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L B Jun 2018
The air suffused
with warm sweat
traced in humors  
blood-stuffed vapor
at body temp
leaking, aching
engorged clouds
drop
lop
lap at back, my shoulders, neck
No wind, no thunder
drives them, harsh
Just sopped
they plop into cotton creases  
Pumped
out
into love's still hungry
art
– eries

Cover deck chairs
Reel in the line

Clothes stick to skin and wanting in
so filled and touching
everywhere
ever-so saturated

I want it sated

I want it raining
ju Apr 2015
Mum had been gone a couple of months, six I think… (An ordinary day. Feeling hollow but doing OK) …when I realized I could get rid of the sofa.

I thought it was ****. She thought it was a bargain. A sofa’s not a keepsake and it was certainly no heirloom. I’d not inflict it on my kids. I got rid.

If I could’ve had her back then? I would’ve done. Even if it meant keeping the sofa.

Redecorated. Bought a new telly. Spent frivolous amounts of cash on scatter cushions. She disliked scatter cushions. I thought they were cosy.

My little boy drew on one of the cushions. On purpose. I was about to smack the back of his legs… (Mum would have. She smacked me when I was little) … but I stopped.

I never wanted to. I had known all along, somehow forgotten.

If I could’ve had her back then? I would’ve done. But she would not smack my children.

Mum had been gone a year… (Planting bulbs. Feeling conspicuous carrying a shovel ‘round the churchyard) …and I missed her .

It was as hot as the day she died. There was no breeze up on that hill. No cloud. Beautiful views stretched right out to the sea.

My little boy had grown. He helped carry water and dig holes. My baby was learning to walk. She wobbled on uneven turf between the headstones. I wanted Mum to see.

If I could’ve had her back then? I would’ve done. No question.


Mum had been gone three years… (Bulbs were doing OK. There was nothing left to plant that rabbits wouldn't nibble) …and I realized it was time to move on.

I kept the ghosts quiet while agents showed people round. The house sold. We moved away. A warm, terraced place in a small town by the sea. Dad died.

Mum has been gone eight years and I miss her.

Looking out from the Downs across cliff-top and sea, the churchyard seems nothing more than a soft-grey fleck on the green edge of town.

If I could bring her back now? Everything’s changed.

Ghosts exist. They sit in empty chairs and speak kettle-whistle. Wishing us well.
As a kid
I jumped on beds,
Ran across chairs,
And crawled under tables.

I explored jungles,
Danced with princes,
And fought in battles.

I hid in closets
And the occasional fridge.
Even under cars.

I jumped off monkey bars,
Twirled around light poles,
And chased after birds.

I raced the wind,
Climbed trees,
And gathered candy.

And now
I walk through fields,
Go around fences,
And gather berries.

I trek through puddles,
Turn around in chairs,
And chase down a cup of tea.

I hide behind books
And under covers.
Often behind a desk.

I explore archives,
Dance in clubs,
And fight for more time.

I jump on trains,
Walk down the street,
And crawl through stores.

And still today,
I feel like a kid.
Kara Jean Apr 2016
Spinning chairs, crashing
Dollars bills, in a G-string
Face hammering,
by sweaty sticky ***** cheeks
Plastic suitcases, held tightly
Chug your drink it's time to leave
Walk cautiously, drink powefully
Ting, ting, goes the machine
She winked at her, she pinched back
He said let's go
Their room opening
Laying, the mysterious women on the bed
He grabbed her hips
His wife watched, caressing her ****
Door goes cold
Sun shining brightly
Eyes being punctured into gaping holes
Cheesy over done smile, stepping into the livingroom floor
Perfect outstanding family
Morally hidden, detrimental corrupting
Their professional suits, look so clean
Appearance is everything
It was a bright spring day out by the pool
We’d gathered together amidst lawn chairs
To watch

A somewhat portly
Man centered in the water
Swirling like Esther
Incanting
We sipped our ****** wine and smiled cautiously but amused no less.

From the far northern edges came a little
Light haired boy dressed like an angel
Or perhaps the son
Of Poseidon
I think the whole point of this had something to do with Poseidon
Or some other god of the sea
That remained unclear for
Me at least

Needless to say, this was a pool
A little pool with green astroturf surrounding
Piquant with chlorine
Not churning and grey.
Again, to the north stood the child
His son no doubt
Who must have been told simply and repeatedly
Just go to Daddy in the pool
Stand by the side
And he will pick you up
Hold onto your trident
Ok!?

