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hand slaps shoulder knee rhythmically that’s called hamming the bone sitting on a street curb singing making up lyrics i got a transitor sister loves cossack named jake he rides Cherokee chopper all he’s ever known is hate he’s going down underground where a man can be a man wrestle alligators live off the land ebb flow i don’t know racing chasing hair-pin turning at 150 miles per hour downshift to 3rd spread the word sweet sour naked flower touching skin deep within defies all sin with a grin speed speed speed all i need i’m getting off coming on you tawny scrawny bow-legged pigeon-toed knock-kneed Don Juan Ponce de Leon Aly Khan all wrapped up into one going to have ******* good time good time tonight i feel like an orphan mom and dad seem so far away tonight i feel like an orphan you make me feel this way hand slaps shoulder knee rhythmically hand bone hand bone

Odyseuss drifts job to job construction worker office assistant waiter whatever he does not understand how road to recognition works continues showing portfolio to art dealers but they react indifferently he does not know how to attain notice in art world begins to suspect there is no god watching over souls instead he imagines infinite force juggling light darkness creation destruction love hate Mom and Dad insist he can earn respectable income if only he will learn commodity futures like cousin Chris Mom says you can work down at the exchange and paint on the side a part of Odysseus wants desperately to please his parents he considers perhaps Mom is right for the time being maybe build up nest egg it seems like sensible plan he wonders why Dad and Mom never speak about money how to save manage they treat the subject as forbidden topic Odysseus has no idea what Dad or Mom earn or investment strategies Odysseus is about to make serious mistake the decision to get job working at commodity exchange needs deeper examination why is he giving in to his parents what attracts him to commodities trading is it Chris’s achievement and the money? does Odysseus honestly see himself as a winning trader or does it simply look like big party with lots of rich men pretty young girls is that where he wants to be why is he giving up on his dream to be a great artist does it seem too impossible to reach who makes him think that? is he going to give up on his true self? he halfheartedly follows his parent’s advice begins working as runner at Chicago Mercantile Exchange several friends including Calexpress disloyalty for entering straight world commodity markets are not exactly straight in 1978 clearing firms pay adequately hours are 8 AM to 2 PM over course of next 6 months Odysseus runs orders out to various trading pits cousin Chris rarely acknowledges Odysseus maybe Chris feels need to protect his image of success perhaps in front of his business associates Chris is embarrassed by Odysseus’s menial rank and goof-off attitude maybe Chris senses what a terrible mistake Odysseus has made

Chicago suffers harsh winter in February Roman Polanski skips bail in California flees to France in April President Carter postpones production of neutron bomb which kills people with radiation leaving buildings intact in October Yankees win World Series defeating Dodgers in November Jim Jones leads mass-****** suicide killing 918 people in Jonestown Guyana in December in San Francisco Dianne Feinstein succeeds murdered Mayor George Moscone in Chicago John Wayne Gacy is arrested

darkness descends upon Odysseus his heart is not into commodity business more accurately he hates it he loathes battleship gray color of greed envy he resents prevailing overcast of misogyny he meets many pretty girls yet most of them are only interested in catching a trader it is rumored numerous high rolling traders hire young girls for sole purpose of morning ******* remainder of day girls are free to mingle run trivial errands commodity traders typically trash females it is primitive hierarchy Odysseus bounces from one clearing firm to another then moves to Chicago Options Exchange then Chicago Board of Trade on foyer wall just outside trading floor hangs bronze plaque commemorating all men who served in World War 2 Uncle Karl’s name is on that plaque Daddy Pat bought his son seat hoping to set him up after war Uncle Karl’s new wife wanted to break away from Chicago persuaded him to sell seat move to California Uncle Karl bought car wash outside Los Angeles with Daddy Pat’s support Mom and Dad encourage assure Odysseus commodities business is right choice they promise to buy him full seat on exchange if he continues to learn markets they feel certain he can be saved from his artistic notions the markets are soaring in profits cousin Chris is riding waves a number of Chris’s friends are sons of parents who belong to same clubs dine at same restaurants as Mom and Dad Odysseus is not alpha-male like Chris Odysseus is a dreamer painter poet writer explorer experimenter unlike Chris who has connections Odysseus starts out as runner then gets job holding deck for yuppie brokers in Treasury Dollar trading pit Odysseus holds buy orders between index and middle fingers sell orders in last 2 fingers arranged by time stamp price size in other hand holds nervous pencil he stands step below boss in circular pit in room size of football field full of raised pits everything is traded cattle hogs pork bellies all currencies gold numbers flash change instantaneously in columns on three high walls fourth wall is glass with seats behind for spectators thousands of people rush around delivering orders on telephones flashing hand signals shouting offers quantities every moment every day calls come in frantically from all around world space is organized chaos sometimes not so organized fortunes switch hands in nano-seconds it is global fiscal battleground rallies to up side or breaks to down side send room into hollering pushing shoving hysteria central banks financial institutions kingpin mobsters with political clout daring entrepreneurs old thieves suburban rich kids beautiful people pretty young females abound big guns **** in same air stand next to low-ranking runners everyone flirts sweats sneezes knows inside they are each expendable Odysseus is spellbound by sheer force magnitude he feels immaterial only grip is his success with girls it is not conscious talent he grins girls grin back Chris’s trader friends recognize Odysseus’s ability they push him to introduce girls to them it is way for Odysseus to level playing field he has no money or high opinion of himself he simply knows how to hook up with girls

1979 January Steelers defeat Cowboys at Super Bowl Brenda Ann Spencer kills 2 faculty wounds 8 students responds to incident “i don't like Mondays” in February Khomeini seizes power in Iran in March Voyager space-probe photographs Jupiter’s rings a nuclear power plant accident occurs at Three Mile Island Pennsylvania in May Margaret Thatcher is elected Prime Minister in England in Chicago American Airlines flight 191 crashes killing 273 people in November Iran hostage crisis begins 90 hostages 53 of whom are American in December Soviet Union invades Afghanistan 1980 in November Ronald Reagan defeats Jimmy Carter one year since Iran hostage crisis began

