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As I listen to Otis Redding on the harbor, boats named after people float around;
Boats named by fishermen who think just a little too much.
They come out everyday like Hemingway Jrs; the old men and their sea.

December does not feel right here: It’s not the same without a Chicago winter,
But this harbor’s got my father on my mind.

He used to run numbers for a local casino & now he writes numbers in a sudoku box on Sundays.
The days of wild adventure on the streets of Germany are what he sees when he looks at his beer mugs.

and when he’s had a little Heineken, Marlboro, and a spin of his record player,
I know that no one else should be in the room.

He shows his thoughts in photos: His winters spent coming back home to feed his family,
Keeping warm in a house with one heater, snow, noses blown in hankies, Uncle Frankie,
Harry playing jazz in the living room, and walking to school in the cold.

But there are no photos of him - and there wouldn’t be -
When he snuck away to the harbor with his friends.
We tend not to talk about them anymore, but he still remembers where they lived.

And sometimes, I catch a glimpse of him - with his Heineken and his Marlboro and his music -
I catch him as he smiles in hiding while his eyes confide in a light I do not see,
And when I do,
I know that my father is still on that harbor.
Juhlhaus Feb 5
Even though I walked for an hour
In the snow melt mist
Threading my boots
Through the brown salt muck and flotsam
Winter's junk food wrappers
The city just stared vacantly
At its own face in the lake ice
Seemingly as uninspired as me
Not every day can be poetic, right?
Juhlhaus Jan 25
Wellspring of blood and gold
In flame and glory ever
Doest thou faithful rise
Cast off thy vapor shrouds
Radiance of ancient godhood
Undimmed

Magnified
By singing ice as prophesied
In the late darkness thy
Hoped triumph heralded while
Bearers chained on metalled rails
Muttered hoary protest under
Breath of polar air

But lo!
The brazen promise of thine
Image graven in beholder's eye
Rings hollow in the bitten ears
And the stung flesh
Feels thy boasted fire
Not at all

Above thee
Stands the city's goddess proud
So virile once thou smilest
Upon her white clad shoulder now
Ceres scorns thine impotence turns not
But fixes her steeled gaze
On the frozen north
Mythos of a -15˚F Chicago sunrise.
Juhlhaus Jan 23
A sidewalk canvas
Half done slush
An oil slick
Twice frozen ice
And boots that slip
A train just missed
The red eyes glare
Rain that floats
In sour air
Brutalized concrete
Bleeding rust
Filthy floors
And alley walls
Spent cigarettes
In every nook
Steel that shrieks
In cold protest
Blue lights
And a defiant poet
On every corner
An inventory of materials.
Juhlhaus Jan 16
Sipping the air of a city night
So heady in the cold
On the move under static lights
Little worlds about
To collide

Gravity frivolity
Draw broken hearts like earth bound stars
As the pull of every
Small storied point holds others back
From abysses beneath
Dark waters

Lone souls each
And all compose this Metropolis
Joy is to be
Discovered in insignificance
Where together
We belong
Three poets walked into a bar. These are some thoughts that emerged.
Juhlhaus Jan 15
I hurried out at six fifteen to wait
For a train with a waning moon,
Bright Venus and Jupiter hovering
Above the skyline. The amber horizon
Turned to orange and pink
As scattered stars went dim.

Misread the schedule and arrived
Downtown three quarters of an hour
Before my Electric District connection.
An accidental gift to self. I ascended
And ate two breakfast sandwiches
I got for one dollar with a coupon,
Warm in my hands on a blue picnic table.

The sky grew light
Above the Lake and I wandered
Through Millennium Park. It was empty
Or nearly, which felt the same.
The sun broke the bent horizon
In chrome and ice. I took some pictures,
Then descended to find Track Five.

The day's light revealed
Hollow houses with cartoon stone applied
Like paint, unable to compete
For preeminence with two-car garages.
The newest were bigger and offered
In different colors, but all the same.
Driving conditions were excellent.

At sunset I stood on another platform
Above a busy highway. The last rays came
Through tree branches and melted
Into the pale sky as they left my face.
I had witnessed that sun's birth,
It had warmed me while I waited for my carpool,
Rested with me on a concrete planter after lunch.

I entered the city in darkness
A second time. Changed muddy boots
For clean shoes and hurried to the museum.
It was a free night, overcrowded
With families and children, so difficult
To find a quiet corner for contemplation,
Any sanctuary for my own small soul.

