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

The night before,
20 below zero
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.

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,

Kansas City,
St. Louis,
New Orleans,
Mexico City
and Montreal
salute her.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.
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.

an important fossil fuel
denominated in
good ole greenbacks.

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

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'.

I think its hardy.

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

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

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.

and Istanbul's
best traders
are only half as good
as the average trader in 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,
and estuaries
it’s tentacles reach.

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
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!


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
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
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,
long underwear,
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,
and more.

Always more.
Much much more
in Chicago.

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
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!

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

the nation,
its people
with its

A blessing,

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!

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,
row houses,
and you’ll hear the Blues
whispered like
a quiet prayer.

Tidewater Blues
from Virginia,
Delta Blues
from the lower
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,
for a new start.
Poor and
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

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


Robert Johnson
Sweet Home Chicago

Added today to commemorate the birthday of Carl Sandburg
michelle reicks Nov 2011
deli meats and cheeses
i look past them at soft crinkling smiling faces

and i drink my java
warms up my hands and ******* and i sweat
in my coat

walking up and down the isles

I see trail mix
and sunchips

and sweet sweet sweets
the yummies

that i adore


dark chocolate cocoa orange cherry strawberry berry red brown

it's the sweetness and saltiness
of summer time ice cream

It's the cold crispness
of carrots and snap peas

It's the warmth and comfort
of big muffins and a plate of hashbrowns
at Perkin's
after a stressful morning

spice smells
of pad tai noodles

sourdough bread, fresh baked
crunch crunch on the outside
soft hot squish
(save that part for me, i eat them separate
-you laugh)

how many times did we
about how you ate that bug
and we were never picky

all those cherries.

we ate nutella
on bread,

washed it down with cold organic orange juice
from a cafe neither of us had ever heard of

and tofu
tofu tofu

always cooked perfectly (we wondered how they do it)
(i still don't know)

chocolate, melting slowly

"you missed some."

-------just an excuse to kiss me.
i giggle

peanut m&m;'s

turn my tongue colors.

Watermelon at a potluck
wedding cake
cheesy potatoes
and an extra helping of bread
(we laughed so hard at the white bread, squished into a cube)

ruby red
made you wince

I drink it straight from the bottle
and smile

remembering every kiss
that tasted of grapefruit
in that tent

every kiss that tasted of salt
from the eggs?
or from the sweat on your lips

the sweat on your lips.

we kiss more
i smile into your lips
i remember that, especially

we never got sick of each other
nutella on everything, now.
especially on s'mores

i smile with every memory

i put my hands in pockets, the cold rushes to meet my face
in the ice cream aisle

i cool down as i graze
through the tubs or corn syrup and double churned triple churned
cream with extra fudge


i chuckle to myself

memories memories
of sitting up high
with you,

sand on our toes
chocolate caramel fudge coffee
on our tongues


in our hearts

you remember.

the taste of that summer
I'm a Tree Huggin', Soy Chuggin',
I won't eat no meat
I'm a vegan of convenience,
Still, there's leather on my feet
I don't believe in lots of things
I'll protest and attack
But you won't find me out in front
'Cause I'll be in the back
I give money to my causes
Save the whales, electric cars
But I'm not one to lead the fight
"Cause I don't like the scars
Bricks get thrown alot you see
And those things ****** hurt
And I'm not a happy camper
When there's blood upon my shirt
I won't eat seeds of any sort
They get stuck in my teeth
My clothes are all from LL Bean
Except what's underneath
Way back in the sixties
I lived communaly
We ate only what the earth gave up
We didn't watch tv
As years passed by, our voices died
Our causes became much rarer
We sounded more like Manilow
Than Phil Ochs or Tom Lehrer
I choose fine wine over wheatgrass juice
I like leather and wear silk
I no longer go and get the goat
So we can have fresh milk
I'm a Tree Huggin', Soy Chuggin',
I won't eat no meat
I'm a vegan of convenience,
Still, there's leather on my feet
I don't believe in lots of things
I'll protest and attack
But you won't find me out in front
'Cause I'll be in the back
I've changed lots since the sixties
I'm a capitalist blood hound
If I said I'm a true vegan
My board would see me drowned
I used to wear just cotton
Hemp and caftans  and blue jeans
Leather shoes and belts and jackets
Were just not part of my scene
My friends, well, they grew up
And others stayed in touch
The ones with money see me
The others not so much
I used to go out jogging
Through the park in puma shoes
Now I workout in a private gym
Wearing nikes and with my  crew
You see I'm still a vegan
When it suits me, don't you see
My new girlfriend likes organic
And she's only twenty three
There's forty years between us
Though I've done it all before
When my girlfriend is not with me
I am a carnivore
I support all of her causes
Though most things I don't attend
I'll be a vegan of convenience
Until our courtship ends
Who knows, what then will happen
Will I eat Tofu or some chops
I know which way I'm leaning
We'll see how that one drops
Like I said when we first started
I am a vegan, so I am
But instead of eating quinoa
I'll stick to eggs and ham.
I'm a Tree Huggin', Soy Chuggin',
I won't eat no meat
I'm a vegan of convenience,
Still, there's leather on my feet
I don't believe in lots of things
I'll protest and attack
But you won't find me out in front
'Cause I'll be in the back
chrissy who  Feb 2015
chrissy who Feb 2015
I made it so far
But then I got to the beach and craved
From there to the end
My natural getting-home-from-work reaction was to
Crack open a beer
I think I felt like at that point
The fumes knew me better than you did,
And for them at least I didn’t have to
Explain myself.
I ****** up enough meals that I gave the cooking duties
To you.
Maybe if you pay attention to the stove you won’t look at my face not looking at you
Not knowing what to do,
How many times I avoided eye contact
Always trying to find something to point out
So it looked like I at least had some sort of reason
Just covering up the treason
That I probably should’ve felt bad for.
Feeling bad and feeling paranoid
Are not the same thing
And I only felt one of the two.
Flat beer
Old wine
Lukewarm liquor
I never knew a sink full of ***** dishes could spark such a fire
Scars left from burns can still feel phantom warmth.
The smell of burning butter
Not even a diet change could fix what was going wrong
A suggestion made for “health reasons”
You’ll never know what I was patching up.
I never knew how much hope could be contained
In eight ounces of soybean mush.
Now I’m back to where I was before
Only sometimes self-medicating to the point of remembering what it’s like
To not remember
But never sad to remember
What it’s like to wake up next to her.
z  Mar 2016
tofu and noodles
z Mar 2016
she talks about things she believes I wish I could do
I don't ask but she shows me her portfolio
casually sidelong I say between sips
"I am not running anyone over
But if you're in my way I will hit you"
and her expression changes from puzzlement to anger
I take another sip and flip her off
Raj Arumugam Dec 2013
spread it on thick
on my bread and biscuit
lots of peanut butter
twice as thick
as grandma’s
makeup cake on her face*