he meets good-looking younger girl named Monica on subway heading home from work he has seen her running orders on trading floor she is tall slender with long dark brown hair in ponytail pointed nose wide mouth innocent face she confides her estranged father is famous Chicago mobster Odysseus recognizes his name they talk about how much they dislike markets arrant disparity of wealth between traders and themselves Odysseus says i hate feeling of being so disposable worthless Monica replies yeah me too he tells her if i was a girl i’d ******* myself to several handsome generous traders Monica acknowledges that’s an interesting idea but who? how? which traders? do you know? he answers yeah i know exactly who and how Monica says if you’re serious i’m in i have a girlfriend named Larissa who might also be interested i’ll call Larissa tonight following day Monica approaches Odysseus at work agrees to meet at his place after markets close that afternoon Monica and Larissa show up eager to learn more about Odysseus’s scheme Larissa is petite built like a gymnast giggly light brown hair younger than Monica he lays it all out for them cousin Chris and his buddies the money ******* both girls are quite lovely he suggests they rehearse with him he will coach them on situations settings techniques girls consent for 4 weeks every afternoon they meet at Odysseus’s place get naked play out different scenarios he shows girls how to pose demure at first then display themselves skillfully fingers delicately pulling open ***** spreading wide apart buns working hidden muscles he directs each to take up numerous positions tasks techniques then has them switch places he teaches them timing starting slow gradually building up rhythms stirring into passionate frenzy having two mouths four hands creates novel sets of possibilities one girl attends his front while other excites his rear he positions them side-by-side so he can penetrate any of all four holes he stacks them one on top of the other many other variations after reaching ****** several times making sure to reciprocally satisfy their eager needs Odysseus dismisses girls until following day finally after month of practice Monica and Larissa feel confident proficient primed Odysseus arranges for girls to meet with 2 traders through Chris most traders have nicknames Twist who is hosting event is notoriously wild insatiable on opening night Odysseus behaves like concerned father Larissa and Monica each bring several dresses and pairs of shoes Odysseus helps them choose suggests Monica ease up on make-up he styles Larissa’s hair instructs Monica to call him when they arrive again when they leave he requests they return directly to his place Monica wears hair pulled back in French twist pearl earrings sleek little black dress black stiletto heels she stands several inches above Odysseus Larissa wears braided pigtails pink low-scooped leotard brown plaid wool kilt just above knees brown suede cowboy boots he kisses each on lips then pats their butts warns them to be careful mindful Monica winks Larissa giggles more than an hour passes as Odysseus sits wondering why he has not heard from girls suddenly reality hits he does not want to be commodities trader and certainly not a **** this is not how he wants to be known or remembered Odysseus wants to be a painter and writer Monica and Larissa are good sweet girls whom he has misguided he calls Twist’s place Twist answers Odysseus asks to speak with Monica when she comes to phone he questions are you all right Monica answers yes we’re fine we’re having a fantastic time why are you calling what’s wrong he explains you were suppose to call me when you arrived i began to worry i think maybe this whole arrangement is a bad idea i want you to call it off and come back home i don’t want either of you to become prostitutes i love you both and don’t want to be associated with dishonoring you Monica says it’s a little late to call it off but we’ll see you when we’re done kissy kiss bye Odys another hour passes then another he frets wondering what they are doing after 4 hours as he is about to call Twist’s house again doorbell rings Monica and Larissa both giggling beaming Odysseus can spot they have a coke buzz Monica announces you should be proud of us Odys we got each of them off 2 times we left them stone-numb and tapped out the girls open their purses each slaps 5 hundred dollar bills unto table Monica says this is your cut Odys we both got a thousand for ourselves he replies i can’t touch that money we need to sit down and talk Monica demands no talking Odys take off your clothes he insists i’m serious Monica i’m never going to send you out again Larissa claims there’s no turning back for me i had too much fun Monica  pleads come on Odys we’ll be good we promise now take off your clothes Twist and his buddy never attended to our needs i’m ***** as hell Larissa where’s that little bottle of dust Twisty handed you

Chicago Monday night December 8 1980 Cal and Odysseus sit at North End they're on 4th round feeling buzz the place is lively adorned with holiday decorations Cal says you’ve changed Odysseus questions what do you mean? how? Cal says the commodity markets and your cousin and his friends they’ve changed you when was the last time you painted Odys? are you dealing coke Odysseus looks Cal in the eyes answers they’re so ******* rich Cal you can’t believe it one drives a black Corvette Stingray another a ******* Delorean anything they want they buy girls cars clothes condos boats yeah i’m dealing coke to Chris’s friends it’s my only leverage remember the Columbian dude Armando we met at tittie bar? i score from him and keep it clean Chris’s buddies pay up for the quality i don’t remember my last painting maybe the black painting i never finished after breaking up with Reiko Lee a girl falls off bar stool crashing to floor at other end of bar Cal says Odys, you better play it careful you’re messing with the devil got any blow on you suddenly bar grows quiet someone turns up TV volume they watch overhead as news anchorman speaks slow solemn camera pans splattered puddle of blood pieces of broken glass on steps to Dakota Building Cal looks to Odysseus John Lennon has been murdered Cal waits for Odysseus to say something tear rolls down cheek Cal glances away stares down at floor they drink in silence
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
Sparrow Liver May 2014
1:  an economic good: as
a :  a product of agriculture or mining
b :  an article of commerce especially when delivered for shipment <commodities futures>
c :  a mass-produced unspecialized product <commodity chemicals> <commodity memory chips>

2 a :  something useful or valued <that valuable commodity patience>; also :  thing, entity
b :  convenience, advantage

3 obsolete :  quantity, lot

4:  a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors (as brand name) other than price

5:  one that is subject to ready exchange or exploitation within a market <stars as individuals and as commodities of the film industry — Film Quarterly>
Irate Watcher Sep 2014
salt stings soldiered eyes streaming
i am not crying —
just releasing a weekend of wine and Netflix,
a relapse i can't admit
when people ask what I did last weekend.
Muscles burning in the agony,
their capability
long squandered,
by lazy nights and wine.
Monkey mind zombied to flashes of LED light.
Docile strides to somewhere I have to be.
oh TV, you are so tempting to a binger like me.
I think about the last episode
when I should think about the road,
leading to my forgotten sanctuary,
where limbs stretch, teachers chant krishna
and rub students with essential oils.
But as I listen to the
sitar in shavasana,
interrupted
by iPhone rings,
teacher grasps the money
from the donation box greedily.
I feel slightly annoyed,
but mostly pity —
three students
thirty five dollars
for an hour.
But I think
this is what happens when
yoga becomes a
commodity.
Like TV — a fix,
not a spiritual experience.
So we'll pay the minimum,
or stream it illegally.
different needs.
Harry J Baxter Feb 2013
It's a hot commodity
yeah it's expensive
but it's worth it
so reach into those wallets
plastic only please
if you don't buy this
your kids won't fit in
they won't excel
this is just what's in right now
what's a little cash
when compared to being current
so keep on marching
left right left right
cows on a conveyor belt
about to be killed
shipped out and consumed
our brains
such a hot commodity
Dark n Beautiful Apr 2010
The ******.
They say that beauty is in the eyes of the
beholder, however the ******
is a gold mine.

Women do not even know
what their possess
many a nation have gone to war,
because of this ugly beauty,
the seven hundred wives of
King Solomon and his three
hundred concubines
a great example of what
the ugly beauty can do.

Infidelity is on the rise,
so many lies,
since the ****** is an embarassing subject
why men lie and killed for it,
For this remarkable commodity

A ****** is like a Van Gogh painting,
it gets lot of attention.
A weapon so powerful
It can break a man down to his lowest
it has a language of its own.
silly words like sup, sup, sup. during loving making
However, that was supposed to be the primary appeal
of a beer to men.

The ****** and a beer have so much in common
they both get their men all the time,
a smooth transportation,
in addition, the lamentation,
****** you are surely number one!
Men incredible dreams,
No matter how destructive or fulfilling,.

.
Dark@beautiful/or Darknlovely
s Oct 2017
I think it's been four hundred days
since that innocuous defining phase,
But that's if we were keeping count,
and if numbers meant a thing at all.

For isn't time just ornamental,
perhaps even incidental,
when the commodity is sentimental,
or like love, a hypothetical
fundamental ?

Same page?, I ask,
tying to gauge flipping thoughts;
As if I knew where
my book was marked.
But pages, I can dog-ear,
to hold onto a moment
that would otherwise disappear;

An excerpt that I can savour
many moons later,
when love turns to favour
and leaves
a bittersweet flavour.

