Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Jason Cale Feb 2012
cheer up charlie the order's come
all your life running from an atom bomb
been riding under bullet proof skies
just-in-time this luck-of-mine rain pouring down

been sailing to a land of time
where everything changes when you've just found out
these young delta hearts are pouring out

young delta hearts
were being torn apart
young delta hearts
lets go back to the start
and love.

been sailing through a storm of eyes
the sun is out and it burns the tide
sick of shining in the water below
so take your turn to strike the stern
and take a bow

now your drowning at my feet
surely sinking wants a piece of god
these young delta hearts are sailers now

young delta hearts
were being torn apart
young delta hearts
lets go back to the start
and love.
This is a song. Written circa 2003, at the beginning of the Iraq War.
FIRST DAY

1.
Who wanted me
to go to Chicago
on January 6th?
I did!

The night before,
20 below zero
Fahrenheit
with the wind chill;
as the blizzard of 99
lay in mountains
of blackening snow.

I packed two coats,
two suits,
three sweaters,
multiple sets of long johns
and heavy white socks
for a two-day stay.

I left from Newark.
**** the denseness,
it confounds!

The 2nd City to whom?
2nd ain’t bad.
It’s pretty good.
If you consider
Peking and Prague,
Tokyo and Togo,
Manchester and Moscow,
Port Au Prince and Paris,
Athens and Amsterdam,
Buenos Aries and Johannesburg;
that’s pretty good.

What’s going on here today?
It’s friggin frozen.
To the bone!

But Chi Town is still cool.
Buddy Guy’s is open.
Bartenders mixing drinks,
cabbies jamming on their breaks,
honey dew waitresses serving sugar,
buildings swerving,
fire tongued preachers are preaching
and the farmers are measuring the moon.

The lake,
unlike Ontario
is in the midst of freezing.
Bones of ice
threaten to gel
into a solid mass
over the expanse
of the Michigan Lake.
If this keeps up,
you can walk
clear to Toronto
on a silver carpet.

Along the shore
the ice is permanent.
It’s the first big frost
of winter
after a long
Indian Summer.

Thank God
I caught a cab.
Outside I hear
The Hawk
nippin hard.
It’ll get your ear,
finger or toe.
Bite you on the nose too
if you ain’t careful.

Thank God,
I’m not walking
the Wabash tonight;
but if you do cover up,
wear layers.

Chicago,
could this be
Sandburg’s City?

I’m overwhelmed
and this is my tenth time here.

It’s almost better,
sometimes it is better,
a lot of times it is better
and denser then New York.

Ask any Bull’s fan.
I’m a Knickerbocker.
Yes Nueva York,
a city that has placed last
in the standings
for many years.
Except the last two.
Yanks are # 1!

But Chicago
is a dynasty,
as big as
Sammy Sosa’s heart,
rich and wide
as Michael Jordan’s grin.

Middle of a country,
center of a continent,
smack dab in the mean
of a hemisphere,
vortex to a world,
Chicago!

Kansas City,
Nashville,
St. Louis,
Detroit,
Cleveland,
Pittsburgh,
Denver,
New Orleans,
Dallas,
Cairo,
Singapore,
Auckland,
Baghdad,
Mexico City
and Montreal
salute her.



2.
Cities,
A collection of vanities?
Engineered complex utilitarianism?
The need for community a social necessity?
Ego one with the mass?
Civilization’s latest *******?
Chicago is more then that.

Jefferson’s yeoman farmer
is long gone
but this capitol
of the Great Plains
is still democratic.

The citizen’s of this city
would vote daily,
if they could.

Chicago,
Sandburg’s Chicago,
Could it be?

The namesake river
segments the city,
canals of commerce,
all perpendicular,
is rife throughout,
still guiding barges
to the Mississippi
and St. Laurence.

Now also
tourist attractions
for a cafe society.

Chicago is really jazzy,
swanky clubs,
big steaks,
juices and drinks.

You get the best
coffee from Seattle
and the finest teas
from China.

Great restaurants
serve liquid jazz
al la carte.

Jazz Jazz Jazz
All they serve is Jazz
Rock me steady
Keep the beat
Keep it flowin
Feel the heat!

Jazz Jazz Jazz
All they is, is Jazz
Fast cars will take ya
To the show
Round bout midnight
Where’d the time go?

Flows into the Mississippi,
the mother of America’s rivers,
an empires aorta.

Great Lakes wonder of water.
Niagara Falls
still her heart gushes forth.

Buffalo connected to this holy heart.
Finger Lakes and Adirondacks
are part of this watershed,
all the way down to the
Delaware and Chesapeake.

Sandburg’s Chicago?
Oh my my,
the wonder of him.
Who captured the imagination
of the wonders of rivers.

Down stream other holy cities
from the Mississippi delta
all mapped by him.

Its mouth our Dixie Trumpet
guarded by righteous Cajun brethren.

Midwest?
Midwest from where?
It’s north of Caracas and Los Angeles,
east of Fairbanks,
west of Dublin
and south of not much.

