Academic journal article Chicago Review

Tribe

Academic journal article Chicago Review

Tribe

Article excerpt

My tribe was lowdown struggling day labor

Depression South Eastern

Illinois just before the southern hills start

to roll toward the coal country

where the east/west morainal ridges

of Wisconsin trash pile up

at the bottom of the prairie, socially

a far midwest recrudescence of Appalachia

my grandfather French Quebecois

Master pipefitter in the age of steam

Indian fifty percent, very French

who didn't derogate himself

as a breed, showed none of those tedious

tendentious tendencies. Came down

from Chebanse, from the Illinois Central

in Iroquois County, to the Chicago &

Eastern Illinois line's division at Villa Grove

in one of the Twenties boomlets,

the last precipitous edges of the great devolvment

These forebears on my mother's side

owned a nice clapboard house in old town

where I was brought up off and on during

the intensity of the depression nomadism,

wandering work search, up and down

the bleak grit avenues of Flint, following

other exodus relatives, Belgian in-laws

from another French connexion

Michael Moore-land from the beginning

manmade poisons in the cattle feed way

before Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease and angry cows

governments always conspire against

the population and sometimes

this is not even malice;

just nothing better to do. …

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