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Seanathon Jul 2016
You see this building? I built this building. But nobody knows that I built this building.

I can only assert that I did build this building, and refresh my own memory of building said building.

But at the end of the day, it's just an old building. And ironically enough, I've never stopped building.

There are a few other people who helped build this building. Like myself they can say that they did build this building.

And even if all of our name were there on an engraving, it would never truly be anyone's personal building.

Because we built it for those, so that they could start building. So that they could get going and build their buildings.

Because the framework we built was a structure of learning. And we each taught ourselves through the process of learning.
It's true.... :D
ˏˋDalPalˊˎ Sep 2016
it's 8pm

after the sun departs and we are greeted by constellations
or what we could see past the rising light of the city
The elitists of the day go home
A time of opportunities has gone down with the day
But what would the night bring us?
The start of a new journey and to be one with the city?
Never in the eyes of a 9-5 type

it's 12am

the stars
they call our name
towers being our line of communication
should we go?
we could get caught, though?
I have to wake up early tomorrow
what if, what if, what if
'What if' didn't make your greatest memories and you know it

every emotion between ambition and fright from what lays ahead
but that feeling is what makes it worth while.
doesn't matter if were opening the door to the outside or crawling out a window
the next feeling hits you and it is more than awe

it's 3am**

above the ***** streets of Houston
60 plus up with not a witness insight other than god
as our eyes gaze upon the lit streets, that stretch infinitely
our perspective changes
what once was Houston
is now a interlay different world
who knew a city could offer you so much without trying to give it to you
this is really rough and ill edit it later
Marte Lindholm Jul 2018
I washed up on the shore
You were already standing there
Like you were expecting me
You made me feel warm again

I could feel the sun burning my neck
As I turned around and followed you into the forest
It was like a warning
The sun trying its best to make me stay

But I couldn't resist
And you led me deeper in
It was so dark

I remember falling asleep
And when I woke up
You were already gone

I stumbled around in the dark
Time went by
I thought I saw the shore
Where it all began

I rushed my steps
My blood started pumping faster
In a hurry towards the light
A twig scratched my left arm

I didn't feel any pain
But then I saw the blood
First just a few drops
Then my arm was all covered

I kept on running
Faster and faster
The light was getting dimmer
But I could smell the ocean now

And then I was there
I was too late
The sun was setting

I could barely see it shining
Behind some tall buildings
That weren't there before

The sun disappeared
And so did I
Finding Paradise, look it up
Mena Mulugeta Jul 2018
It’s deeper than that.
It’s deeper than the ocean.
It’s this feeling I can’t bare.
My heart thumping so quick

Adrenaline rush when I heard the
Words that you were gone.
Altitude is so high I can’t even cry.
12 Empire State buildings tall, and
I still really couldn’t reach my soul.
My emotions overpowering many things
Wishing you were here,
wishing there was a golden stairway to heaven.
I would climb milestones
just to hear your voice.
I wish I could come up home,
and sit down just to see your reflection.

You’re shining brightly
with flashes of light.
Looking like an Angel
I feel your presence.
  Things are unreal
  time is not ours,and
Forever you will be in my heart.
Rest In Peace to you beautiful souls.
May all you beautiful souls Rest In Peace Beruk
elaine Jul 2018
empty houses and car-less streets,
this town holds beauty without residence.

people move into this town of beauty and run up and down the streets damaging little by little slowly.

the people take away the beauty and throw it all away for their selfish needs,
they build tall tall buildings and put gas into the lovely clean air.

leaving this town a horrible disease.
King Panda Sep 2016
let this be proof that on day
***
I am alive
and kicking
with nothing but a
caffeine headache
and a good
twenty days of
September
in my back pocket
but now
the cross breeze
comes and
I lament the past four
autumns
how they left me
cold
broken
and seeing women jump
off buildings
God!
Sovereign soldier!
Sinner!
Saint!
let me live more than
20 days
I am a good person
I only **** when asked
I eat spaghetti with a fork
and spoon
I once tried to jump off
a cliff
but that was then
and this is now
and the breeze is as cold
as winter
don’t think that I ever enjoyed this
time with you
don’t think that I won’t ever
try that again
I promise I won’t float
in the air
no
not this time
Mercedes Sep 2018
we were like
water filled balloons,
dropping
from high buildings
in the nights
december.