Him,
who spoke of honest men
and loving women.
Working men and mothers
bearing citizens to build a nation.
The New World’s
precocious adolescent
caught in a stream
of endless and exciting change,
much pain and sacrifice,
dedication and loss,
pride and tribulations.

From him we know
all the people’s faces.
All their stories are told.
Never defeating the
idea of Chicago.

Sandburg had the courage to say
what was in the heart of the people, who:

Defeated the Indians,
Mapped the terrain,
Aided slavers,
Fought a terrible civil war,
Hoisted the barges,
Grew the food,
Whacked the wheat,
Sang the songs,
Fought many wars of conquest,
Cleared the land,
Erected the bridges,
Trapped the game,
Netted the fish,
Mined the coal,
Forged the steel,
Laid the tracks,
Fired the tenders,
Cut the stone,
Mixed the mortar,
Plumbed the line,
And laid the bricks
Of this nation of cities!

Pardon the Marlboro Man shtick.
It’s a poor expostulation of
crass commercial symbolism.

Like I said, I’m a
Devil Fan from Jersey
and Madison Avenue
has done its work on me.

It’s a strange alchemy
that changes
a proud Nation of Blackhawks
into a merchandising bonanza
of hometown hockey shirts,
making the native seem alien,
and the interloper at home chillin out,
warming his feet atop a block of ice,
guzzling Old Style
with clicker in hand.

Give him his beer
and other diversions.
If he bowls with his buddy’s
on Tuesday night
I hope he bowls
a perfect game.

He’s earned it.
He works hard.
Hard work and faith
built this city.

And it’s not just the faith
that fills the cities
thousand churches,
temples and
mosques on the Sabbath.

3.
There is faith in everything in Chicago!

An alcoholic broker named Bill
lives the Twelve Steps
to banish fear and loathing
for one more day.
Bill believes in sobriety.

A tug captain named Moe
waits for the spring thaw
so he can get the barges up to Duluth.
Moe believes in the seasons.

A farmer named Tom
hopes he has reaped the last
of many bitter harvests.
Tom believes in a new start.

A homeless man named Earl
wills himself a cot and a hot
at the local shelter.
Earl believes in deliverance.

A Pullman porter
named George
works overtime
to get his first born
through medical school.
George believes in opportunity.

A folk singer named Woody
sings about his
countrymen inheritance
and implores them to take it.
Woody believes in people.

A Wobbly named Joe
organizes fellow steelworkers
to fight for a workers paradise
here on earth.
Joe believes in ideals.

A bookkeeper named Edith
is certain she’ll see the Cubs
win the World Series
in her lifetime.
Edith believes in miracles.

An electrician named ****
saves money
to bring his family over from Gdansk.
**** believes in America.

A banker named Leah
knows Ditka will return
and lead the Bears
to another Super Bowl.
Leah believes in nostalgia.

A cantor named Samuel
prays for another 20 years
so he can properly train
his Temple’s replacement.

Samuel believes in tradition.
A high school girl named Sally
refuses to get an abortion.
She knows she carries
something special within her.
Sally believes in life.

A city worker named Mazie
ceaselessly prays
for her incarcerated son
doing 10 years at Cook.
Mazie believes in redemption.

A jazzer named Bix
helps to invent a new art form
out of the mist.
Bix believes in creativity.

An architect named Frank
restores the Rookery.
Frank believes in space.

A soldier named Ike
fights wars for democracy.
Ike believes in peace.

A Rabbi named Jesse
sermonizes on Moses.
Jesse believes in liberation.

Somewhere in Chicago
a kid still believes in Shoeless Joe.
The kid believes in
the integrity of the game.

An Imam named Louis
is busy building a nation
within a nation.
Louis believes in
self-determination.

A teacher named Heidi
gives all she has to her students.
She has great expectations for them all.
Heidi believes in the future.

4.
Does Chicago have a future?

This city,
full of cowboys
and wildcatters
is predicated
on a future!

Bang, bang
Shoot em up
Stake the claim
It’s your terrain
Drill the hole
Strike it rich
Top it off
You’re the boss
Take a chance
Watch it wane
Try again
Heavenly gains

Chicago
city of futures
is a Holy Mecca
to all day traders.

Their skin is gray,
hair disheveled,
loud ties and
funny coats,
thumb through
slips of paper
held by nail
chewed hands.
Selling promises
with no derivative value
for out of the money calls
and in the money puts.
Strike is not a labor action
in this city of unionists,
but a speculators mark,
a capitalist wish,
a hedgers bet,
a public debt
and a farmers
fair return.

Indexes for everything.
Quantitative models
that could burst a kazoo.

You know the measure
of everything in Chicago.
But is it truly objective?
Have mathematics banished
subjective intentions,
routing it in fair practice
of market efficiencies,
a kind of scientific absolution?

I heard that there
is a dispute brewing
over the amount of snowfall
that fell on the 1st.

The mayor’s office,
using the official city ruler
measured 22”
of snow on the ground.

The National Weather Service
says it cannot detect more
then 17” of snow.

The mayor thinks
he’ll catch less heat
for the trains that don’t run
the buses that don’t arrive
and the schools that stand empty
with the addition of 5”.

