“The King Business”
We cleaved the foot
of main street
then wove in wait
goading militia men’s
of rumdums, like underemployed
paraders stunnedby redwood momentos
our brains be child with.
History’s theater—it’s curtains, they say
in the cupolas
of buildings in State,
traced faces usheredacross aisles, spelunkers’
lamps shooting beams of newsfeed,language wasted on grammars
we’ve gotten off of…
Selectoral collegessloganed in the usual
hunger bank on our belief
in the sweetest triviasqueezed in their fists.
Oil in result is rigged,
given us as juice:here are the hypos,
creepy mills filled with grit,
human hearts turnedto hotbox fauna
gotten bent on the Front.
Bees to burn, money-men
raffle flunkies and false cures
while we’re down
on our uppers, double-
jointed, stooping like queensof nothing at their foots.
Eric Elshtain is a homemaker and also the poet-in-residence at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital and UIC Hospital where he conducts poetry and art workshops with patients through Snow City Arts. He also teaches literature at the Better Boys Foundation in Chicago. Elshtain's poetry, reviews, and interviews can be found in McSweeney's, Skanky Possum, Notre Dame Review, Ploughshares, American Letters & Commentary, Interim, Salt Hill, GutCult, Denver Quarterly, Chicago Review, Fact-Simile, Kennesaw Review, and other print and on-line journals. He has a book forthcoming from Verge Books and has been the editor of Jon Trowbridge's on-line Beard of Bees Press since 2001.