It's today
I'm looking for,
among shuffling tenses
but the focal lenses
are blurring
And my words
are slurring
for I'm too close
to your near perfect nose,
to find a reason
for why we chose
this.

I'm afraid this poem has turned
into a rhythm & blue,
or maybe it's an untimely cue
to write that song about you and me -
One that's been due
for a month or three.

A nonsense rune
with an infectious tune;
in the four chord beat,
where the lyrics
unfailingly repeat.

A rhythmic monotony
of a romantic comedy -
a stanza about you,
and a chorus about me -
a few things kept true,
and some made up for story.

Something about
wine pink shirts
and warm maroon shawls,
with just a few words
about unsaved phone calls.
A yellow lamp here,
an airport kiss there.
a night spent in fear,
of doubting you'll be there.
A white wall washed
in cinematic glory;
Two kittens tossed in
to make trouble & ***.
And then a pre chorus
about card tricks and foreplay
and the time in the bus,
we talked about a good day.
A few bits borrowed
from the last rhyme I wrote
and that could be followed
by one even before;
For what could I say
that I haven't already proclaimed
in ten odd poems,
gushing with love, unashamed
Sweet Siren Song Aug 2014
Superhuman in this skin
Red-lipped smile sweetly
(but beware teeth beneath)

I'm Sweet Siren Song
And I won't be long left
within this mediocre maniverse

Pretty ****-portrait perfect
(But there's no staples lacerating this muffin top)
Withstand this cosmetic culture curse

Bedspread silky sodden sheets
Writhing within nightmare glare
silicon butterfly spiked beauty ages anyway
Go away,
I'm finished.

I MEAN IT!

Fucknuts
(I guess Fucknuts isn't an advertiseable commodity. What's with the cheap advertising links in my poetry!)
bedspread.
****...
ME Jul 2013
You see women, I see commodity
**** its *****
It's like Coca Cola
It''s a commodity and everybody likes it
I'm a **** ***** and you can **** it
Get on your knees!
Do I have cane in my car?
Answer me
Do I have a cane in my car?
Yes
Does it make me a ****?
...
It could
ronda renee' Feb 2014
Stereotypes are a   commodity
Stereotypically
My childhood should be filled with only happiness
Happiness because of my color
No struggle

Struggle should never have confronted me
Never should have shown me how to survive
Or how to better myself
Because me being me I realize

I realize the uneducated hide
Hide behind stereotypes the unconsciously enforce
Enforcing by proving the statistics and stereotypes
Statistics and stereotypes that have to have an origin

If you judge me by stereotypes
You will fail to realize
The stereotypes you fight to uphold
will never define me

I will succeed not because of my color
Or because of a stereotype
I will accomplish my goals
Only because I refuse to let others limit
The excellence I can achieve
By pushing stereotypes that hold hardly any truth onto me
WS Warner Jul 2014
Corpses proliferate in soaring violence; heirloom of franchise and eminence— perish in erosion.

Timid denizens of derision, cynicism in roaring silence — optimism’s paling vapor—commodity of Indecision, our halcyon days forgotten.

Chosen token of audacity; the onyx maladroit feigns, prevaricating beneath the Sacred canopy.

Etudes of apathy; attrition unlamented; streams of guile— quixotic squall conversely merge — veiled conceit, eloquent arrow of equivocation.

The policy of attenuation.

Treason’s vine obscured beneath the blind surf of consent.

© 2014 & 2016 W. S. Warner
In this age of 3D Entertainment
and surround sound speakers;
of high definition and films extra features,
electronic mail and internet dating.

Where tectonics fail yet can be shown on
paper graphs and charts and diagram art.

These decades of speed and cynicism.
Where digits reign as idols flop
from pedestals and into bars.
Where your wildest dreams lie not
in your heart but in your favourite shop.

In this land of greed and want
and discord of the highest scale.

Is it peace and virtue that won
you the right to work from home;
eating breakfast in bed, worrying
only if jokes are stale?

Is it fine that your success
has led others to fail?

In this game of snakes and ladders
who populates the pit?

Those who were unfortunate
enough to be born into it.
Tate Morgan Jul 2015
For just over two thousand years
we've held to the thoughts of the past
Followed teaching,  and the preaching
that professed faith to all whom asked

Dare we ever question that faith
we find ourselves mired in pain
Be-seeched by those, one might suppose
to be blessed or somehow ordained

Legislating morality
has never worked and never will
you can't force folk, under a yolk
of privileged who sit top a hill

Eating from the tree of knowledge
perhaps we found our sanity
We need be fair, man's self aware
one can't deny humanity

The religious right will survive
behind glass in a museum
An oddity, commodity
for all those who want to see them
You know I have given this much thought of late. The recent Supreme court decision on gay rights has split the country asunder. As for me I have a sister who is gay I simply want for her happiness. The government has no business in our bedrooms or our private life. We seek to marry those who bring our lives meaning. Follow your own path. It is not for others to impede the road upon which choose. This is not a question of morality it is a question of rights. By what right does any man have the ability to tell another who to love? love thy brother as thyself.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
george glass Jul 2016
dear girl,
i would like to apologize on behalf
of those that will never.
the world lied to you
since you were old enough
to balance a book
to listen, retain,
consume without question

i would like to apologize on behalf
of those that informed you
your value is calculated
by the sum of your parts
that you are worth the contrast of fat deposits
over the angles of fragile bones

i would like to apologize on behalf
of those pining characters they wrote you,
every soul with a haunting disposition
who was given the noble ambition
to invoke longing within those
that remain on the outside
of the glass

because the songs that were sung on the radio
cast you as the the inspiration
but when they painted you lips for love
they denied you the language of narration
and you lived your life thinking
you could invoke magic
if you were only willing
to wait your entire life
for someone else to conjure it

i am sorry
that we filled your head
with empty adjectives
to whisper in your ear
that you were nothing
unless validated by the eyes of strangers
seeing you as nothing more
than a commodity
for which to window shop
and consume

and when they abandoned their casual browsing
their wants transcended your right
to exist
and it was you
they chose to invade
to tear open
because after all,
you were man made
a nail scratching a rib
a void to fill up
with whatever poison they thought you’d look sexier
choking on

dear girl,
i would like to apologize on behalf
of the fact that you remain unnamed,
an improper noun
a caricature,
a statistic,
a silhouette on the back window
mouth a perfect oh
that will never know words

i am sorry that the second
you entered the world with two X’s
they would reduce you
to an exquisite tragedy,
place them over your eyes
and declare that the death of a beautiful woman
is the most poetic thing in the world

i would like to apologize
because this world was never
quite big enough to hold you
and we knew
and we saw
and we opened our mouths,
took a breath,
and we closed them
Christine Oct 2018
I don’t really like to play the victim,
But I'm being failed by this system
7 hours, a hostage to cinder block rooms
With nothing to do but let myself be groomed
Into someone's labor source  

If I don’t have money, I cannot live
But nobody seems to have a thought to give
To my Life being turned into a commodity
Something to be owned, taxed, a luxury  
That sometimes I’m not able to afford.

So much stock is put into democracy
But we don’t matter to bureaucracy
Unless we use the paychecks earned
From the Liberties we burned
To fill their empty promises

They call us ungrateful and lazy
For recognizing that this life is crazy
And resenting all the thought and time
Spent in the Pursuit of a rich man’s dime
Instead of our own Happiness
The gold that flows, through our elaborate veins,
The crop that is known, by many names,
The gift that alleviates, our daytime pains,
The commodity that plays, one too many games.