The analysts say
it’s all about capturing liquidity.

Liquidity,
can you place a great lake
into an eyedropper?

Its 20 below
and all liquid things
are solid masses
or a gooey viscosity at best.

Water is frozen everywhere.
But Chi town is still liquid,
flowing faster
then the digital blips
flashing on the walls
of the CBOT.

Dreams
are never frozen in Chicago.
The exchanges trade
without missing a beat.

Trading wet dreams,
the crystallized vapor
of an IPO
pledging a billion points
of Internet access
or raiding the public treasuries
of a central bank’s
huge stores of gold
with currency swaps.

Using the tools
of butterfly spreads
and candlesticks
to achieve the goal.

Short the Russell
or buy the Dow,
go long the
CAC and DAX.
Are you trading in euro’s?
You better be
or soon will.
I know
you’re Chicago,
you’ll trade anything.
WEBS,
Spiders,
and Leaps
are traded here,
along with sweet crude,
North Sea Brent,
plywood and T-Bill futures;
and most importantly
the commodities,
the loam
that formed this city
of broad shoulders.

What about our wheat?
Still whacking and
breadbasket to the world.

Oil,
an important fossil fuel
denominated in
good ole greenbacks.

Porkbellies,
not just hogwash
on the Wabash,
but bacon, eggs
and flapjacks
are on the menu
of every diner in Jersey
as the “All American.”

Cotton,
our contribution
to the Golden Triangle,
once the global currency
used to enrich a
gentlemen class
of cultured
southern slavers,
now Tommy Hilfiger’s
preferred fabric.

I think he sends it
to Bangkok where
child slaves
spin it into
gold lame'.

Sorghum,
I think its hardy.

Soybeans,
the new age substitute
for hamburger
goes great with tofu lasagna.

Corn,
ADM creates ethanol,
they want us to drive cleaner cars.

Cattle,
once driven into this city’s
bloodhouses for slaughter,
now ground into
a billion Big Macs
every year.

When does a seed
become a commodity?
When does a commodity
become a future?
When does a future expire?

You can find the answers
to these questions in Chicago
and find a fortune in a hole in the floor.

Look down into the pits.
Hear the screams of anguish
and profitable delights.

Frenzied men
swarming like a mass
of epileptic ants
atop the worlds largest sugar cube
auger the worlds free markets.

The scene is
more chaotic then
100 Haymarket Square Riots
multiplied by 100
1968 Democratic Conventions.

Amidst inverted anthills,
they scurry forth and to
in distinguished
black and red coats.

Fighting each other
as counterparties
to a life and death transaction.

This is an efficient market
that crosses the globe.

Oil from the Sultan of Brunei,
Yen from the land of Hitachi,
Long Bonds from the Fed,
nickel from Quebec,
platinum and palladium
from Siberia,
FTSE’s from London
and crewel cane from Havana
circle these pits.

Tijuana,
Shanghai
and Istanbul's
best traders
are only half as good
as the average trader in Chicago.

Chicago,
this hog butcher to the world,
specializes in packaging and distribution.

Men in blood soaked smocks,
still count the heads
entering the gates of the city.

Their handiwork
is sent out on barges
and rail lines as frozen packages
of futures
waiting for delivery
to an anonymous counterparty
half a world away.

This nation’s hub
has grown into the
premier purveyor
to the world;
along all the rivers,
highways,
railways
and estuaries
it’s tentacles reach.

5.
Sandburg’s Chicago,
is a city of the world’s people.

Many striver rows compose
its many neighborhoods.

Nordic stoicism,
Eastern European orthodoxy
and Afro-American
calypso vibrations
are three of many cords
strumming the strings
of Chicago.

Sandburg’s Chicago,
if you wrote forever
you would only scratch its surface.

People wait for trains
to enter the city from O’Hare.
Frozen tears
lock their eyes
onto distant skyscrapers,
solid chunks
of snot blocks their nose
and green icicles of slime
crust mustaches.
They fight to breathe.

Sandburg’s Chicago
is The Land of Lincoln,
Savior of the Union,
protector of the Republic.
Sent armies
of sons and daughters,
barges, boxcars,
gunboats, foodstuffs,
cannon and shot
to raze the south
and stamp out succession.

Old Abe’s biography
are still unknown volumes to me.
I must see and read the great words.
You can never learn enough;
but I’ve been to Washington
and seen the man’s memorial.
The Free World’s 8th wonder,
guarded by General Grant,
who still keeps an eye on Richmond
and a hand on his sword.

Through this American winter
Abe ponders.
The vista he surveys is dire and tragic.

Our sitting President
impeached
for lying about a *******.

Party partisans
in the senate are sworn and seated.
Our Chief Justice,
adorned with golden bars
will adjudicate the proceedings.
It is the perfect counterpoint
to an ageless Abe thinking
with malice toward none
and charity towards all,
will heal the wounds
of the nation.

Abe our granite angel,
Chicago goes on,
The Union is strong!


SECOND DAY

1.
Out my window
the sun has risen.

According to
the local forecast
its minus 9
going up to
6 today.

The lake,
a golden pillow of clouds
is frozen in time.