I descended, discovered the typewriters, then
Realized you and I were already there, just
In different colors, using different words,
Spending school vacation to view old paintings
And the Holiday Miniature Rooms.
It dawned and the future was brighter even
As I left the city in darkness.
For a wonderful fellow poet who reminds me that there is no such thing as an ordinary day.
New Year’s Day – The first time I’ve seen you in two years.

It’s funny, for two years, I never once thought about you.
You were never on my mind.
You were never considered.
I never fantasized about you.
I never dreamed about you.
But then I saw you.

Tall, fit, messy hair.
White tee, sweatpants, and a bit of scruff.
Seeing you like this, all grown-up, brand new
It made me mad.

I’m mad because for two years
Two whole years
I’ve said nothing.
Two whole years
I never reached out.
Two whole years
And now, I can finally see.

I like you. A lot.
And I think you might like me.
At least, I think you could like me.

But before things could start, they end.
I fly back to Chicago soon,
Who knows when I’ll be back.
You fly back to school soon,
Who knows when you’ll be back.
And yet, here I am, holding my breath.

**** my ignorance.
**** my bad timing.
**** my feelings for you.

**** you for looking so good in sweatpants.
Wish me luck
Never sleep without your shoes on your feet,

I forced my mouth to quiet my cries,
for fear of another whip from the belt,
she frowned as if to me tell me, "not another sound."

Morning finally shined in,
but momma better not get woke up before ten,
so I waited until the night before I started in again,
"mommy, he was my dad that died too,"
avoiding eye contact, "no you belong to that ***** that gave birth to you, "

Trying one more time pleading the way 5-year
old's do, "but you're my mommy, I love you and
I miss daddy too,"

Suddenly my body slammed to the floor, realizing my shoes were the color of blue,
fear, pain, the taste of blood not knowing to stay still or try to move,
could never guess which
to do, no matter her
mood,

Grieving for my daddy,
begging for her love... she couldn't because I wasn't her  blood,
my sister called her boyfriend, "daddy," though,
ironically she had my dad's last name but not me strangely so.

That cold Chicago night my shoelaces were tied extra tight,
in fear, she'd put me in the dumpster like so many times she dared.

Always sleep with your
shoes on your feet,
never get comfortable...
like innocent prey you'll
be eat.
~SacredInkedblood™
©2018
Ven Jencie Clifton Arnold
Author Ven J Arnold page on Fb Series3, Always Sleep With Your Shoes On"
Ken Pepiton Oct 2018
This one day I was awalkin' down the road,
to Chicago, winter o'seventy, worst in thirty years,
'saw this young fella in a army jacket, shiverin',
his feet was cold.

I walked up and said hello, you don't know me,
but I saw your feet was cold.

I got some dry socks and bread bags that'll
keep'm dry, you can have 'em if you will.

He said thank you, sir, real polite, but
cold feet is what I'm gettin' past,
gettin' over it wit m'mind. A guru taught me.

Ain't working is it?
I saw your feet was cold.

Nah, it ain't, now yah mention it, and I'm hungry.

So he bought me a burrito, and I told him about angels,
and how some say cold feet are symbolic,
one told me once,
many's the wish gone awanting
for lack of a reason to try.

I had cold feet, back then.
walkin' to Chicago, tryin' to. Again,
wit my mind. And bread bags, this time.

Angels, I believe in, they all are helpful as can be,
within parameters, y'understand, but evil angels,
ain't no such a thing.

Not no more any how. Jesus fixed it, came and saw,
damright, conquered war by loving and forgiving,

All while the Iron-legged montrosity from Italy,
was squishin' Jews and Christians in mud

that stuck like clay to the Iron-legged beast.
Ironic, ain't it?

You don't know? Whoa. These are the last days,
all the sealed up stuff that lion's den guy
got from the angels, messages from YodHeyVodHey,
Jesus's our father, from the prayer,

on earth as in heaven? There ain't no evil angels
in any heaven you ever imagined somebody imagined.

Loki, don't count. There's jokers in heaven.
Probably.

Mark Twain imagined a hellish heaven,
but saw no evil angels there.

They're mythic materially, literal wills o'the wisp.
The idea of evil hybrids,
that was then.
This now, now angels are all they ever were,
messages in the medium.

Mediums are something past medium now, hot or cold,
media-evil memes can manifest from a mob in the medium,
but they are bubbles,
right? Professional testers of the patience of the saints,
protesting the end of time,
so what?
I keep hearing words that are fun to write, so I write them. And I like the idea Sam Harris has about what Jesus bomb might be imagined to do, if all things are possible under these circumstances
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