it was safe to say
january leave
a good impression
but luckily for us,
we haven’t seen it since.

december, please
give me your shoulder.

thirty-one/twelve came,
and we were waiting
for the ball to drop,  and
we were waiting for
the ***** to drop,  and
for boys to become men
and for someone to grab our hands
and for wrongs
to become rights  and
for the windows to be
opened,
for the fresh air to find us
amidst the suffocating smoke
and mistakes
that clogged up our lungs
so we couldn’t laugh how we used to.
three,

two,

one:
deafening screams,
fifty-eight people with
two hands
on two cheeks
with two eyes closed
and two lips
on two others,
and where were we?
the fifty-nine and sixty
were on the roof of the
apartment building,
staring at the stars,
wondering which one
was going
to die next.

you and I,
we were like bin bags
overflowing with waste
in the kitchen
with broken glass.


our material was stretching
so it was thin and grew
clearer with the more
waste it took
and just like that,
one/twelve was here.

so I put my two hands
on your two shoulders
with my two eyes  
wide open
and shook you
until your eyes rolled back
and your hair was a mess
and your ears were burning;

and we were waiting for
things to make sense, and
we were still waiting  
for the ***** to drop and  
for men to grow up, and
for someone to grab our hands,
for those wrongs
to feel right
for the door to be closed
and for the fireplace to burn
our troubles away
so we could laugh like we used to.

by twenty-three/four,
we had made
our mistakes into those  
falling  
stars instead of  
ourselves,
and our
memories part of the  
full moonlight,
and on the  
thirty-first of each month,  
we’d remember  
the times where  

we were like  
water filled balloons,
bin bags, overflowing
with waste
and emotional baggage,
dropping,
from high buildings
in the nights of december.
Antino Art Aug 2018
maybe the buildings are hollow,
occupied only in facade on the first floor of storefronts

maybe this whole town is a hologram
of neon against puddles
on the pavement.

maybe the citizens are ghosts
floating by
in circles, or squares of city blocks,
around a routine,
or droning through on electric scooters
as if on muted theme park rides
to the next sensory diversion;
to the nearest gastronomical pleasure;
toward the weekend and its next party
celebrating the loss of time,
I see their tired faces

staring out from the glass
of coffeeshop windows
on every block.
I see their piles of beer cans
beside the trash chute.
I hear them singing
on *****-cruises to nowhere

What part of this cycle
that turns days into dust
moves us closer to heaven?

What feast from what new restaurant downtown
will feed our souls?

From which lonely night do we finally emerge
beside the one
whose presence fills
these hollow buildings
to the top-most floors?

Which of the empty lots
between us do we fill
with a conversation
about how this is all a dream,
or how we'll keep each other awake
on a bench
beneath a street lamp before dawn
waiting for the first bus to take us home.
Adele Aug 2018
I see beauty in palm-
sized tomatoes growing afloat in Inle
the dusky Lake
in Myanmar, I see it
in rough hands
of the one legged man
silhouetted just like his perilous
wooden boat against the slow setting
sun. I hear thin echoes
of beauty
hundred years
of ruins, temples, stupas standing
with pride, the culture of longyi, worn
with voluminous delight

I took the train that goes
on a loop
saw  buildings, the market, the houses,  plantations
a city  a country covered
by a dark cloud that has yet to
acknowledge a genocide
the cries

afterwards a hi
a ‘mingalaba’ a Burmese
lady with a white cream on face which is made from ground bark called ‘thanaka’ she comes to sit
by the Dyamayanggi Temple
afterwards the scorching sun filled flakes the paste
a basket full of snack, she offers
a smile

The mirth in chasing sunset in the land of thousand pagodas. A mystical climb a striking landscape. I breathe
feel and wish to stay
longer. Soak myself in the twilight of moment. In a fleeting time, of closing lids, I drown with the colors of the sky.
Sam Hawkins May 2013
Buildings for the most part are boxes square.
But Pentecost circles and spirals,
they turn and burn wild.