I marvel
at the ancients ones
resourcefulness
and how
they mastered
these extreme elements.

Past, present and future
has no meaning
in the Citadel
of the Prairie today.

I set my watch
to Central Standard Time.

Stepping into
the hotel lobby
the concierge
with oil smooth hair,
perfect tie
and English lilt
impeccably asks,
“Do you know where you are going Sir?
Can I give you a map?”

He hands me one of Chicago.
I see he recently had his nails done.
He paints a green line
along Whacker Drive and says,
“turn on Jackson, LaSalle, Wabash or Madison
and you’ll get to where you want to go.”
A walk of 14 or 15 blocks from Streeterville-
(I start at The Chicago White House.
They call it that because Hillary Rodham
stays here when she’s in town.
Its’ also alleged that Stedman
eats his breakfast here
but Opra
has never been seen
on the premises.
I wonder how I gained entry
into this place of elite’s?)
-down into the center of The Loop.

Stepping out of the hotel,
The Doorman
sporting the epaulets of a colonel
on his corporate winter coat
and furry Cossack hat
swaddling his round black face
accosts me.

The skin of his face
is flaking from
the subzero windburn.

He asks me
with a gapped toothy grin,
“Can I get you a cab?”
“No I think I’ll walk,” I answer.
“Good woolen hat,
thick gloves you should be alright.”
He winks and lets me pass.

I step outside.
The Windy City
flings stabbing cold spears
flying on wings of 30-mph gusts.
My outside hardens.
I can feel the freeze
deepen
into my internalness.
I can’t be sure
but inside
my heart still feels warm.
For how long
I cannot say.

I commence
my walk
among the spires
of this great city,
the vertical leaps
that anchor the great lake,
holding its place
against the historic
frigid assault.

The buildings’ sway,
modulating to the blows
of natures wicked blasts.

It’s a hard imposition
on a city and its people.

The gloves,
skullcap,
long underwear,
sweater,
jacket
and overcoat
not enough
to keep the cold
from penetrating
the person.

Like discerning
the layers of this city,
even many layers,
still not enough
to understand
the depth of meaning
of the heart
of this heartland city.

Sandburg knew the city well.
Set amidst groves of suburbs
that extend outward in every direction.
Concentric circles
surround the city.
After the burbs come farms,
Great Plains, and mountains.
Appalachians and Rockies
are but mere molehills
in the city’s back yard.
It’s terra firma
stops only at the sea.
Pt. Barrow to the Horn,
many capes extended.

On the periphery
its appendages,
its extremities,
its outward extremes.
All connected by the idea,
blown by the incessant wind
of this great nation.
The Windy City’s message
is sent to the world’s four corners.
It is a message of power.
English the worlds
common language
is spoken here,
along with Ebonics,
Espanol,
Mandarin,
Czech,
Russian,
Korean,
Arabic,
Hindi­,
German,
French,
electronics,
steel,
cars,
cartoons,
rap,
sports­,
movies,
capital,
wheat
and more.

Always more.
Much much more
in Chicago.

2.
Sandburg
spoke all the dialects.

He heard them all,
he understood
with great precision
to the finest tolerances
of a lathe workers micrometer.

Sandburg understood
what it meant to laugh
and be happy.

He understood
the working mans day,
the learned treatises
of university chairs,
the endless tomes
of the city’s
great libraries,
the lost languages
of the ancient ones,
the secret codes
of abstract art,
the impact of architecture,
the street dialects and idioms
of everymans expression of life.

All fighting for life,
trying to build a life,
a new life
in this modern world.

Walking across
the Michigan Avenue Bridge
I see the Wrigley Building
is neatly carved,
catty cornered on the plaza.

I wonder if Old Man Wrigley
watched his barges
loaded with spearmint
and double-mint
move out onto the lake
from one of those Gothic windows
perched high above the street.

Would he open a window
and shout to the men below
to quit slaking and work harder
or would he
between the snapping sound
he made with his mouth
full of his chewing gum
offer them tickets
to a ballgame at Wrigley Field
that afternoon?

Would the men below
be able to understand
the man communing
from such a great height?

I listen to a man
and woman conversing.
They are one step behind me
as we meander along Wacker Drive.

"You are in Chicago now.”
The man states with profundity.
“If I let you go
you will soon find your level
in this city.
Do you know what I mean?”

No I don’t.
I think to myself.
What level are you I wonder?
Are you perched atop
the transmission spire
of the Hancock Tower?

I wouldn’t think so
or your ears would melt
from the windburn.

I’m thinking.
Is she a kept woman?
She is majestically clothed
in fur hat and coat.
In animal pelts
not trapped like her,
but slaughtered
from farms
I’m sure.

What level
is he speaking of?

Many levels
are evident in this city;
many layers of cobbled stone,
Pennsylvania iron,
Hoosier Granite
and vertical drops.

I wonder
if I detect
condensation
in his voice?

What is
his intention?
Is it a warning
of a broken affair?
A pending pink slip?
Advise to an addict
refusing to adhere
to a recovery regimen?