But upon making his move to
Daddy
the child
Misstepped
Stumbled
Fell
And in so doing began to wail
Leaving his otherwise stoic father
Perplexed and annoyed
Astonished
His eyes squinting out the sun
His performance ending before it ever began

Three women rushed to the little wails
The mother scooped her child into her arms
Cradling the tears to her *******
Her attendants ran for vanilla ice cream
The boy now sated
Was resplendent in calm satisfaction

Father left the pool
Make-up running down his wet face
The child ate his ice cream from the bowl
steadfast in his concentration
and seeming innocence
The mother held her little man
The man in charge
We stood up and left for more ****** wine
Perhaps the Pinot.
Skaidrum Jun 2016
...
Spare me, if you would

It's a foreign land but a familiar street,
red broken teeth and alabaster snow;
I remember it fondly.

Sober winter and blue cloth;
I still see us there.
I'm almost certain, that
St. Petersburg questioned our youth.
just a little closer
"Dance with me, Kirusha?"
Always

All those years ago,
and we still drink up this disease.
The sour love of iron and wine
with shots of homesickness.
Russian rouge
American Dream
"Why did you have to leave?"

I ache to recall it,
because those gates still leak with cold.
This value withers in the white noise;
"Don't you ******* dare say that his death was just an experiment."
'You failure'

I sought it,
the ribbons of old confidence
while the stars looked on from their chairs.
I never found what I was looking for.

Go ahead and criticize;
the way we baptized my betrayal.
Knot up all the love you wasted
and send it overseas.

All that matters to me, Romichka
is that Death paid no mind to you.

Ruby apples at my doorstep
flowers that need blood instead of water.
A sense of hunger in this forsaken city
does not comfort me.

I just suppose
I've been thinkin' too much
And the bitterness let itself in again.

So when you find the time,
Write whatever's left of me in the fire;
along with all the other things.

...
I want to see you again
© Copywrite Skaidrum
Laura Jane Mar 2015
The body remembers, though it has been
four years since the summer you shattered your
knee but still limped out across the continent
to Boston to see him you idiot and
this is the fourth summer you've placed between
yourself and the last pin and the last *****
your body remembers, though in the
torturous lengthening of fused and toughened tissues
the bad leg is finally catching up,
and the scar with its ten numb inches of
puckered track has come to fade bone white
against your skin
but it’s still stored somewhere
in your sockets or cells and when you fall off your bike you still cry
Though you’re not really hurt your body remembers
So that when you’re confronted with their engagement photo
(you didn’t even know he was seeing anyone)
the darkened garden at the Plymouth Plantation
begins to bloom up around you before you can stop it
like a seizure or a vision, and you’re there again
trespassing after him through shadowy pines
and night-damp atlantic air
to where the white chairs encircle the altar.
everly Nov 5
we loop together
like ivy over broken down cars
full circle once again
we fall out
miss each other and
we sync back into
infatuation
it’s lovely
vain and
impermanent
like the planet
and us within it

man’s garden
of garbage
valueless lottery tickets and
soiled coffee cups
watered with soda and fragments of
Modelo bottle glass shards
we prop up our feet on lawn chairs
and watch it grow
Amela Kovacevic Jun 2018
We played musical chairs in forests,
learned of limbo and of wine,
discovered the appeal of cigarette upon cigarette,
sang songs of melancholic rhyme,
crept through night’s entirety
simply to linger through sun’s rise,
and realizing that our lives
purportedly go on,

 

parted.
Marla Feb 20
Ignition!

We launch
Into the stratosphere,
Ascending out of the abyss
Strapped into wooden chairs,
Death creeps its way into my heart.

Pretending nothing is amiss
As we realize something's there;
Winds blowing us a hearty billow.

The cabin is entered;
Our blood soon chilled.
We could not predict
Such a hearty thrill.

