Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
rebeccalouise Oct 2012
to me
Niagara is represented
by the seasons

it starts off
as a new year,
fresh snow on the ground,
endless possibilities

you step out of your house,
maybe on Devine Crescent in Thorold,
and that first breath
of crisp winter air
fills your lungs
and freezes you to the bone
and reminds you that you are alive

everything is always
so still
on January 1st

like a clean slate,
an empty canvas

and then movement begins to paint the beginning of a detailed picture

[migrating geese,
the rustle of a tree,
a car alarm going off,
the sun trying to peak through the grey clouds,
a friend shouting your name]

and the moment shatters
and the new year officially begins

maybe it starts off
with breakfast at Lester Dees
and quickly, but silently,
unfurls into a whirlwind
of school and work and birthdays and holidays and movies and dates and a trip to Niagara Falls and a stroll through Niagara-on-the-Lake and a hike through the Escarpment in Grimsby and joy and happiness and sadness and laughter and tears
and moments

spring blossoms
you feel drenched by the April rain
and weighted down from melodramatic February

but you also feel that sense
of hope
that tingling in your toes
that something good is coming

so enjoy a drink
on a patio in Port Dalhousie,
and crank the volume up
a little bit louder
before a concert at Mansion House,
and take in the scenery
as you run along the Welland Canal

because spring is here

as the days get longer
and the sun gets hotter
summer, lazy as a sloth, engulfs Niagara

Crystal Beach is in full swing
and summer becomes home
to barbecues, camping adventures, road trips, hiking at DeCew Falls, late night laughter, reminiscing around a campfire, the reuniting of old friends, dips in ice cold pools and water gun wars

and as slow and nonchalant
as it entered your life
summer slips away,
like the golden sunsets that it harbors

the leaves change to brilliant shades
of red, yellow and orange,
we wrap ourselves in scarves
and hats and mitts

the world quietly changes around us

fall gives us
warm nights by the fireside
and hands locked while walking along the Escarpment, the city stretched out below

while the squirrels scrounge for food,
we, too, scamper around,
wondering where the year has gone

some will exhale,
a sigh of relief
and some will allow
a large, satisfied grin to stretch across their face

and fall is just that,
a time to reflect
on all that has gone right
and all that has gone wrong

what resolutions did we keep,
and what did we let melt away,
with the humid summer heat

Niagara changes every year
but it is consistent in its ability
to mold new life, to stretch itself, to immerse itself in every season, to provide outlets to enjoy life, to be that friend that is always there to fall back on
and to provide those memories that bring a smile to your face
and leave a warm feeling in your heart
Niagara is home.
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
Robin Carretti Jul 2018
The numerals II Sir I to another
alphabet
ABC* confession
DEF feared_***
My bowl spilled my
heart soup

Have Merci Beau-coup
The S was left alone my survival
Do you love my eyes primal
He points widely- tribal his
marriage finger my editorial
Be kinder strawberry sugar high
Do you want me to bite down
on my wafers
-I for the Ivy League his polo loafers

He's my (Lifesavers)
The bow and arrow I met my
dark sparrow what a rainbow
So intrigued my mystery arrival

Why on earth do you want me down?

To focus staying upright but kinda
Tight-Net gown

I am not a falling we have eyes
The face to face prize to be eyed
The Carribean
That Native American
Johnny Depp
When I make my first movie wish

The pirate birdseye rash
Al Dente ziti  Eggplant Parmigiana
The headless horse Dante always neighs
kills me on
Valentine day hearts lucky horseshoe

Eyes have frozen bird's eye
They thought I was
the sweet pea
He knocked me off
My Twitter tweets
  
I am the writer don't flood
My words everything is shaking
This is the Godly earth

So confused we feel-tightly squeezed
The earthquake head over heels down to our knees

She is sipping her tears down
In her chamomile tea thumbs up
The world is evaporating
like the dead sea
Bring everything alive I am
counting to 1*2*3*4*5

Down to my last words
I'm staying alive my life is more than
A Saturday Night Fever
But feeling down to my sunrise
Your heart deeply graved
I will betcha life has
more downs downward

Even when you wake -up upward

No way out of expensive
price tags we need to save
The give or take to remake
We need to finish not at
the end of the line

Where we were left off
Whats yours is mine

Sometimes you think
you are down
But life has you
well planted

To say I do
With his mind enchanted
Let me go up---++

The spirit is a complicated thing
I got wits to carry on anything

I need more guts
Now Bill said I do
Oh! No love me to please
me as I do

My Bill is always waiting
at the upside down table
Like the will-hunting
For God sake who is on first
Going up with the bucket list
Feeling down to adore me
You're going down Oh! Christ
Don't push my buttons
the elevator
I saw your Realtor
going to
The Skyline Hilton