What is his level anyway?
Is he so high and mighty,
Higher and mightier
then this great city
which we are all a part of,
which we all helped to build,
which we all need
in order to keep this nation
the thriving democratic
empire it is?

This seditious talk!

3.
The Loop’s El
still courses through
the main thoroughfares of the city.

People are transported
above the din of the street,
looking down
on the common pedestrians
like me.

Super CEO’s
populating the upper floors
of Romanesque,
Greek Revivalist,
New Bauhaus,
Art Deco
and Post Nouveau
Neo-Modern
Avant-Garde towers
are too far up
to see me
shivering on the street.

The cars, busses,
trains and trucks
are all covered
with the film
of rock salt.

Salt covers
my bootless feet
and smudges
my cloths as well.

The salt,
the primal element
of the earth
covers everything
in Chicago.

It is the true level
of this city.

The layer
beneath
all layers,
on which
everything
rests,
is built,
grows,
thrives
then dies.
To be
returned again
to the lower
layers
where it can
take root
again
and grow
out onto
the great plains.

Splashing
the nation,
anointing
its people
with its
blessing.

A blessing,
Chicago?

All rivers
come here.

All things
found its way here
through the canals
and back bays
of the world’s
greatest lakes.

All roads,
rails and
air routes
begin and
end here.

Mrs. O’Leary’s cow
got a *** rap.
It did not start the fire,
we did.

We lit the torch
that flamed
the city to cinders.
From a pile of ash
Chicago rose again.

Forever Chicago!
Forever the lamp
that burns bright
on a Great Lake’s
western shore!

Chicago
the beacon
sends the
message to the world
with its windy blasts,
on chugging barges,
clapping trains,
flying tandems,
T1 circuits
and roaring jets.

Sandburg knew
a Chicago
I will never know.

He knew
the rhythm of life
the people walked to.
The tools they used,
the dreams they dreamed
the songs they sang,
the things they built,
the things they loved,
the pains that hurt,
the motives that grew,
the actions that destroyed
the prayers they prayed,
the food they ate
their moments of death.

Sandburg knew
the layers of the city
to the depths
and windy heights
I cannot fathom.

The Blues
came to this city,
on the wing
of a chirping bird,
on the taps
of a rickety train,
on the blast
of an angry sax
rushing on the wind,
on the Westend blitz
of Pop's brash coronet,
on the tink of
a twinkling piano
on a paddle-wheel boat
and on the strings
of a lonely man’s guitar.

Walk into the clubs,
tenements,
row houses,
speakeasies
and you’ll hear the Blues
whispered like
a quiet prayer.

Tidewater Blues
from Virginia,
Delta Blues
from the lower
Mississippi,
Boogie Woogie
from Appalachia,
Texas Blues
from some Lone Star,
Big Band Blues
from Kansas City,
Blues from
Beal Street,
Jelly Roll’s Blues
from the Latin Quarter.

Hell even Chicago
got its own brand
of Blues.

Its all here.
It ended up here
and was sent away
on the winds of westerly blows
to the ear of an eager world
on strong jet streams
of simple melodies
and hard truths.

A broad
shouldered woman,
a single mother stands
on the street
with three crying babes.
Their cloths
are covered
in salt.
She pleads
for a break,
praying
for a new start.
Poor and
under-clothed
against the torrent
of frigid weather
she begs for help.
Her blond hair
and ****** features
suggests her
Scandinavian heritage.
I wonder if
she is related to Sandburg
as I walk past
her on the street.
Her feet
are bleeding
through her
canvass sneakers.
Her babes mouths
are zipped shut
with frozen drivel
and mucous.

The Blues live
on in Chicago.

The Blues
will forever live in her.
As I turn the corner
to walk the Miracle Mile
I see her engulfed
in a funnel cloud of salt,
snow and bits
of white paper,
swirling around her
and her children
in an angry
unforgiving
maelstrom.

The family
begins to
dissolve
like a snail
sprinkled with salt;
and a mother
and her children
just disappear
into the pavement
at the corner
of Dearborn,
in Chicago.

Music:

Robert Johnson
Sweet Home Chicago


jbm
Chicago
1/7/99
Added today to commemorate the birthday of Carl Sandburg
Skyy Blu Oct 2014
Didn't mean to ****... Two to the grill, so surreal! Didn't want to take a life... but you just don't sleep... with your best-friend's wife!! That's how we handle it.. down in the delta... Love is stronger than pride and a little lie... might cost you shelter. Well, I wasn't trying to take his life... gassed-up the bed and used a match to start a light. Wow! How, he did burn... He beat me for the last time... He got what he earned. That's how, we do it down in the delta... Cold water runs up, when secrets blow your shelter. Wasn't aiming to take a life... Just didn't know, she was his wife. Girl....! Walked-Up, and slapped the hell-out-of-me... talking bout the man, I had didn't belong to me. I... shot her-- before I knew... then I went across town and shot him too. That's how, we do it down in the delta... Eye for an eye, straight shots...Helter Skelter....Down.... Down in the Delta.
the river flows as
living memory

the birds of the
Nile are its
knowing eyes

fly catchers
ply the rich
delta
probing
sediments
of sand
washed
from
distant
Nubian
mountains
eons
ago