Our world is nothing, but a bottomless mine,
Simply waiting, for the wrath and plunder of humankind,  
Oh labourers please, wait your spot in line,
For it was not you that made, this incredible find.

You’re a fool to think, the system needs a redesign,
For your fate and this chain, are forever intertwined.
Stay in your corner, as they wine and dine,
For it is you not them, contained by this chain’s bind.  

Posing as a gift, that elevates their daily grind,
The brown gold is no longer, part of your bloodline,
It was their chains after all, that made this incredible find,
For it now flows away, from the Plateau’s skyline.
  
You continue to hope, for these chains to be redefined,
But to imagine you even exist to them, is asinine,
Yet you believe a consumer movement, would be so inclined,
For you forget that chains were made, to always confine.
This is a poem dedicated to the hard working smallholder coffee farmers around the world. This poem is intended to speak to their struggle, the inequalities of coffee value/supply chains the world over, and the unfortunate reality that these farmers face. This poem can certainly apply to many smallholder farmers and other labourers (landless or not) who suffer similar fates. Note that coffee in some circles is referred to as brown gold because of its economic value.
Carly Salzberg Sep 2010
Because the thirst wouldn’t simmer; it ruptured cities into boils,
turned cultures into armies, an armageddon of cheeky stubborn Irish Catholics and thick veined Germans couldn’t imagine a world without their stout hearty headed pint.

Because white dry protestant angels thought crime existed in a vacuum, in a filthy saw-dusted saloon, the hub spawn of evil.

Because twice as many of those saloons were ******* by unlicensed blind pigs, not through free swinging doors on the streets, but in the domestic sphere; in the dark crept crevices of household sanctuaries.  

Because bootlegging capitalist princes turned the industry into a stenchy liability with their home brewed distilled poisons. Alky cookers wrapped the commodity fetish and dubbed it moonshine.

Moonshine – spirits for the poor and blind.

Because this social reform was a moral reform lost in the oblivion of politics, lost in the timeliness of progressive spring-cleaning referenda’s.

Because the ragged, toothless class had to be scold, striped clean of their traditional barings,

because wisdom is everything and they’re spirits ran vilely wild.
teaching a wild creature to feed from your hand is a feat maybe maybe not Mom taught me from a young age then never let go in June 2013 the estate will cease all the coats hats shoes scarves skirts dresses blouses belts purses from Ultimo Saks Neimans wherever steaks from Gene and Georgetti’s Gibsons whatever will be consumed and she will be forced by the bank to resign her condo on lake shore drive and go live with her sister and i will be left with nothing

nothing feels better than fighting back gathering the strength courage to do that to fight until there is no daylight

the world is a mysterious place it is Sunday December 26th 2010 6AM pitch dark outside in several months daybreak will come earlier a remarkable surprise yet always been this way in several minutes firmament turns light i open eyes stretch legs look out window pink blue gray blue morning skies tree tops mountains watch flock of birds maybe 30 or 40 flying back and forth east west why do they do that how would you like to be one of those birds flapping around searching from above at the earth hmmm what if everyone had a ***** and ****** feathered wings fin distinctive tail floppy or pointed ears what if you could share breakfast or lunch with Kim Gordon Patti Smith work on poem with e. e. cummings James Joyce William Faulkner paint with Mark Rothko Anselm Kiefer play football with Payton Manning Drew Breeze jam with Jimi Hendrix Keith Richards race with Secretariat sniff with Lassie mix with Max Ernst Georgia O'Keefe Donald Judd meet with Gandhi and J.F.K. make love with Charlotte Gainsbourg Kate Moss dinner with John Lennon Friedrich Nietzsche dance with Albert Einstein Isadora Duncan share a smoke with Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) Sam Shepard last drink with Sylvia Plath Virginia Woolf then go to sleep next to Sphinx Pyramids wake with Cleopatra Mata Hari on Bali beach look up at tiny puffy clouds that resemble strange script do you understand the possibilities mysteries of everything

old is lecherous but i’m still trapped in childhood hurting wanting to be grown-up

i think i said i don’t know how to talk i was speaking to this **** greedy landlord trying to negotiate between 2 different spaces long distance and i meant to say i can’t talk right now i’m in a restaurant or shop but instead what came out was i don’t know how to talk he was insulting me bullying hollering at me on cell phone accusing me of dickering about price lease and it slipped out my terror from Dad my childhood fears repression inability to negotiate i froze fumbled finally uttering i don’t know how to talk then disconnected

i’m running scared gasping for breath heart pounding yearning praying crying for love beauty happiness success i’m smart creative powerful yet inept too shy or fearful to know how to properly spontaneously speak in person

what if consumerism is realized as a mental disorder a method to suppress genuine hunger with fetish products

what if money is identified as disease actual legal tender found to source fatal viruses

what if humanity is discovered to belong to an alien predatory race independent from Adam and Eve or monkeys

what if all knowledge is found to be deceptive invention concealing real world truth

what if existence is a chess game or trial enacted by higher forces and your every thought feeling recorded in eternity

what if progress is the enemy and primitivism the remedy

my whole life i’ve learned about infidelity my mom sister dad uncle i don’t understand i’ve never been unfaithful to a girlfriend (one is enough one is more than i can handle) why do people speak those vows then get married only to violate themselves their mates maybe that’s why i am afraid to ever get married infidelity is the most painful betrayal to find out your partner with all your shared secrets compromises them with someone else oh god

April 19th 1995 a bomb explodes in Federal building in Oklahoma City killing 168 people injuring 759 what are Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols thinking did they act alone there are so many lunatics running around out there so much misunderstanding disenfranchisement in America

Arlington Street Asheville North Carolina June 1995 Odysseus and his dog Farina keep mostly to themselves something is wrong with his voice he sounds hoarse when he speaks it is uncomfortable to talk he goes to free clinic and waits half a day elderly doctor attempts to stick long metal instrument down Odysseus’s throat Odysseus gags coughs elderly doctor becomes irritable he warns Odysseus to quit smoking Odysseus wonders what it would be like to be loved possibly married in loving positive relationship to know all the endearing enduring connections between caring couples other people manage it why can’t he? he thinks i’ve never been a good provider nor placed enough value in money i believe in freedom and love i chose to make art and pursue a life of self-discovery experiment dang i am wrong from the moment one’s work hangs in a gallery the artist’s integrity is compromised individuality becomes commodity typically people who buy paintings have so much money they scatter a trifle on art the artwork provides the consumer with a look of ‘soul’ to be shown off to their envious friends the artist becomes needy pet of dealer and client maybe converting one’s spirituality into commercial merchandise is like making deals with the devil he thinks about Native American artists whose work is immediately esteemed and utilized in their culture he has spent his whole life seeking validation in art world he wonders how many other unknown artists feel similarly useless discarded he considers i’m forty-five years old now and i don’t have a penny to show for all my troubles i still believe i have much to give insights to reveal but no practical plan for survival i don’t know how i’m going to get through this existence the world wants young promising talent not some older painter striving for another chance women want nothing to do with an impoverished aging dreamer my dog loves me she knows who feeds her i’ve got academic degrees a long resume of legitimate shows i know how to use a computer solve problems fix toilets sinks strip and paint serve food and liquor but i can’t land a decent job i never learned how to properly market or barter my work and i’m not interested in the position of sacrificial lamb i want a home and female partner like other men have i want to be needed respected loved a creative member of a community instead of an expendable outsider working menial jobs for minimum wage what good are paintings if no one looks at them what good are noble values in a corrupt society the world runs on money and greed not freedom and love
LeV3e Feb 2018
"How are you today"
"Good, and you?"
"Good, a bit chilly out"
"Ya, at least the sky's blue"
"Well, how can I help?"
"Oh, I'm just looking around."
"If they don't fit, we carry belts."
"I think I'll just take the gown."
"That'll be twenty two, thirty five"
"Can I just swipe my card?"
"Sure, your ID looks nice."
"Thanks don't get too bored."