I-O-U trillion hearts that were
down and wasted

Falling eyelashes no surprise
That stock exchange stars fault

Money lip up and honey
eyes down
Do you want this in singing
or shall we both go down
drowning

I'm going to wash that
man right out
? And sent him on
the way he's gone
The brainwashing Scientology
misery loves religious company
Like Humpty dump me
His "snoop dog so sad eating
like Pig whistle steak
Peeping Tom sales week
Anthony Perkins down to seek

The sprinkler shower
Hitchcock scene French Tickler
At Tiffany's Audrey
breakfast jewels Ruby
Hanky Panky pancakes

Like the Amazon in Prime
With fruit slashed smile
Love to love you baby at
Perkins eggs are dreamy
The shoot of ringlets hair screaming
Niagara fall and action roll fall down

You're a shade too hurtful
The red-brown chair or orange perk me
up the crown the Gala gown me

Life is so unkind why
do people smile
Going in and out the door
The rush the high like you could
mop her curls up but your hand down

Feeling inside the apple of the core

The teapot all fenced in pretending
The downspout- you're up-sprout
He's the roundabout -handle
A stranger is routing someone
is always cursing
You're going down

The game sports ball out
And your always looking
down at me when you
talk me out

Like a ring fight
falling black eye
Where is our coffee down
to nothing, she got a pink eye

Her words spilled over
upside down
pineapple printed dress

Having a breakdown
Do you want me down
I am the New York City girl
A clap of party hands
Uptown

A figure of speech when you get
lonely go downtown
To my number
address 13
what a lowdown
In the Wizard of Oz,
the  cowardly lion
crashed the window
My only lip Solo so low

My computer froze my red
rose wilted
I couldn't bring my smile
back to suit you

They were jumping for joy
Do you really want to
love a tomboy
Almond eyes of candy
Grease me down
Sandy
My pretty pink illegally
Blonde pill
Google on down with Bill

Joining the falling down crowd
But no one had a clue my face was
falling down all-stars feeling blue
When we're down and about or feeling all over the place the roundabout we cannot get over something that we go more down and down but be pulling our weight going up but who will fill our heart when you just about had enough
I march to a different drummer
My life it is my own
I'm an explorer of experience
That is how I'm known

I've seen snow in South Dakota
I've been on the Vegas strip
Had barbeque in Kansas
My life has been a trip

I'm a gypsy of the railways
I'm a legend in my time
I move on in a boxcar
Brother... spare a dime?

I've been through all the landlocked states
Five provinces as well
I've seen Niagara Falls all frozen
I've seen it flowing fast as well

I've had margaritas in Key West
And Bourbon in Kentucky
Craft beers out in Oregon
In my life I have been lucky

I travel on my stories
Feed myself with all my tales
I'm an explorer of experience
I'm a gypsy of the rails

I never stick around too long
I don't wear my welcome out
I come and see just what I want
That's what life is all about

I've railroad friends in Texas
Some up in BC too
We've shared drinks in San Diego
And had a great Alaskan brew

I'm not one to live by your rules
I find my rules suit me fine
I'm an explorer of experience
And I'm riding on the lines

You can find me down in Georgia
Or eating spuds in Idaho
I never know just where I'll be
Until my ride begins to go

I'm a gypsy of the railways
I'm a legend in my time
I move on in a boxcar
Brother...spare a dime?
Robin Carretti Aug 2018
We are heating up
A-glow--- A-star--- A-blaze
Many other well-lit planets
She's luminous like no other
Simply crazed__Fairytales

*She's Peach-Fruitti-Tutti
Godiva loves nuts
All the melt in's
*
Mr. Bacio-Hazelnut*
Mr. Pistacchio he got his nose______

Inside their sweets____Pinnochio
She's the Light-up Icecream Cone  

Moods are like ice cubes
hot and cold websites
I prefer cold zone
Feeling like
Eskimo in Alaska


Miss Prima Donna
Oh! Donna is her name
Gelatos are not all the same
We are not here to have
special privileges

Robin lost some ruffles
Polar bears ice Igloo
College boys with their sports mug
Polo shirts Santa hoo duffle bags
We don't know what she knows
or what he likes the stars
of the Cosmo we are not
here to win someone's love
OH! Yes Lotto