layers of
recollection
go fathoms
deep

shrieking
gulls
plumb the
mud flats
with heroic
persistence
as they did
when the
first rafts
drifted out
of the
Great Rift
ferrying
civilizations
forebears
to the
opening chapters
of world history

the first
seafarers
competed with
greedy spoonbills
to navigate
porous
papyrus
crafts
through
the narrow
channels
of the
Damietta,
transporting
ideas, skills
and goods
to build an
emerging
world

mallards
troll the
same
gentile
eddies that
goaded the
Mother of
All Waters
to float the
basket cradling
Yahweh’s
infant prophet
Musa, into the
loving arms
of Bithiah
who nurtured
the vanquisher
of Osiris’
galleries of
Gods

a litany
of conquests
rolled on the
silver waves
of this river

conquerors
maneuvered
the truculent
currents
like sharp
eyed hawks
skimming the
pliant waters
with well
extended
razor quick
talons
picking the
Nile’s bounty
clean

this fertile
delta remembers
more than
6,000 seasons
of harvests

the
cycles of time
has produced
seasons of plenteous
abundance and
desperate privation
all cleverly exploited
by generations of
fearless herons
who wrangled
the demons
of hardship
to route the
dread of hunger
expelling despair
from the Egyptian
DNA, etching
a new hieroglyph
of freedom onto
survivors hearts

the Niles
sorrows
and glories
perpetually
wash this
magnanimous
delta
surely as
the gentle
wakes
of feluccas
continue
to lap its
shore

the marshes
have not withered

the verdant
reeds prosper

flamingos find
the water
rich in fish

in due
season
the red
lotus will
paint
the arcuate
alluvial
fans in
scarlet
autumnal
hues

In the
Valley of
the Kings
the shadows
of migratory
flocks mark
the foundation
stones of the
pyramids
as they did
when slaves
pushed them
into place

the eternal
lines of
pharaohs
rule has fallen,
their gods
imprisoned
in hieroglyphs
adorning their
royal tombs
on display
in the worlds
museums

the weathered
pyramids continue
to crumble

the face of
the sphinx
withers away

torrents of
blood flowed
in this rivers
currents, now
strained clear
by the reeds
anchoring
its banks

the fleeting
rule of regimes
are pictured
as momentary
reflections
skimming along
the ripppling
water; the
rise and fall
of rulers is
captured like
the shifting hues
sunrises and
sunsets bespeak
upon the waters

the ascending
waves of
the Sacred Ibis
dance atop
the Nile’s gray
waters; the
river jumps
to life as the
graceful wings
take flight
to foreign
destinations;
expecting
to return
again as
the cycles
of seasons
round once
more

as the Nile flows
its memory deepens
the eyes of the birds
watch and remember


Music Selection:
Gary Bartz, I've Known Rivers

Oakland
3/31/12
jbm
Anayo Oleru Apr 2016
HEARTBEAT OF DELTA STATE
The rain has fallen again,
The streets are isolated,
Everyone is filled with sadness.
Houses and shops have been abandoned,
Villages and towns have been inundated.
Bags and cargoes floats unsteadily,
Cars and buses are deeply buried
deep into the water in a hazy manner.
People, animals, all are transported
by little wooden vessels.
With no idea of when
to take over their properties,
With no idea of where else to go.
The cities, their streets,
houses and cars have being flooded,
Properties, expensive
and extra expensive have been left over.
East Delta had been covered
by the unmerciful ocean.
Precious lives were gone
and more were at stake.
Families and close friends- divided.
Farms with large crops- destroyed.
Hunger and thirsty, hugs my people with sadness,
begging for aid.
Sickness and diseases fill people
with sympathizing outcome.
A land of peace is now a land of disaster,
A land of Labor is now a land of turmoil.
May peace always reign,
May ignorance be neglected,
For the dying heartbeat of Delta.
Wrote this poem when one of the Elaborate Village in the some part of Delta state in Nigeria, had a terrible disaster attacked them. Leaving some homeless, hungry, even death. Its a lyrical poem.
Lee Apr 2017
The day the ships came my ancestors we not of the aware of the forced melting *** that would come into existence
The combination of french and spanish confused the delta slaves
Little did they know that neither language would stick on their burnt excuses of  tongues
The days the ships came New Orleans became the beacon of mulatos
And although the conquistadors could **** and beat their slave wives
Their spanish advances were not reciprocated due to lack of of heat to complete the melting
The languages that conquered the delta were combined into something that no outsider would want to encounter
That’s why the Americans came and took it like they did the rest of the country
They mistake the magic for voodoo then rebranded it for themselves
Centuries later the delta is still a melting ***
But it’s one my grandmother’s tongue was forced to forget
Her languages were lost next to her mulatto slave ancestors, left to spoil
So now when people ask
“If you’re hispanic why can’t you speak spanish?”
I can barely find the words in english to explain the years of torture my tongue has endured
When spanish speaking couples walk into my work
My tongue is eager to spill words it wishes it had the ability to create
My blood begins to hate itself over the fact that a third of itself is unrecognizable
My tongue is still waiting for the new boats to arrive and reconcer it
All it knows is to be conquered
No self defense here
When all you know is to be conquered
It becomes a challenge to think for oneself
My tongue can’t decide if english, spanish or french is better
My creole mind is yelling thousands foreign curse words not knowing which one is a true sin
Maybe the sin here is letting the burner stay on too long
The day the ships came
My slave ancestors looked at their spanish lovers and said
“My love, what shall we do once the french arrive?”
With their eyes looking into the horizon the conquistadors replied
“Es no problema para mi, pero tu, tu es la propiedad de estos”
Which according to simple history books means
“Good luck”
Alexander K Opicho
(Eldoret ,Kenya ;aopicho@yahoo.com)