Of those who would tame
and make comprehensible any fire--
apt tongues have gone titch titch
and beautiful catch 'til words and music
and parlor diplomacies fortify
much which is untrue.

Fear has no finish, even in our dying.
The path is a cliff edge.

Let us turn, un-adult-like, and strip ourselves  
of civilized persuasions. Usher
Earth's children into primordial worlds.

Water shall love and receive us, as it always has.
The naked ground will speak up,
into our touching feet.

Listen to the tongues of the wind.
Unhinge the body, which is you.

Let all creation fly.
D Awanis Oct 2016
As for her,

She might has forgotten
where the home is in the world

For she's always everywhere—
in every countries she crossed
on every streets she wandered
at every motels she spent the night
above the sand and ocean breeze
below the tallest buildings and crowded bridges..

But you,

You make her feel like
the closest thing to feeling that again
Bre Marie Sep 2016
Oh why, oh why do we all have to die?

Accident's and suicide is it really all that better on the other side?

Car crashes and burning buildings, now we are all dead;

Jumping from not so safe buildings and playing with not so toy guns;

Chalk outlines and splatters on the walls.

My oh my, what has happened to us all?

I see my death before I die with my very own eyes.

I'm just so done with watching my death a thousand different times on rewind.

And ever night I scream inside and in these dreams my skin is bleeding and my face is pale.

The water's flowing and sirens are going.

I'm hanging there with rope tied around my throat.

And in these dreams I replay a thousand times in my mind I always end up dying.

In reality I'm only sitting there crying.

A wish to come true after I'm through with high school because a pact was made to save my life,

But now I've been slowly dying.
Antino Art Apr 2018
We wear this city on our feet
Planting our roots with each step
Our shadows

cast shapes of ancient oak trees stretching out over Nash Square at daybreak
We grow here

with the spirit of buildings past,
present and rising like a staircase to heaven in the distance,
the plumes of white smoke from their rooftops as burnt offerings for incense,
spires for steeples,
the bundled masses of people moving beneath as the calloused soles
of our feet pounding the pavement,
Our congregation

seated in reverant silence on the R-Line hissing to a stop
Their hushed prayers filing out from within to bring the reclaimed sidewalks of Fayetville Street back to life to join this pilgramage
They march

downtown toward Capitol
holding signs for disarmament
They bar-hop through Glenwood toasting to deliverance
They sprint toward their cars on work week mornings in a blur of faces that become us,
Rush at all hours through our veins
Cross our hearts and keep us breathing
On the shoulders of this giant collective, we hold our heads high

to see that this is home now.
We cross into the unfamiliar
at the walk signal's cue,
breaking new ground, gazes meeting one another
as their counter-culture
coffee kicks in
to add this defiant bounce to each step
this rhythm to hop over puddles as they appear

We don't mind the way rain lands here
and its baptismal effect
We like how its capable of reinventing itself mid-fall into weightless snowflakes, then taking flight
We walk without umbrellas to see it

wearing the greyest pieces of their winter sky the way it caps the peaks of Mount PNC, BB&T and Wells Fargo like hoodies over our heads
We assume monk-like appearances
in robes color-coded by season- from blue collar sweaters to cold hard sweat
We'll wear their city until we're worn out and wet, mumbling last-mimute prayers for our salvation under our breath
We'll wear their dreams

at night, the moment the streetlights flicker on beneath wired telephone poles carrying conversations about each one as far south as Florida, fears unspoken, made visible
on iron park benches too cold to sit on at this hour
We'll keep walking

and wear this city like backpacks over our shoulders

under the shadow of their heavens,
the skyline
a glowing testament
of every step taken
toward someplace higher.
I.
And my hair became too much