We are not professors or wizards
Harry Potters, they have some
Pots not a fan of pans got
some ****
**** so cool menthol smoke indeed
Around the Gelato in eighty days
The Race of a drive

computer clicks one-day creation flag
Hens and chicks laid the golden egg

Mr. Egghead meeting Conehead

His tasters choice  
 She loves Mr. Maxwell Mansion
This is Italy the Art sculptures
Sweet Gelato lips say a
thousand words of pleasure
We travel with Exotic lovebirds
Saving the Ice blue diamond
Icecream wreck what a she
gains more than a pound
Mama Mia,
not the Chia job plant
 Over the rainbow
chill out pants
Having Gelato clean
as mint float

To the waffle cone top
of the mountain sugar coat
Niagara Falls here
"Gelato calls"

What spaghetti my name is
Carretti

Mr. Alfredo his physique and
passion for food
Feeling like the comics
Having fun marveling
Carvel walking through
the love tunnel
  
Hot ladies how do they ever
Decide iced up inside

Hothead Alfredo throws
the dough
She coughs he laughs
The pizza everyone's
the head is turning beet red
Something is burning exorcist,
Lady in red pizza list

Back in Brooklyn best
Pizza and Italy (Rome) Venice (Florence)
But Bensonhurst Saturday night fever
With Nightingale Mr. Chippendale
He's chatting away on his cell phone

With her Gelato looking at the
stars of the men spiritual experience
The Cosmos feeling meltdown presence
St Thomas sunny like yellow
gelato melting

Being a saint please don't faint
A food critic dessert
*** a hex playful flirt
T Rex mighty green lime
The love fallout of coconut
He's the hottest man
on earth Pluto
Being whole flavor or 1/2 pint
of Vanilla Sky scholar or
Intermission Icecream internship
The Canadian cup another trip

  Nike air what an ice cream pair
Going back to New York City
Rockettes icecream kick
He's on his time feeling the royalty
Lets bow to the dogs best friend
French barrette in her ice blue
Corvette, she is 'Ice Queen"
Super Ice me, Hero

Do what the Romans do
Lend me your warm soul of hands
Getting married Italian medieval rings
For my next Gelato adventure
escape be polite on Google
Mr. Alfredo loves all kinds of noodle
The shape of Cone's to come in her head

Not an Antman, please or fly by night
Icecream Cone Head Batman
*But I am a woman named Robin
Christopher Robin, Robin Hood
Why are boys and girls name alike
**** good humor lady
Good humor truck
Where is her order head chef
shrimp scampi
In the islands of Sorrento

What a time for ironing
What a waffle shirt eating
his waffle
Icecream with ladybugs and dirt
So many varieties mental thing
Everything icecream you scream
What a college Varsity every year  
"Hot lady Gelato's" head of the dean
list oh! No
[Mr. Alfredo} ice cream chair with
another Gelato pair
Chiao for now
Gelato went a little too far I love Gelato lets travel with Robin and get some unbelievable Gelato but we need to go to Italy I was there it's amazing
There is no more painful love
than unrequited love
A heart that is open
pouring out to another
but an empty space
like a vacuum
with nothing in return

Like giving a gift
‘Tis better to give than receive
And the heart offers freely
all of its wonderful presents

Free of expectations
when truly filled with love
It blindly releases itself to another
With a simple creed
‘I am for you’

Like the wall of a dam
suddenly letting go
A deluge of emotions
Thoughtful, interest, caring, warmth, love
A flowing waterfall
of Niagara proportions

However, without intention

which goes without saying
since the truer the love
the blinder it be

The vacated space
creates a sudden vacuum
A sharp, deep pit left
where once all of itself was housed

For a brief time
the heart is unaware
still glowing in the warmth
from the happiness and joy
of the love it gives

But slowly the glow fades
And the presence of the empty space
becomes more obvious
and apparent

A coldness sets in
An addict looking for a fix
The heart desperately seeks
in return what it has given

Never intending to give with strings
but so it finds itself
now tied to another
with the strongest of bonds

The intense fulfilling feeling
once experienced
Replaced with anguish,
longing, loneliness and pain

The mind and heart begin
an epic civil war
Feeling the torment
and seeing the destruction
the mind invokes all its resources
to break the bonds
the heart has created

But with hope that is
almost sad and pitiful
the heart refuses to let go
So sure of the ties it made
And fighting back with all
of its might to defeat
any attempt
the mind has
to remove the bonds of love

A man at war with himself
will find himself at war with others
And so, the inner conflict
resonates outwardly
displayed aptly with defiance
and destruction

Like a pebble in a pond
each action creates ripples
Slowly at first
but then with exponential speed
a life is destroyed
leaving only a broken
and beaten shell

And after all the destruction
and loss
All of the pain and suffering
The tears and sorrow
At this moment
standing on a pile
of nothing but debris
The mind,
with a sense of arrogance
and certainty,
confronts the heart
and pointedly asks,
“Do you see now?!
Do you see the
error of your ways??
Look what it has cost us!
Do you see the
mistake you’ve made?!”