On 13th January 2014 Dr. Wafula Chesoli of Mt Kenya University, at Lodwar campus in the north western part of Kenya published a scathing attack against homosexuality in the Neighbourhood, a daily circulating paper of the River Delta state in Nigeria.Dr Chesoli justified his contumelious position against human homosexuality by basing his stand on the scriptural citations of the Bible. The Bible which  Dr. Chesoli has operationally defined as the word of God in  this article that he entitled Strong holds of Homosexuality ;Biblical Persapectives.Chesoli’s argument has a depth of Biblical groundings, however I beg to differ with him in principle, given the  scientific scintillations on humanity of homosexuality from the recent researches of health education and psychology.
Firstly, I humbly remember that about three years ago I also published an article in the East African standard which harshly condemned social and behavioral position of gay and lesbian marriages. This was when the Anglican archbishop Dr. Eliud Wabukala of Kenya had in a similar tone lambasted the archbishop of Canterbury for suggesting that there was need for the office of the gay Bishop in the Anglican Church. I strongly supported Wabukala in that I even called gay and lesbian behavior as cultic and satanic hence to be condemned with all forms of capital nemesis. Some of the contents of my article in which I condemned homosexuality are here;
Let us support Wabukala stand on gays and morality
(January 13th 2011 at 00:00 GMT; By Alexander Opicho, Eldoret)
Practice of psychology and Christianity operates on a universal principle of unconditional positive regard for all. However, there has been a twist in this convention when media in Kenya at the start of this week carried a story that depicted moral fortitude of Bishop Eliud Wabukala; who has out-rightly dismissed the idea of establishing the office of a gay bishop in the leadership of the Anglican Church. Wabukala has come out boldly on this against the strong currents in support of gay marriages from his superiors in the Church. The efforts by Wabukala befit all manner of felicitation from all of us who believe in morality as a basis of humanity. The basis of gay relationships is legalistic and political. African culture conscientiously discourages a cult of gayism. And in Kenya living as a gay is living in contradiction to the Constitution. These collectively fall in an agreement with basic teachings of Christianity. Gayism, lesbianism, celibacy and trans-species ****** behaviour are admonished by Biblical teachings. Gayism is social deviance that originates from degradation in ****** behavior; it is a state of ****** depravement. Read more at;
http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000074879&story;_title=-Let-us-support-Wabukala-stand-on-gays-and-morality.­
Little did I know that as I was publishing this article two percent of my friends and my family members are victims of ****** behavioural disability, which we are calling homosexuality in the above juncture. As university teacher in the departments of social sciences where student populations is usually high, I again came to discover sometimes later that ten percent of my students always have disordered ****** or gender conditions. I found these to be substantial revelations that provoked me to carry out both desk research and investigative *** socialization researches into this bamboozling human phenomenon of homosexuality and other related disordered ****** behaviours.
The order of explanation would first require a position which posits that; religions both Christianity and Islam don’t have any intellectual nor social machinery to carry out a socially ameliorative process in relation to disordered gender and ****** behavior in any society. Their approach have been and would still be parochial in the sense that the only outcome to be achieved is prejudice, bigotry and discrimination with full harassment against Christians or Moslems with ****** or gender disability. Thus religion should pave way for other competent social players over this matter.
Dr Chesoli’s Position that the Bible is the word of God and the Quran is the word of Allah and hence those with physiological conditions in contrast to the word of God and Word of Allah are satanic, only to face wrath of God on the judgment day is simply devoid of modern logic. I want to sensitize Dr Chesoli on the fact that not every thing in the Bible is the word of God neither   every thing in the Quran is the word of God otherwise called Allah. To support my position before I just explain scientific position of homosexuality, I want Dr. Chesoli to learn that; 159 psalms in the Bible are poetries of Kind David, Kind David whose leadership was full of Machiavellian tricks just like the current leadership of Yoweri Museven of Uganda. The book of Job is theatrical and poetical literary creation of Moses. But not the word of God. This is so because the land of Uz in which Job lived is pure fiction. All papyrological surveys have never established geographical evidence of this land. The last part of the Bible is made up of 21 epistles or letters of Paul the benjaminite. Paul’s writings display eminence of intellect as a lawyer and a person schooled in the Greek classics of Homer’s Iliad and Odysseus as well as Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex.The idea that the words which Paul wrote was the word of God is not founded ,perhaps the last stage of Jewish casuistry.
Homosexuality has to be understood as lameness or disability like any other animal or human disability. I am aware that Dr. Chesoli belongs to the old school which only appreciated the fact that lameness is limited to physical, mental, eye and hearing impairment.However, this position is now scientifically obsolete. Humanity is now understood to be sometimes a victim of ****** lameness, intellectual lameness, emotional lameness, racial relational lameness and other plethorae of lameness to be uncovered, courtesy of science and research.
Like the condition of ****** disability can be heterosexual disability or homosexual disability. Heterosexual disability can be indicated by misfortunate human ****** conditions like; early *******, erectile disfucntion,oversize *****,undersize *****,frigidity,phobia of opposite ***, oral ***, **** ***,****** appetite for your own child, ****** appetite for your sisters, brothers, uncles or aunts, frigidity, small ******, abnormally big ******,insatiable libido or insatiable appetite for ***.
But on the other  hand  homosexual disability are often indicated in the perverted ****** behavioural positions like male to male *** also known as gay and female to female *** also known as lesbian, or female to male to female to male *** also known as bisexuality. We also have other ****** phenomena like celibacy, voyeurism, *** with non human creatures, *** with inanimate objects, *** with ghosts and *** with spiritual creatures like the one accounted in the Bible between Mary the mother of Jesus and an Angel Known as Gabriel. There is also *** with dead family members. Dear reader just accepts that the list in this line is long.
Now labeling above positions as satanic or ungodly can be misleading in the modern sense. The motivation for all the above behaviours is sensual satisfaction. But the physiological cause of the behaviour is few and far between. Some of these conditions are caused by genetic misprogramming or mutation; some are due to body malformation. Like having female reproductive system in a male human casing or male female reproductive system in a female human casing. But the sorriest part of this human experience is that victims of these conditions always feel that they are right human creatures in the wrong body from which they struggle to jump out but they have never succeed.
This is why the Journal of Pan African Voices known as Pambuzuka news has a platform for anti – homophobic journalism, which actually purport to promote social and intellectual awareness among the Africa societies about matters relating to ****** and gender disabilities. This journal strives to minimize homophobic positions like the one taken by Dr. Chesoli in a smokescreen of Christianity or Islam which will ultimately only end up as heinous violations of human rights.
An empirical position has facts that gender and ****** disability conditions is rampart in urban areas than rural areas and more rampart in industrialized or developed countries than peasant rural based countries. Thus logic will tell you that we have most gays and lesbians in America and United Kingdom than in Kenya or Malawi. This is why President Barrack Obama in an imperial stretch conditioned the govermenent of Uganda to make a legislation that favour gays and lesbians. This was also reflected three years ago in the United kingdom when David Cameroon warned the government of Ghana that if they don’t make a legislation that appreciate homosexuals then United Kingdom would not give economic aid to Ghana.Contextually,both Cameroon and Obama were wrong. We don’t use vents of desperate imperialism to manage a misfortunate social condition. We first of all begin by educating our people, then socializing the idea among our people then we finalize by positioning the idea among our people. Thanks for your audience.
Alexander K Opicho, is a social researcher with sanctuary research agencies in Eldoret, Kenya.He is also a lecturer for Research Methods in Governance and Leadership.
K Mae  Oct 2012
Delta
K Mae Oct 2012
I allow my friend to touch me deep where I am raw
easing the task of bones and sinew
who work too hard to hold integrity.