It overtook the walls
made its way into the office on the sixth floor
and then hung
like a dripping willow’s branches
over the desks

By the time they thought to find me
I’d already been wrapped up in a cocoon of brown hair  
indistinguishable from the walls
that was now
also covered in the thick strands of undulated hair

II.
everything and everyone became consumed.


III.
In hairy chrysalis, the scissors uselessly
hung on some poor frantic pair of hands
forced into pupa

IV.
It was on the third day that the streets surrounding the corporate buildings were once again
populated with people, that a young woman in heels swore she heard a
faint choral singing coming from the 5th or 6th floor of a dreary grey building.


V.
everything cocooned
everyone consumed
all in pupa

VI.
During metamorphosis, a caterpillar digests itself leaving only behind imaginal discs
that shape it’s adult body.  

everything becomes consumed.
Nat Lipstadt Sep 2013
The poem was inspired by a particular photo of the WT C, and after that by my first visit to the 9/11 Memorial.  On the day of 9/11, I was working about a diagonal mile away, and from our windows, we could see people jumping to their death.

Open sky annulled
to bordered lines of
uptown edges,
worldview momentarily
forcibly redefined by
memories of buildings and sadder days,
recollections of pillars of biblical smoke rising

A photograph
makes me look up,
and sit down historically,
need to catch a breath,
to rest mentally,
upon a storied small bridge's steps,
that I well recall,
a disappeared street stoop.
all were rubble then and once
upon that day.

Wear, tear, and older eyes distill perspective,
but the hardy heart is hardly stilled
by the recognizable gray upon
bon vivant gray reflective surfaces of
memories of buildings and sadder days

So today, on a reborn street,
I rest upon reconstituted speckled curbstone,
the city's lowered down ledges,
the city's lowered down-town boundaries,
constantly redrawn, but
nonetheless, always rebuilt from their own
regenerated stony compost,
and the NY passersby doesn't even notice
a man, head in hands,
silently weeping, thinking that:

We throw away so much we should have kept.
We keep so much we should have thrown away.

Lose keepsakes, but keep our mysterious sadnesses
locked away in compartments that open only to
benedictions uttered in ancient tongues.

Make your own list,
be your own curator,
catalogue visions of sophomoric triumphs,
museum mile pile
those early poetic drafts,
be unafraid of memories
raw and ungentrified,
overlaid, buried underneath
postmortem of dust-piles of senior critiques

Finally went downtown to see
where the blessed water falls
into catacomb pits that once
were the foundations
of buildings that ruled the cityscape,
downtown anchors
for a modern city that exists
only because it was built on
million year old granite bedrock

Stone monuments are stolid, discrete.
Memories are of grayed, frayed edge consistency.
Negatives resurrected that survive digitally,
all blend synthetically, layer upon layer,
essence distilled in a single,
black and white photograph
that serves to
disturb complacency,  
awaken stilled pain,
reflections suppressed,
are restored
Written August 2013
Jess Balingit Apr 2014
In a city full of tall buildings and unspeakable views,
breathtaking unknowns and unfamiliar faces,
there are those sitting on window sills
chugging bottles of brew,
leaving cigarette traces

She spends her days in a haze,
sharing little laughs that make her ribs ache,
all in attempt to erase you
It's only then she sees,
an imprint on the
soul is the kind of
stain that can't be
scrubbed
Lewis Hyden Nov 2018
Over on the crescent wing
The bitter gales bring waves of rain:
Listen. Frozen windows sing.
Enraptured by the searing pain
Like pestilence in hurricane.
Buildings rise up to the halls
Impenetrable planet-bane
As summer lost, and spring withal.

Then the writhing storm-clouds bring
A storm of ice and wind again:
The sun rears up, but sets during.
And past the steel-laden plane
Silver orbs first wax, then wane
Then plaster to the mighty wall
Midnight buses, lane-by-lane,
Of nature not, but city fool.