Rehearsed conversations
Fitted like a mold
Commodity interactions
Just doing what you've been told.
Andrew Rueter Nov 2017
I don't live here
I'm only camping
On this planet
I didn't plan it
Yet I feel the need to explain it
As the plaintiff
To the sheriff
Imposing tariffs

Money is their concern
While my emotions burn
They are somewhat surviving
At the price of dying
That's the cost of lying
It makes us stop trying
Only commodity buying
While silently sighing
And violently frying
Through fruitless searches
No matter what we purchase
Or how much we spend
The gripping grief never ends
When there are no hands to lend

There are no problems with these items
When we willingly refuse to sight them
They are from where our problems erupt
For we neglectfully allow them to disrupt
The connections that our hearts yearn for
And our wallets burn for
When we spend our emotions on inanimate objects
To avoid the intangible subject
Of love

We're frightened of phantoms
A life heightened by tandem
Is not in the cards
We buy for each other
They don't begin to cover
The way we feel
They are a shield
For our true emotions
Objects can't evoke one
Yet that's our language for expression
Consumerism acts as our lethal injection
Brian Carson Sep 2014
I am lost, in my back yard
flailing my fists, boxing with god
I want to know why I am content
with living in a private box
knowing I could very well be buried in one
when my thirst for life stops
I live as if I am already dead
instead of growing, I rot
I should be describing ink blots
in a gown wearing sandals and socks
because I am about as understood
as the circles in the corn crops
I am a mushroom growing from
what the bovine creature drops
while people around me seem like livestock

my body is spent
I lay in the grass
and it feels like pavement
I cannot change this
or do anything to prevent it
stress comes and stress goes
my heart is the entrance
and my brain is the outlet

I filter everything
and I am a conduit, a vessel at float
touched by the waves and the breeze
carrying me towards the suns glorious beams
like Icarus with delicate waxed wings
I am sure to fall short and drown in the sea
until then I will learn to appreciate
the commodity of breathing
"Love is a fragile commodity. It gets broken even with the right buyer or owner. Imagine how shattered love is with the wrong buyer or owner.
DISASTER!"
Sameer Denzi Jul 2014
A woman in heaven caused the fall of man,
Even though the apple was plucked by her man.
A woman in Troy caused a ****** old war,
Brave men fought for the honour of possessing her.
A woman in Judea gave birth to a baby boy,
Whose tongue caused upheavals that's felt to this day.

A woman in a bikini is a poster for her own liberation,
While in a burka she is a symbol of her own oppression.
She must be the cause of her own sexploitations,
For her assets fulfil the ogling market's expectations.

When she's *****, it must be her fault in some way,
For as she passes by, her brethren look the other way.
A young woman is responsible for her own lynching,
If she dishonours her brethren for her lover's calling.
As a child she is the cause of her own infanticide,
For she is the bearer of ill-omens and misfortune.

Has anyone ever asked her if she wants to be a poster,
Or a commodity, or a bearer of their burden and slander?
Beware how you treat her, for she is above all a mother,
Whose hands may cradle the next saint, thief or ******.
Injustice against women is sure-sign of moral and intellectual bankruptcy.
Gabrielle Isa Nov 2016
Please Don't Touch My Hair.

It's amazing,
It's beautiful,
Maybe its the first time you'll see;
Hair so dark and 'puffy'
As the hair God gave to me.

But my hair is not a commodity;
A thing for you to gather round and see.
It is not something I pull out once a while
Just so you can take a peek.

Please Don't Touch My Hair.

Don't run your hands through it,
Don't ask me why it act's like that,
Don't ask me if you can pull it,
Don't pet me like I'm your cat.
Don't touch it without asking,
And worst of all ask and not wait,
Are your manners really that lacking?

Please Don't Touch My Hair.

Don't stare like I am some exhibit
Brought for you from far away,
Don't mock the way it looks on me
Don't say 'I don't like the way it looks today'.

It's My hair
On MY head,
So don't you even dare.
You're not the one that spends hours
Looking after my luscious hair.

Please Don't Touch My Hair.

Because many years ago
My ancestors were put in zoos
So people like you could know
How our hair felt, and our skin looked
Instead of just seeing old photos.
As if we were not human beings
With minds, and hearts and souls.

So my hair is not on display
For your viewing pleasure,
My hair is on my head for ME
And it has worth that you can never measure.

It represents Who I Am
My Tribe, My Land, My Culture.
So don't hover around with oily hands
Like a flock of curious vultures.

So for the love of all that I know
Please DO NOT TOUCH MY HAIR.
And don't ask me why you can't,
Don't say it isn't fair.
Because would I walk up to a stranger
And ask, only to receive a no
Then go on and touch it anyway?
...I didn't think so.

Please Don't Touch My Hair.

This is the last time I'll say it,
I cannot be silent any longer
I will not tolerate it.
I've given it all I can
I have been very patient
But I will not let this continue
This I will not permit.
If you say you are my friend
You will respect this
Its My Hair, on My Head
And that's all there is to it.
Please respect people's different cultures and backgrounds; do not touch anyones hair without asking - its uncomfortable and honestly it makes me feel like I'm a zoo animal.
Julia Nov 2014
A pleasantly bubbling creak murmurs softly, complacently flowing as a creak does, day in and day out
By the crumbling bank stands a strong willow tree, rooted by the prolfic stream
Thoughtlessly taking the water of which it needs, a simple commodity to a tree of such stature and poise
And gracefully, beautifully shivering at the base of his trunk, there lives a daisy, white and pure
The willows roots indulge themselves, thirsting, thirsting for more
Negligent to the flower below who makes its view that much more lovely
Than just a simple stream, and who provides to the animals and children a blustery smile
Beckoning them to the shade where they might play and the daisy might watch over them
And as the roots take and take they choke the misguided flower, leave her to wither
One soft petal falls to the grass rendering her no more than a tainted ****
No child will ever present her to his good mother now
Not now that she is no longer the pure beauty she once was, not with such an imperfection
And though she may beg for mercy, she must weaken and give herself to the strong roots of the willow
Until she is but a dying cause with browned stale edges and though she lay so close to life, stable life
She does not possess the power to take rein so she the sage awaits the logger in silent knowingness
Chicken Aug 2018
So you sold your soul
Became a puppet on a string
All you saw was the money
They talked you around
****** you in

Paparazzi haters
Rewrite your reality
And it’s all just for you baby,
There’s more to come, just wait and see

Cause you sold your soul
Sold your dream to set em free
They poke you with a stick
They watch you perform
Rich mans commodity.
None of this **** exists... unless you believe in it.
Beat the rhythm
empty hand,
Iron cast chains
rattles command.