Releasing now physical/energetic dams
Flowing again, forging new paths
from the Delta that is me
For Mary, my loving massage therapist
William D Hearns May 2018
One glossy raven perched, stately,
atop a snowy hill, Unearthly Long flowing wings, hanging down the *****, framing the hill
on the face of which,
were interposed two glacial ponds of blue.
Between these pools ran a simple strip of sloped marble,
But at the base of this was the most gentle depression in the snow.
In disbelief I observed two rows of strawberries, blossoming,
heavy laden with the richest red.
Each gentle bite of these more delicious than the last.
I continued my survey,
down to a long narrow hill of the freshest snow.
Here I came upon a wide expanse, a plain,
two long, slender berms extended at opposite sides.
But this was no true plain, and all the better for that,
For two equal mounds of snow enchanted the landscape.
The setting sun cast a pink light at the peak of each pale globe,
So beautiful I wept.
As I passed between their valley the snowy distance continued.
I observed an infinitesimal sloping on the Western and Eastern edges.
This expanse, perfect of any true blemish, was punctuated by the shallowest little empty pond at its narrowest width; which only served to enhance the beauty.
The length of this snowed plain was far greater than its width, the edges slowly creeping into the narrowest part before flaring out to a wide expanse.
And there in the lowlands was The Delta,
to the side of which extended two of the longest and most shapely tapering ridges I had ever observed;
each ending with graceful peaks.
But that Delta!
Though snowy, the darkest , shortest scrub had capped its mound.
At the apex of The Delta was a precipice,
on its face a cavern, pink walls glistening with wetness,
at the caverns base, a cave.
Its tunnel, with walls ribbed, was warm and humid despite the landscape of snow.
This is the landscape I cherish most.

— The End —