W
H
O
M
S
T

Are you?
Houston, we have lift-off!
in complete melodies
the frequencies i hear
can not be contained by anything
love is drifting through the hills
and you are home to its trills
she dreams of light, the fire bright
and full of crystal skulls and eyeballs
dozens of monuments are built
just to mark the moments
when we could have said i'm sorry
merge with the mountains
find the source of fountains
shine the diamond compass
if that's what you are really here for

broken dams are our business
feed the swans their luminescent lunch-boxes
duck for cover, its a wonder that we are all together here
that's clearly redundant
the tendency to dream
is the most important human faculty
its a tragedy that the lack of nuclear power
showers the atomic world in rainbows
as forlorn teenagers in the ice-age of America
govern our equipment from their parent's basements
and carouse with comfort upon chairs, cushions and couches

a million times the victory
a million miles of rope to weave
a million are the paths to god
and a million more are the souls
who've learned to cope with tragedy

i come cherishing and bearing gifts
figures of speech are my playthings
i am furniture remodeled daily
and intuitively placed around your home
the finer things in life are free
so see me there upon your television set
i am electromagnetic static
within the black and white of advertisements
i am figures of forgotten speech
so record the unwatched programs
in your mind’s virtual memory
the hard drive of work and play
creates hundreds of new retirees each day
hundreds of haunted expatriates
knuckle-headed people
that couldn't tread lightly
even if they wanted to
so will you please untie me
and remove these binds and chains
it's time to free the lover from the psyche
for that is all she wrote

i am a silent p
i am a violet apogee
i am a cosmic minority
i am a message in your tea leaves

but if you stand too long in my shoes
you’ll likely drown in solitude
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
William A Poppen Mar 2018
Tonight is a cluster of
Recognitions, remembrances
Mostly reminiscence
Which sift in the breeze
Gusting beneath the temporary
Tarpaulin tent

Backs are slapped
Arms embraced
Smiles predominate
As shiny faces and gleaming  foreheads
Illuminated by flashing cameras
Twinkle like fireflies displaying
In a muggy June meadow

Photos pulled from stained
Billfolds move from hand to hand
Displaying glossies of babies, graduations
Weddings and “The big catch”

Relatives, friends and officials
Find their place on folded metal chairs
For a wedding ceremony

Tonight has become a gathering
Marriage planned for tonight
ceara Jan 2017
When you are gone
I will miss you
I will miss your difficulties and the issues that surround you
Your troubled past,
will be a vacant gap,
no longer something to troubleshoot

I will miss counting wine bottles
in your car, behind doors, in corners,
under chairs,
All of this, I will miss

I will miss the size of you
Your small blond head, almost,
but never fully
leaning on my chest, I will miss,
your tentativeness

I will miss your slurred words and glazed eyes and the sight of you seeking respite, in liquids,
gold and white
Your hands shaking, and my heart breaking
Yes, all of this, all I had of you
I will miss
Lendon Partain Mar 2016
I'm dissecting my heart today
I'm going to a hotel room
No one will follow me
The bathtub is full

Walk to the convenience store
Bruised ankles.
Bad night of skating
Hotel room empty

Filled again by my draping body
Stupor
Falling over chairs
I hang my head on the bed

Falling deep into gravity
The center of everything
The heart
Tearing

Councilling the loss
Creeping in the fenestrae
Crashing into the bricks
That make up my middle

The middle of everything
Guilt
Agony of ones self


A hate that is no ones but your own fault
A person you can't escape
Until finally the grey matter or all the blood runs away from you
Because it hates you so much

You hate you so much
You hate you so much

The liquor stores distance is the only thing keeping you from it
So ****** that you can't even bring yourself out of the hotel bathroom
Or out of the tiles
The white tiles
The grout crimson
Filled up.
Nigel Finn Aug 2018
Is not equivalent to a broken leg.
Who came up with that analogy?
Someone who hasn't experienced either
Seems the only probability.

It's far more akin to a giant spasm,
Contorting your leg against your will,
And stopping it seems highly unatural,
And each doctor prescribes different pills.

Nobody has fluctuating broken legs,
Or fractured limbs that cause them to count
The precise number of steps they take,
And despair if it's the wrong amount,

Or healing bones that turn reality
Into hallucinatory nightmares,
Or make you stay awake all week,
And start berating chairs.

But the worst of that analogy
(It drives me quite insane!),
Is that broken legs are quick to heal,
And cause a lot less pain.
Another rough one- will I ever finish it? Who knows!
Vierra Aug 2016
I sit here quietly enraged same like the calm front that has hit on the western range of my property. I am a story teller who has no stories and a ear filled with melody for the summer rains. The greens will need trimming and sculpting soon. The pigeons will arrive to the corners of the property to breed and propagate the flock. Sometimes it's full of **** and sometimes it's not. Mostly after the squall procedes over from the lake is the promanant time of the winter cleaning over that portion of the foothills.