Ol' Boss Hogg,
baton raised
Self righteous fool
has need of praise.

In order that
he gain acclaim,
thinks with hate,
acts with shame.

Human beings,
commodity,
ships hold stacked
with those once free.

Bodies piled
upon high
you will not see
the strong ones die.

Scars embedded
on their backs
chained and shackled
to the racks.

We deal in branded
breathing stock,
Unload black vassal
from our docks.

Beat the rhythm
empty hands.
Iron cast chains
in far off lands.

We keep our skivvy,
wired hair blacks.
We work them hard,
we score their backs.

They do for us,
they work the field.
Grow the cotton,
pick the yield.

Keep the body,
take the mind.
Labour whatever's
left behind.

And if demeanour
does ever flinch.
We'll introduce you
Willie Lynch.

Beat the rhythm.
Empty hands
Iron cast chains.
Unfair demands.

Beat the rhythm,
shackled feet.
We take their worst
but can't be beat.
Anybody know who Willie Lynch was? Anybody? Raise your hand. No one? He was a vicious slave owner in the West Indies. The slave-masters in the colony of Virginia were having trouble controlling their slaves, so they sent for Mr. Lynch to teach them his methods. The word "lynching" came from his last name. His methods were very simple, but they were diabolical. Keep the slave physically strong but psychologically weak and dependent on the slave master. Keep the body, take the mind.  (Melvin B Tolson)

19th  July 2015
© Copyright Christopher K Bayliss 2014
jonathan valonis Dec 2012
have to pay those bills keep us distracted
tell us the facts that are contracted
reversed it but none reacted
to the knowledge they say they lack it
accept or deny read between the line
instead get drunk and sip some wine
don't worry it will be fine
there is plenty of twine
to wrap us and define
who we are
your shoes your hair your car
what you eat and drink at the bar
you reach for the star
the rest don't exist
yet still you persist
to attend feeling mist
soaked and covered you twist
turn and want to yearn
you feel it in you and burn
the chances you have scorn
you want to learn
to make money and then
do the same again
just let me know when
you want to wake up and begin
to see there is more
that this life isn't a chore
don't let them bore
into your mind so you're their *****
Brittany Jun 2015
You call yourself a person but you're not a human
Can't put you on the same level as animals because they know better
It was monster versus angel-haired cub
Not now
She has the bite of a lioness and the pride of one too
You'll learn the meaning of "no"
When she drags you through the tall grass
Your life between her teeth
The other ones growling, hungry to rip your spine out if you really even  have one
Threw a one hundred dollar bill at her that night like her body was a commodity
Claws that will have you wishing you were already torn up
(b.n)
I shouldn’t be drinking coffee.
I shouldn’t be reading the news.
It makes me anxious, and it’s not only the chemical interaction.
Somehow, I associate it with “adulthood”—reading the news,
Drinking coffee—I can’t tell you how many days of the last few
Years have been spent entirely in this fashion. The coffee
Growing cold and the news colder still. I don’t even taste the
black, fluid drops. I don’t hear the screams of people I read
about. I just want to hold on to something—so I raise the glass
to my lips. I can’t say

the shocking words when my mouth’s full; I can’t tell

about my experience, my privilege, when I’m drinking it.


The production of the commodity

creates a line from some equatorial region
to central America, and my mouth.
I think about the Autumn I worked in a corn-seed
sorting facility. What a short experience—
and yet,
something that weighs heavy on my imagination.
I was a temp worker.
I chose to work there out of shame and guilt for having
missed the deadline for college enrollment.
I could have done anything else; but there were people
there who wanted nothing more than a job. They needed
to be
there.
And I think of the people involved in producing coffee beans

in much the same way.
Removed
from the thing they’re making, as the raw materials are shipped
to places you pay workers more.
Why shouldn’t I swallow with difficulty when faced with the pro-
spect of a person supporting their entire family with the type
of work
I did
reflexively, as a choice?

Now I sit here, reading about North African riots,
a region, where coffee is produced—
ARABICA COFFEE— and I think about what’s sitting
in my cup, how I have
spent more money than they make in a day
to buy
one container

and sit here
for an afternoon
doing nothing but reading about their families’ misery.

I am a human parasite.

And like the bedbugs that have crawled meticulously
between my mattress and bedframe, hiding in a safe spot
until they can come out, undetected, and **** my potency.

I sit here, in the comfort of an apartment furnished
and paid for by my father who grows corn in a highly-
mechanized, agricultural society. I take more and more,
festering to the size of a blistering, red dot
blinking in the dark, in the form of the record light on
my voice recorder.
I expect so much more from myself, simply because of
this position of luxury.

But I don’t take time to think about my reaction to these
stories or how I am involved in them, in shaping their plots.
I’m even eating more now
as I’ve nearly lost my concern with avoiding certain super-
markets.
I smile at the greeters, make small talk with the cashiers
whom I am openly exploiting. But it’s ok, because
I worked for a month at a cornseed manufacturing
facility
and I read Marxist Ideology,
and I know about the Arab Spring
and I was against American intervention in Libya
and I disdain the air strikes from robotic planes
(unauthorized by congress)
and I disdain congress
and I support gay marriage
(I stopped eating chicken).
I don’t drive to the suburbs of my city.
I walk and ride my bicycle as much as I feel like.
I use public transportation at times.
I try to get to know women.
I practiced safe ***, once.
I write poetry.
I tell my mom I love her.
I bought my nieces birthday presents.
I’m not overly nice to people of different
ethnicities.
I voted for Obama.
I’m trying.
All these things make it seem less bad
to smile at the cashier.
But then I think about my black studies Professor
who used a walker to come to class
because she fell
and spelled the word Amendment “Admendment”
on the board when talking about Reconstruction.
I think about the war in Syria.
I think of people dying from cholera in Haiti, in 2012
A.D.
I think about fracking and oil spills and …
irrevocable damage to Indian reservations.
I think about football coaches molesting children
and people eating fried butter.
I read about people
upset
with a movie
who protest in the streets for days.

It makes me realize I shouldn’t smile at anyone.
I shouldn’t be drinking coffee.
I shouldn’t be reading the news.
Jami Samson Oct 2013
Shopping outfashioned hunting and gathering,
Processed beats fresh,
Groceries replaced fruit trees,
Malls superceded forests,
Churches outnumbered temples,
Countries dissolved to territories,
Places devolved to areas,
Paths broke down into highways,
Commodity converted to currency,
Laborers submit to machinery,
Masters engage in humbug,
Apprentices reduced to students,
Knowledge downgraded to education,
And education is deducted to a show of grades,
While schools are the stages,
And the corporate world is the bigger runway,
With work slumped to employment,
Wisdom demoted to profession,
Where in jobs are the only future,
Careers are the only success,
Clicking and pressing buttons are skills,
Computers are correspondent to brains,
Information refers to news reports,
Intelligence means up-to-dateness,
Browsing is preferable to reading,
Studying is in demand more than learning,
Viewing things flashed on screens yields awareness,
Transportation is to traveling,
As buying is to the three basic needs,
And needs embody worldly possessions,
Worldly possessions define happiness,
Happiness is due to selfishness,
Selfishness is traced to the lack of love,
The lack of love draws from the lack of faith,
Because faith stands for religion,
And religion stands for membership,
Where politicians are the gods,
Celebrities are the preachers,
And the preachers are the enemies,
While networking is equal to friendship,
And connection equates to communication,
Experiences require photos,
Memories necessitate uploading,
Souvenirs can be downloaded,
Smartphones are substitute to pets,
Gadgets are toys,
Holding controllers is playing,
Watching TV is exploring the great outdoors,
Internet is recreation,
And technology is a way of life;
While humans are scientists,
Nature is a guinea pig,
And the earth is a laboratory,
Where prices are misidentified for worth,
Processes are miscalculated as progress,
Impoverishment is confused with improvement,
And getting more is mistaken as getting better;
And then we wonder why
Homes have become houses,
Family members have become boarders,
Nations are separate species
Composed of tired and hungry citizens,
Children are monsters
Who are biochemically rascals,
Teenagers are zombies
Whose adventures lead to delinquency,
Adults are robots
Who just clang when touched,
And life is not so simple
As how it is said to be.
#41, Oct.14.13
WS Warner Feb 2012
Underneath the anger, there are tears. Beneath the fury, there is hurt, a river
of affliction - the day that possibility evaporated. I knew, the moment
it was gone. Telos obscured, like a mist, had left me.