Ascended like a spiteful King
The whispers rise, then sink in shame
No sound is here, no, not a thing.
Soaking in like liquor-stains
The buildings survey their domain
Not city-life, nor life at all;
They wander in the pouring rain
Where love is lost beneath the sprawl.

Tears and laughter, much the same
All are whispers, doomed to fall.
Dystopia without a name:
Not so distant after all.
A poem about the modern age.
#9 in the Distant Dystopia anthology.

© Lewis Hyden, 2018
athena Nov 2016
you were there on his last night
and was there on the night
we stumbled upon
an unfamiliar house
the creatures were making
a peculiar sound
it was the strange place we inhabited
for as long as we could be brave

you were with me when i lost a limb
you saw grief and tropical storms
right through my eyes
you heard words come out
of my mouth, they were all
in past tense and shaky

the best four years a teenager could have
i have spent them with you
i gave you my trust, my blood
and our promises
you met the 3am version of myself
which i believed that is ours
only to keep

i could not fathom the grief
of losing a limb
nor the grief
of seeing our strange house
collapse right in front of me
but the concrete was made of trust

you contended that you were here
to extend succor, immediate aid
to a grieving soul, to your friend
you came in crowds extending
sympathy as how i've seen it
little did i know that succor
meant pulling the trigger

when the tectonic plates
and the seismic waves
bends the buildings
and crumbles to the ground

when the tropical storm
named after me
pull the tress from its roots
floods the households
and all the different routes

or when your 3am uncertainties
scare you, and you would howl
and howl and howl
but who will you run to?
Lewis Hyden Nov 2018
Frigid buildings as those
That scrape the sky, climbing.
In a place that no-one knows,
Distant bells are chiming

To the shots and screaming,
"Stop resisting!" A rise
In terror betraying
The brittle city's brittle lies.

And for a time we hoped that they
Would never know our quiet rage,
And from the melting lights, we pray
For the silent, now upstaged.
A poem about Utopian life.
#20 in the Distant Dystopia anthology.

© Lewis Hyden, 2018
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
chichee Feb 5
I once wrote an essay about falling in love as
Biology’s grandest trick
The truth is I've always wanted to meet someone I'd fling myself off buildings for.

I just didn't think I could survive the crash landing.
Bit generic, trying to post more often but uni's finally kicking in.
Aseh Sep 2018
I was never looking into you
I was only pouring an image of myself onto your canvas
Of course I didn’t know
it was me looking into me
this was the mirage of my desire
always in the shape of a question mark
and you
a sweeping mystery
oozing something toeing the peculiar line between *** and titanium (cold, edgy, sharp - trembling
between pain and principle
like blazer and tie
or more like halfway-unbuttoned-shirt-and-slacks on-with-no-tie
(it was like you were making an effort!))

It was ***
but it also wasn’t ***
(I am empty
I am full)

I keep building up and up and up
all these images in my Mind
(which never shuts up)
(a never-ending narrative
She spins and spins and succumbs
only in those rare and passing circumstances)
constructing people like buildings
only the scaffolding is imaginary and when
the architecture folds in on itself
soulless
and my beloved figurines come toppling down on me
why do I still get so surprised
so stung
so lonely in that
hollow and distant way
(like your Mind is echoing
in on
Itself)?

My Mind is like quicksand
devouring streams of memory with ease
forever unsatisfied and craving more of the same
sharp edges and all
praying for a satiation in some distant future
She knows will never come

Only here
in this tiny universe
can I spell out anything resembling rationality
from the mess and junk and tangled tendrils of my Mind
Only here
can I extract bits and pieces of thoughts
and try to puzzle them together
until they make sense
until I can separate “Me” from “Reality"

And what doesn’t make sense
what I need to understand
is why I feel so beset
with this heavy magnetism that
overpowers me to the point of
paralysis
(with little to no room for breathing)
and why it was you
who pushed me into this feeling
and you
who is still pulling me along
far past the threshold of my resistance
and I am done
and it stings
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