Without hesitation or waiver
the heart responds
with a steady certainty
that is calm and cool in nature,
“No. Love is a risky venture.
One always, ‘takes a chance at love’.
But I will not admit
fault for trying.
When I love
I love freely and openly
I offer all of myself
without expectations
It’s only when you get involved
and create conflict within
that we have problems
To love is to love
It brings joy and happiness within itself
If it is not returned
then it is not returned
but an open and loving heart
can not feel emptiness and pain for it is filled with love
And there is no greater reward
than finding that love in another
and having another
find that love
in you
Written: March 4, 2018

All rights reserved
Melanie Cruz  Jun 2015
Adventure
Melanie Cruz Jun 2015
When I was younger, my biggest desire was to travel.
Dreaming of swimming with dolphins in the Amazon River.
Dreaming of floating away to the Niagara Falls.
Dreaming of running all of the United States.
Dreaming bigger dreams than Martin Luther King, Jr could ever.
Maybe even go away in a hot air balloon until boredom struck.
See the highest peaks of the Earth, maybe until I’ve reached the gates of Heaven.
Have brunch with the President of the United States, or with a beggar I come across with on my journeys.
When I was younger, my wishes were beyond my reach
God’s angels seemed closer than my dreams could ever be.
And so, I made contact with one of God’s angels, as I floated on the cloud of my imagination.
This angel had brown eyes; hair fell perfectly every time
Perfection came to this angel without ever trying.
I fell for this angel faster than Lucifer fell from the glory of God, it was so unplanned and perfect.
Unplanned and perfect.
That was this angel’s method to everything in life:
Unplanned. Perfect.
Everything he did was unplanned and perfect.
It was… spontaneous.
He was spontaneous.
He was perfect.
The way he didn’t think about anything too much, and just did everything. Only thinking about things twice – or so it seemed. The way he didn’t have a planning sheet for life, he just wrote whatever came to his mind, like me. Except he didn’t write, he acted upon his thoughts. I literally write everything that comes to mind. But this angel? He acted. The finest actor that ever descended from Heaven.
Now, the perfection of his beauty leaves me speechless every time, making me a mime of some sort. The perfection of his beauty is marvelous, I just don’t know how to put it into words. All I can say is that, with this angel I’ve fallen for, I am somehow satisfied. Somehow, all the dreams I’ve been yearning for so long are brought to life at last.
The words he speaks flow perfectly - I promise you, I could swim in them. The ease of his tone makes me feel like I’m swimming in the Niagara Falls. Oh, and that laugh is so sweet and just as cute as the dolphins in that Amazon River I had wished to swim with.
He makes me feel like I’m running more than just the United States of America. This amazing angel gives me an adrenaline rush… I could run miles and miles. To him. To hug him. To kiss him. To get high off of his touch and feel oblivious.
God sent me the best transportation to the Gates of Heaven.
And this transportation is the most spontaneous and perfect.
This spontaneous piece of perfection is the best adventure, and I’m so ready to have brunch every day with that marvelous angel God sent.
Ramona Argo  Sep 2014
Selfies
Ramona Argo Sep 2014
There's an awkward thrill I feel
like wicked-wet rabies –
Oh. Ah. Oh.
To gaze over photos of the woman I created.
With my warped perception,
saturating and cropping everything into delicious
oblivion.
I am the knife as well as the ingredients
that sauteed her together in a camera flash.
She sits hot like heaven.
And I want to
stare at her picture all day until she comes to life.

The woman I created, I hang up like perfected rotisserie
and fall in love with her accidentally every day.
Looking into those precisely underlined
tiger-*** eyes of startling navy. Knowing their true dullness.
Hissing at the free-swinging curls
and the hours behind them. Loving the lie.
The flowy top and sleek trousers gliding down lovely as Niagara
over chaffing chub; all hidden. And thighs; unshaven.
And that topical smile everyone likes to see, waiting to plummet
into suicide like a kite hanging in one tight second.
Her image is my greatest
False accomplishment.