Frost in February, morning at the local coffee house, perseverating, sedate
in privatized, cogitations - certainty dissolves into irony, the transient
collective with predictable cadence and singular objective. Borrowed
energies - preferred anesthetic in defiance of the placid, quotidian horror.

Angst wrapped in skin, clothed in remorse, like a muslin coat unable
to keep me warm, the palette of truculence, dislocated savant,
with guarded aversion - faces enucleating in tacit harmony, the muted tragedy
of the forgotten.

Yoked, the metaphorical satchel, freighted with the sentient debris, sifting
the fuckage, memoirs of failure, privation of venture and honor, objectified as
mere portent. [Existence] - the daily riot, becomes the necessary crucible.

Dissonance and detachment resonate the cultural banality, [being] displaced
by icon; [branding], ideas about ideas, life several times removed,
emblem over essence.

Existential renegade, exploiting the counter intuitive, the paradigmatic prodigal,
favor squandered, in the absonant passage, bearing fruit of the undone.

Bones of contention lament, interminably, like a false friend, present in absence,
perceived in the lack, subtraction, slip-stream - the disheveled
palaver of the broken.

Acutely self referential, misery enfleshed, its own reward, a post-war
discontent inhabiting sorrow, compressed and narrow, begetting
apathy in springtime.

Commodity of youth, the currency of beauty -permuted, commerce of the
ethereal and diaphanous. Human caprice, post-modern fog,
the flattened self,
the enemy of us is us, drowning in the decorum of narcissism.
the fattened calf,
immolating on the sword of autonomy.

Recycled grief, a recursive loop of gestating thoughts, marinating fluidly
within the interpretive grid. Confessional cyber community - exposed wounds
and concrete suffering, abstracted from virtual solidarity, refracted through a
reductive sentimentality, maybe they will ‘like’ it.

Iconoclast in exile, inhaling the incense of barrenness , surrounded by synoptic
drivel in understated - present tenses - alight in the now, axial axioms of the privileged,
who genuflect to the god of unfettered freedom.

Peripatetic intervals of isolation, self-imposed, hidden in a sanctuary of derision,
colliding with immutable otherness , the waters of chaos, calm.
The proleptic display, announcing eschatology. An ancient text written on the interior
expressed in myth and narrative the courier. The carnal and cerebral
arise, rightly flourishing.

Sense thresholds stirring, surprise and turbulence, reverberations of altered
domains merging - the temporal and ubiquity, the indissolubly resplendent
inversion - the invisible made visible. Opaque intrigues subsumed into the
balm of reconciliation - the first shall be last…

©2012 W.S. Warner
2010 one last remark about Mom she’s never had faith or trust in me she always doubts redirects me when i was little she continuously blamed me accusing me of being sick needing a psychiatrist at age 20 my parents committed me for disciplinary reasons to the Institute of Living a psychiatric hospital in Hartford Connecticut in a locked ward for 4 months Mom and Dad discouraged my aspirations to succeed as a painter/writer arguing the impracticality of my decision they thumbs downed Bayli even today she undermines my efforts to love protect her she scolds me for asking permission from my cousin Chris to allow his son Maynard to fly down here and help me pack then drive up to Chicago so i might get to know Maynard on a road trip she instructs hire professional packers for a $100. they’ll be glad to help you pack Mom has always stood in the way of my choices decisions



1975 Chicago in his parent’s kitchen Mom offers the cannolis are fresh from Kanella’s Bakery or try the chocolate fudge cake it’s absolutely delicious Odysseus replies are you trying to fatten me up or **** me with sweets Mom flirtatiously teases i’ve always been about your ruination Odys