peanut butter
more than tar on the road
peanut butter
with my naan and my rice
lay it on the noodles
and peanut butter with tofu
don’t forget a dollop
with the curry too

good pasta and pizzas
become better
soaked in peanut butter
Ye Olde English Sandwich
flames like a dragon
fixed with half a bottle
of the New World Inca paste

*spread it on thick
on my bread and biscuit
lots of peanut butter
twice as thick
as grandma’s
makeup cake on her face
...written in the ecstasy of having finished a slice of bread with peanut butter laid on thick...
CAUTION: the above poem should be taken with a pinch of salt, or peanut butter, as the case may be...
Harsh  Dec 2013
Harsh Dec 2013
If we lived in a non-judgmental world,
where social norm were a blank slate
free of preconceptions and expectations,
a world in which it was traditional to be liberal,
what would you do?
Would you work this hard or drive fast cars?
Would you read 50 Shades of Grey in the train?
Would you still cry in the rain?
Would you be outgoing or spend more time alone?
Would you laugh at funerals and never mourn?
Would you wear your pyjamas for Sunday mass?
Would you identify yourself with the working class?
Would you use two forks or wear socks with flip flops?
Would you avoid dating jocks?
Would you take up smoking or marry young?
Would you tattoo your face and pierce your tongue?
Would you work as a stripper whilst being a nun?
Would you form a jihad against wars and guns?
Would you become straight, forget how to pray
or wish your first born son were gay?
Would you ever fake an ******
or admit you like it rough?
Would you follow the stars and lucky charms
leaving all life's decisions to luck?
Would you believe in evolution and gravity,
or argue we're heavy people with sticky feet?
Would you avoid salad or order tofu?
Would you try to go up a dress size or two?
Would you give to charity or take up a sport?
Would you sell your house and buy a boat?
Would you order expensive wines or
write poems that did not rhyme?
What would you do?
Perhaps you simply wouldn't have a clue,
for we appear to have forgotten how to be true.
So when ever a Miley comes like a wrecking ball
we unite to share our disbelief and loathe.
As we did to Snowden and Jesus Christ,
we mock and torture and crucify.
The UN, CIA and the Vatican unite,
to teach us how to lead our lives.
For when someone somewhere breaks a norm
that someone somewhere has formed
it has become a universal priority
for the former to be conformed.

Perhaps in this non-judgmental world,
we might decide to start judging each other...
This poem is the sole property of me and cannot be copied or used without permission. [Copyright G.H. Rodrigo 08/12/2013]
Mike Hauser  Nov 2016
Mike Hauser Nov 2016
After all these many carnivore years
You can call it guilt or you can call it fear
I've made up my mind to decide
I'm going vegan this November time

So I broke down hard and read some books
Heard some tapes on what it took
From veggies steamed to veggies raw
From beans of green to yellow squash

As my nightly dreams were all filled with meat
I pushed back hard with collard greens
But still had no clue of what to do
With a turkey substitute

And that is when a friend came in
Who Tofu's the line at turkey time
So I read more books and heard more tapes
On Tofu fried, boiled, broiled, and baked

Opening up my kitchen to fine cuisine
Minus the best part...that being meat
As I promised myself I can make this work
My Tofurkey  would be the finest in edible art

I had bought  my Tofu by the pound
Lucky for me it is pliable
As I stretched and pulled and pulled and stretched
Until I had something that looked like a head