I hang my portrait up on a wall of the internet
for people of the world to migrate to
the photo exhibit, my little show-off room.
They make offers and toss compliments
with their “I like this. I like this." nonsense.


They don't know that the girl in the portrait, she
isn't organic. They seem not to notice
that she is something of a chemical flower.
Her face is my face, only with whiteout poison-paste
smoothed over twice.
And they want to
stare at her picture all day until she comes to life.

Gazing upon her believed-to-be beauty, as I hang my paintbrush,
she bites her body still as a painting,
bruised and needled
into perfect frame. She cries
like Jesus Christ, as she is stared at, but not seen.
I am the artist as well as the object.
And the woman in the portrait is
nothing,
but dot after dot of manipulated color.
And we want to
stare at her picture all day until she comes to life.
Niagara Falls . . .
"Slowly I turned,
Step by step,
Inch by inch . . ."
I am Lou Costello
Stuck in a jail cell
With some ****** lunatic.
Getting the **** beat out of me.
Every time.
Don Brenner Oct 2010
Five hundred feet from Terrapin Point the Birdman stands with his bicycle.  His face as flat as the quarters he begs for, glares at foreign tourists.  Two boisterous parrots, Larry and Mabel.  They smell like tourists and change, and are footcuffed to three brass chains connected to his backpack.  A Muslim family approaches.  They want a picture.  Birdman places the birds on the hands of the smallest boy, and his mother takes a picture.  Mabel squirms.  Larry squawks.  Click.  A reward for their posturing, Birdman places birdseed on his tongue, and the parrots peck away, ignoring his birdbreathe for an evening snack.  The tourists clap and laugh at Birdman and toss him their spare change.  Birdman stands.  Waits.  For another family to pose with his birds.

Mabel licks her wings
and Larry says, "Picture pic."
Birdman stands alone.
2009
Vidya  Sep 2013
niagara
Vidya Sep 2013
coyotes like
magenta-clad twentysomethings
screaming:
singing at the unearthly
hour when I
watched the desert
stars overhead and
now I wonder what else it is they’ve
killed

and maybe if I’d hung enough
dreamcatchers I would have
caught all the dreams that
pulled me past
you (step
into my parlor said the spider to the
fly

but what is it anyway that sticks between your eyelids when you
sleep when you
keep your eyes shut and your mouth
open does the sandman glue them
together to resign you to your own
blindness

be careful with your eyes sweetheart because
too many waterfalls leave
cataracts in their wake.
Nat Lipstadt Feb 2019
a man privately asks, can you help?
you say, sure-no-hesitation

let me think on it for a day or two, he says
yet you act even before he comes back,
too late, you say, when he returns,
too late, he repeats in puzzlement,
yup, my check is in the mail,
cause one senses the need is dire plus,
plus you well recall the immutable obligation when  
a vague commitment of “just ask” was inked in a long ago message,
a poem born from/in the days when you slept in the car on the street

this vague promissory,
a more enforceable judgement in your own court of law
than any state construct or the judgmental eyes of a silenced god

word, honor, do.

thus it begins, an unwritten contract inked,
an egregious interest rate of 0% proffered and agreed,
commences a plain white envelope trickle,
a check inside, by postal mail, slowly it came,
month by month, inch by inch, Niagara Falls ^

years go by, and then comes a day,
when the accompanying check and its gift wrapped note says,
Paid In Full!

and so much for the tedious minutiae...

like kindness, I do,
Thank You and Your Welcome
are high on my list of proofs of
daily human extensions existential,

Paid in Full,
now rests at the top of the list

let me be blunt, the thrill of being a party
to a deal with no handshake, just coated in the
honorable words waterproof sealant,
with a person I likely may never meet,
made me so better assured of whom many claim I am,  
a mathematical proof revered and kept mind inscribed,
it was an aspirational ****, an unforeseen monthly blunt,
the best feeling good smile,
a kick in the pants about what really matters

being paid twice over and me,
getting by far,
the humanity confirmation,
the better half of the deal

write too often of honor,
and yet, will instinctual do again,
again overpowering my rays of will,
for there is no deflection, only reflection

for the glorious riches gifted and received,
without compare
the return on my honorable investment the best ever


oh brotherhood, oh brotherhood,
I am paid in the currency coined from brotherhood...
^ from a Laurel and Hardy routine
yup, true story
"This above all: to thine ownself be true"
which denies the escape
of being false to any human.”

— The End —