pandas sneeze, and we come running,
18) blame the Sudanese, costs us nothing.
19) Follow the cheese, from here to Shaolin:
20) government C.R.E.A.M. — it’s all about the Zalmans.
21) Tally all my homes, I’m stuck and wound tighter,
22) I live in Talpiot, ‘cause I’m still a South Sider.
23) Pound the alley-oop, ‘cause the crowd goes wild,
24) but the sound is bally-hoo, if you prowl inside it,
25) a lead petticoat built to shroud and hide
26) the kryptonite of the Titanic boat that’s Zion.
27) Gaze at Tom Joad’s life, while Gabriel blows fife;
28) hope I won’t pay the price like Lot’s wife.
29) Don’t look back at the Chi or Jeru?
30) Where is it over? Where am I going to?
31) Or should I be like Isaac? it still doesn’t sit well:
32) Forbidden to leave my birthplace, or Israel?
33) Check out, school’s on, Yochanan ben Zakkai;
34) the hooligans won, look at Eli Yishai.
35) Spend my life hammering folks for
36) abandoning their homes ‘cause of new face roll in,
37) so, I scampered, raced, to where I’m a tool in
38) banishing, displacing the truly rightful in-
39) habitants; God is bleeding, bandage Her!
40) I live in Jeru; does that make me the damager?!
41) Hide or deny it — chump, don’t try it
42) ‘cause here’s another hit by a Pirate Giant.
43) I’d write from the heart, but I’ve got clogged arteries.
44) {Beat} What’s home? What’s the past? It’s hard to see.
45) Plot methodically, boot up twice, sure,
46) {beat} but I know my roots, like Dice Raw
47) {beat} maybe this my Edelweiss song
48) {beat} got my sights on the South Side, Chica-