With my artistic abilities seriously in doubt
I'm pretty sure what I conjured was the head of a cow
So I pulled and stretched and stretched and pulled
No ones going to call me an abstract fool

As I bring to boil the "Rodin" juices in me
And baste at my skills repeatedly
Where I come up with a turkey, giblets and all
And just for good measure I gobble a turkey call

Of course cooking the thing is another road and
I sadly lost Tofurkey 1, 2, and 3 in the explosion
When 4 hit the score I invited my friends
Whose friendship with them will take time to mend

Just because a turkey looks like a turkey, don't mean that it is
I'm now learning all this while I clean up the mess
As forks went to the mouths at the very same time
So did the retching along with the crying

But in a month they'll forget this entire sordid ordeal
When they get the invites for my Christmas holiday meal
With my time in the books and tapes I will spend
Looking forward to  Christmas and a delicious soy bean ham
dania  Jan 2013
dania Jan 2013
Cupcakes and jello,
Sun drops of yellow,
A year old prince smiles with glee,
Happiest times started off free.

One foot in and one foot out,
Each step weighted with doubt,
Wan smile for the camera snapping away,
Two years old today.

Messy hair and muddy feet,
Too much energy to take a seat,
Toothy three-year old smiles for Mummy's photo,
Looking as proud as winning the lotto.

Marvel comics and new-found heroes,
Fan-art drawn in multi-colored Biro's,
Cheeky grin to hang on the wall,
Four years old, 3 feet tall.

Backpacks and Elmers' glue,
Cafeteria food that's hard to chew,
Pose in school uniform, charcoal gray,
Five years old on this big day.

Ring pop marriages and rainbow smarties,
Confetti always being thrown at birthday parties,
Yours is no different, cup them in your hand,
Hold out six fingers and composedly stand.

Swimming lessons and soccer practice,
Coaches being overwhelmingly fractious,
Hugging the soccer ball to your chest,
Seven years old, smilin' your best.

TV marathons and video games,
Struggling to learn hockey players' names,
Staring intently at the wrestling match,
Eight years old, hoping to catch.

Game of tag and playground fights,
Pretending to be English knights,
Awkward personality you've yet to define,
No longer eight, now you're nine.

Reruns of Spongebob Squarepants, ******-Doo,
First time trying fried tofu,
New experiences 'cause now you're ten,
Eight years away from joining the men.

6th grade comes and 6th grade passes,
Schedule in hand trying not to be late for classes,
Remember your locker combination 1-20-7,
Sigh of relief that you're eleven.

Too thin, too slim-
Too fat, not "that"-
Hallways you seldom dwell,
Twelve, trapped in a living Hell.

Bitter, reserved, aggressive you turn,
Nagging from parents makes your stomach churn,
Yelling "I hate you," till your face burns red,
Thirteen is an age of words over-said.

In a rash decision, you stole a beer,
A crowd welcomes you with an electric cheer,
Only fourteen, your choices will sway,
With time, you'll rue this day.

Not young, not old,
"Be fun", "be bold",
Caught in the middle of the unforeseen,
Not quite fifty, still fifteen.

A year has passed and you're feeling tired,
Can't bear to tell your father you've been fired,
Sixteen has brought you misery and sorrow,
Dreading the fruits of tomorrow.

Nothing is "for fun" anymore,
All this working out is making you sore,
Your head gives in and you pass out cold,
Seventeen and you've already been sold

Eighteen candles in one big breath,
Closer and closer to inevitable death,
         You feel so old already,
                Want to take it steady...
But you can't.
Prompt: "Youth is wasted on the young."
samasati  Sep 2013
black magic
samasati Sep 2013
you are like black magic,
a hidden lip underneath a night of grace; underneath the canopy
of old soul trees, stretching out above
to protect hearts from being
but you,

you are like black magic
and cheeky lick kisses under ****** blankets.
you were a secret
you were a shame
you were a dose of mortifying pleasure;
a sore amount; a quarter of a cup; a batch of chocolate chip cookies
with just one egg,
splenda, not sugar,
tofu, not meat,
never enough;
but I’m a sucker for vegetarianism and anything
orthorexic – I’ve compared you
to my biggest demon
too often; so I should really know that
you’re toxic –

I dance alone
with my eyes closed
and you’re there; step step, close.
your fingers slide into the gaps between mine
and now we’re interlocking,
like a devil on my back;
I move with you; dancing to your heartbeat
step step step, hold me close
and never let me go
-- oh please let me go
-- oh maybe I should let go.

We’re Getting Older,
the lyrics in the song I am listening to
tell me;
but I feel young under your gaze
a time machine; taking me back to a year ago
in the winter
in the cold
under the open, black sky
because the trees are broken and little in the winter,
and don’t have enough life in them
to protect my heart
from being hurt
(by you).
oh you,

you are like black magic,
and I am like a baby lioness,
proud and easily tamed.
shanika yrs  Jun 2018
Tofu You
shanika yrs Jun 2018
certainly a rainy day
little hurricanes fire in the rain
ma girl she dripping her love away

— The End —