2001 Tucson Mom comes for visit at Thanksgiving in her early 80s walking proud yet painfully on displaced hips she is an inspiration to Odysseus her eyes are clouded with cataracts yet she sees life as an eternal optimist since 1920 the world has changed so drastically yet Mom has learned to accept many things she previously did not tolerate she lives prudently on modest fixed income her fingers are arthritically deformed but she was once a great beauty many men desired her Odysseus asks if it was difficult for Mom to lose the power of her physical desirability he noticed her good looks waning in her 50s she answers she sensed her  attraction going in her 70s she still possesses regal qualities and is quite socially charming she chatters a flurry of familiar names events that keep her busy she travels around by herself Mom’s spirit endures but in reality she drifts further away with each passing season she is delicate and has difficulty remembering she echoes a distant past in the early evening of Thanksgiving Day they sit at table of elegant yet rather staid dining room of Mom’s choosing at Arizona Inn she says it reminds her of the way things used to be she wears tasteful black linen slacks black pumps thin silk knitted black turtleneck with string of pearls gold earrings her blonde hair coiffured in same fluffy sprayed style it has been for 50 years in his heart he knows a part of her wishes her son was more like Tom Steinberg who was a senior when Odysseus was a freshman at River Woods Academy The Steinbergs and Mom are still friendly Tom is a successful investment banker with a wife and child living in Winnetka Mom nervously touches the pearl strand around her neck she says you know Mort Rock’s wife Phyllis died i was such a good friend to her at her funeral they read how she said i was her best friend she left me 10 lousy thousand dollars in her will she’s worth millions it’s eating me up inside i needed that money desperately i can’t stop thinking about it 10 lousy thousand dollars went immediately to pay off loans i’m going to sell my jewelry i don’t know what i can get in the spring i’ll put the apartment up for sale or try to get a reverse mortgage from the bank i never told you kids before i’m not in good shape Odysseus comments i feel terrible i wish so much i could help maybe Phyllis Rock suspected you and her husband maybe all those years you were her best friend she read it as guilt and obligation Mom you need to be more truthful Mom cuts in i never had *** with Mort Rock that man drove me crazy he was nuts for me Mom orders the traditional turkey dinner Odysseus orders the Macadamia nut encrusted Hawaiian fish the waiter brings price fixed appetizers little circles of toasted bread with lightly browned melted cheese tiny triangular cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches roasted watercress nuts wrapped in bacon and little hot dogs pierced with fluffy ended toothpicks Mom begins to gobble as she remarks to Odysseus  why do you want to wear your hair like that? you look like you escaped from the camps Odysseus asks what camps are you referring to Mom? she replies the Concentration Camps! you’re a good-looking man and you still have a full head of hair why do you want to shave it off i don’t understand i think you should move back to Chicago Tucson has done nothing to offer look at you you’re all alone you don’t have any friends come home and be your old self again he answers my old self you don’t get it do you Mom do you remember my commodity trading debacle or my 40th birthday or you and aunt Rita’s ceaseless corrections Mom smugly retorts what do you mean your 40th birthday don’t you get smart with me you should be ashamed of yourself why must you keep bringing up the past you need to let go of the past you go into such details details i don’t remember what does it matter now it’s history we only wanted what we thought was best for you you never listened you were only interested in yourself plenty of other kids get beaten and come through just fine you don’t know what it’s like to be a parent it tears me up inside you talk like you had nothing to do with it i can’t take this abuse from you anymore her misshapen fingers hands begin trembling as her voice emotes you think i don’t realize we made mistakes with you you think we were such monsters i wasn’t a good mother i was a lousy ***** is that what you think answer me what are you a bump on a log Odysseus sits stiff in chair his voice shrinks he just sits there his legs shake under table Mom says your father was quick-tempered we were under so much financial pressure maybe we did send you away too soon if i had to do it again i’d do it differently what does it matter now it’s 50 years ago forget the past what do you want from me what can i do he listens silently wondering if Mom seeks some kind of redemption can her conceit permit it he knows he is ******* her he does not mean to be uncomfortable with his muteness Mom continues you were a difficult child remember all the trouble you caused look at you you’re still a difficult man he questions Mom can you hear yourself you think i’m difficult she answers you think we were such terrible parents you grew up in a house of violence his thumb and forefinger nervously touch his chin as he replies no you were good parents i was a problem child different from you you afforded me a beautiful home and brilliant education i wanted to investigate life and learn and grow you didn’t know what to do with a child like that as much as she tries Mom never has been a comfort for Odysseus or he for her he inadvertently stirs her to worry or snap and she in turn unthinkingly disturbs him nevertheless they love each other the waiter brings out salads Mom ordered iceberg lettuce with thousand island dressing Odysseus chose the spinach salad he takes several bites Mom remarks use your salad fork not your dinner fork you know better than that suddenly it occurs to him Mom is more fragile than he he thinks to himself silently Mom i realize your life is closing in on you your mind drifts and you need to fake and cover-up more than ever do you want me to come home and take care of you i will take care of you then he remembers how miserable they were together during his throat cancer recovery in her 3 bedroom Lake Shore Drive condominium immersed in contemplation he pushes the fork through spinach leafs Mom says sit up in the chair and put a smile on your face she self-consciously peeks around the room having lost his appetite Odysseus looks down at napkin on his lap glances at half-eaten salad bowl he gazes up at Mom the waiter arrives making a pained smile he clears the salads then serves the entrees after the waiter departs Mom speaks Odys look at me when i’m talking to you i think about a lot of things i should have done after the fact sometimes even years later Max and i made a lot of incorrect choices when it came to you he cuts in Mom you don’t have to say anymore i love you always have loved you and know you love me too Mom says you know how much i appreciate your paintings you’ve made my life richer i‘ve always been supportive of you in fact i’m your biggest fan right Odys right? thank you Mom i’m grateful Mom says i’ve spoken with psychiatrists and they all tell me the same answer tell your son to forget it why must you dwell in the past what did we do so dreadfully wrong i don’t understand you’re a hard case i wish i could get through to you i hope you can find it in your heart to forgive us you’ll sleep better he questions you know about my insomnia restless sleep nightmares Mom says i can imagine Odysseus’s eyes begin to water Mom i love you i wouldn’t be who i am without you Mom says don’t get so emotional you sound weak take it from me you must be strong in life learn discipline and willpower i love you too son Odysseus wonders if maybe he agitates Mom because he is a constant liability lacking fiscal self-reliance deep down Mom is a giggling gossiping playful girl spoiled by her father she never wanted to grow up and be burdened with the tasks of parenthood what woman of rare beauty and charm would want to give up her privilege and freedom for some kid especially a *******-up kid maybe deep down Mom resents Odysseus he stares down at the Macadamia nut encrusted Hawaiian fish and silently prays he will be released from his life all his stupid sins regrets self-pity self-hatred his vain inconsequential existence



i move organize empty shelves cabinets drawers closets edit wrap tape pack wonder if moving back to Chicago is one more mistake heaped on top of a 1000 mistakes a 1,000,000 mistakes is going home to help Mom my biggest mistake ever i simply know i must try to protect my Mom
David Barr Dec 2013
The City of Derby holds her breath amidst the crisis of historical ramblings and talkative expressions of inhibition.
Do not be deceived. Roaches are not mere insects, but are also three-course celebrations of haunting and religious engagements. There are Peaks which lie beyond the stratospheres of Leek.
Although the parameters of yesteryear project their own splendour, let us acknowledge the silver hair which drips with eternal statements of antagonistic adoration in Curzon Street.
Oh, rose of Sharon, in my sheer lack of understanding, I do not invalidate those instructions to depart from Birmingham New Street.
I have deeply immersed myself in Welsh pools of genuine loss, and have found a precious commodity which I had never beheld in former lifetimes.
Furthermore, I lament the loss of such generational integrity.
WS Warner Feb 2012
Miscommunication
serendipity, anticipation,
blurred reality -
lost in the dialect
of a dream,
in pursuit
of Love
find callous irony;
subversion of desire
what's it all about?
to know and be known.

Mere seconds
of scrutiny
inferior,
I am shown.
Her appraisal
eviscerating
my warm flesh,
her tilted criteria
supplanting the interior,
voluble with
saccharine neologisms
and preferences
for the exterior.
(not mine)
Ironic was my
attraction to
her brain.

Lines, features
and symmetry,
image - the commodity,
aesthetics, the
currency
in this transaction,
cursory liaison,
incendiary,
collapse of the
insurgent ego -
there was no
us in the
the affair of
nothingness.

Bruised in
abasement,
I'm not the one -  
I thought I was.
Hyperbole -
the center
of delusion,
a curious
diversion -
avoid my life.

The allure of
the illusion,
transference,
the ordinary to
the romantic,
the perfect other.
Searching, the
absorbing project -
aquiring wholeness,
did she reject me?
I rejected me.

The escape into
fraudulent
sadness,
to mourn,
is to displace,
the disowned heart
by self is tragic.  
Should
I not mourn for
the one I'm
deferring?

Inside of me
It's safe,
to lament
the loss of
identity -
tension is agony
without resolve
sequestered,
in my pain,
self-imposed
familiar terrain,
upon retrieval,
awaking in
renewal,
mystery and destiny
providentially,
I am free.
David Barr Dec 2013
Torrential rain forms an interference pattern deep within the puddles of the soul, whilst vegetation gains sustenance. Electricity may be a force to be reckoned with because it is a commodity which has monetary significance. Multicultural delicacies are a work of art in La Cucina Toscana, and I wholeheartedly acknowledge your internal drives.
We truly are a deep river which is never the same when it is stepped into more than once. But we can balance it all out, because relativism tells us that there are no rules. How absolutely ineffective is such a position. I am amazed. Just think about how we determine the consistency of seemingly genuine interpersonal transactions. If you want to find healing, then we must look to the howling winds of Siberia, where solitary journeys are sealed with a definite song of permission.

— The End —