Now here where I live, in the adequate and humble living quarters of mine, there is voices that travel on wind breezes that wander through my jealousies. They bring the news like airmail every so often. But mostly news of bills collectors spinning in their office chairs furiously at the amount of **** that is nessecary for this part time profession.

Sometimes during the night my eyes go bad and I often wonder when they will get suitable for work again. I've been slacking a bit on the work and more on the suitability of my mind for processes like building a fireplace. You know, the theory of it all.

Hmmm....
Just a small prose of a even smaller man.
Nat Lipstadt Oct 2017
once upon a wrote


here and there, in fables and tales,
some in no guile and others
in chancier disguises,
some sine-known and some sign-unknown,
some dead in stillbirth,
some penned these words,
some a few decades old,
some of but a moment ago eyelash distant,
making me think that
someday I will scribe,
cobble some truths and
some falsehoods into one
leaping heaping melting scoop,
letting you decide,
which for better,
which for worse...


<•>

"No matter that plain words
are my ordinary tools,
With them I shall scribe the small,
Cherish the little, grab the middle,
Simplicity my golden rule,
Write they say,
about what you know best,
Surely in the diurnal motions,
The arc of daily commotion,
Do we not all excel?"

<•>

the reason we say so oft,
in whispers emboldened,

I love you

to our children
is not the utility of
its summarizing brevity

no, no.
it is because
the eloquence of simplicity
supersedes any other poem
any of us could ever write...

<•>

is this craft that chose you,
not defined by machine millimeters,
precision absolute,
curvatures, so eye-pleasing,
they demonstrate no tolerance
for tolerance of the ordinary?

the skill of words, too, cut so fine,
find the  extraordinary within,
refine, refine, refine,
shave away the trite,
the reused,
discard the instant recognition,
unusable

<•>

There are natural toxins in us all,
if you wish to understand the
whys, the reasons,
of the nearness of taking/giving away
what soully belongs to you,
do your own sums,
admit your own truths,
query not the lives of others,
approach the mirror...

<•>

The Truth Burden
is the accursed need obligatory,
the sacred sanctity requisitioned,
when the whenever,
chooses to drop in and upflag the mailbox,
an uninvited invitation,
announcing with precise bluntness,
that precisely now,
is the tool crafted moment
and you fool,
the selected tool

you must render unto Ceaser,
by your own hand,
render your own rendering,
do your own undoing,
go forth and in haste,
will thyself into the cauldron of the
Great Mystery of Creation

you cannot lie in poetry

<•>

come, sit for awhile, in poet's nook,
soft pillows for our hard Adirondack chairs,
situe hard by the bay, if too hot, we'll slow
drift to the sun room of
lace curtains and suicide poems,
still we'll observe the water, the rabbits, the cacophony low,
listening to all the noisier, nosier
creatures asking themselves,
and the trees and leaves,
where did all those poets come from?

<•>

to the interior delve,
via brush or limb,
pen or music,
the exposition, the exploration,
the reconstruction of composing
one's self, creation and destruction
of your own myths

movement of arms and legs,
sparseness of simplicity,
subsidiaries of centricity,
tributaries of complexity

<•>

how cold are the carpenter's hands,
the weather, but an added obstacle,
this heat, makes dying different difficult,
the wood bearing cross requires additional nails
and flesh, for the extra load he's bearing,
when it snows blood in Jerusalem

the whole world can transition
when one man dies and another is risen,
where oh where lies then, the juxtaposition?

there is none, for man is man,
his divine spark, embedded,
to his maker's mark, welded and wedded,
neither snow or sun,
can ever extinguish


<•>

now I ken better distance 'tween
artist and art,
I, a workingman's
daily dallying in simplistic machine craft,
my works deservedly lost in
the water-falling
of the endless also rans

non-nebulous distances.between skies of
Oregon country blue and
the worldy worn asphalt grayed words of
a graying man aging,
then let clarity speak, in plainest harmony,
know my deference’s soars to the high above,
one of us at birth, god gifted,
was not I,
it ain't me babe, but
one of us, his tongue,
like Moses-stung
with a hot coal
of language's divinity


<•>
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