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Molly Coates Feb 2013
What is courage?

Is it a sharp breath before jumping off the edge?
Is it the tightness in your chest
That pulls you up when everyone else is sitting down?
Is it the burning heat in your eyes
That smolders and boils
As you gaze upon those who oppose you?
Is that courage?
Or is courage the defiant silence –
The silence that watches your nose bleed
In the foggy cracked mirror?
Is it the child who says, “I love you”
Between the sniffling and trembling?
Is courage allowing the tears to come
When there are people around to witness your suffering?
Is courage looking up?
Is courage focusing on the next step forward
Rather than the hundreds already taken?
Is courage doing what you believe is right
No matter how much your palms sweat
Or how much your knees shake
Or how much your stomach twists
Or how much your lips tremble
Or how much doubt you feel
That anything you do will change anything?
Is courage a lie?
Does Courage exist?
A dictionary says Courage is
“The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear”
If that is truly what courage means,
Then there is no such thing.
Fear is not something that you can decide not to have.
Fear is deep.
Fear is psycological.
Fear is biological.
Fear is natural.
Fear is not a pebble in one’s brain that can be removed on a whim.
Fear can, however, be ignored.
Fear can be climbed over.
Fear can be conquered.
Facing a difficulty fully aware of the fear
Is what makes an action courageous.
Courage is speaking up
Acting out
Crying
Smiling
Holding back
Being silent
Knowing the punch is going to come
Knowing the insult is going to come
Knowing the tears are going to come
And the conflict
And the questions
And the darkness
And the thunder
And the criticism
And the judgement
And the violence
And the doubt,
Disbelief, and denial
And knowing that 3:30 AM comes around every single night
Regardless of whether or not you can sleep.
Courage is opening your eyes
Even when you don’t like what you see
Because you have to.
And you don’t have to just because somebody told you to
Or because you read it somewhere
Or heard it somewhere
Or saw it somewhere.
You have to because there’s substance in you.
There’s a third dimension to you.
You have to because that tightness in your chest
Isn’t something you control.
There is no Courage Switch.
You can’t cultivate courage.
Everyone has it but not everyone has seen it.
Not everyone has used it
But everyone can.
Nat Lipstadt Feb 2014
In the end, where is the courage?
~~~~~~

a festering poem~notion
that can not be kept down,
in the making, long,
in the scrivening, short

even the simplest life,
the most ordinary,
cannot ever avoid the question,
where is the courage?

this journey, near complete,
packages delivered, dust and mud,
a canvas of the well worn, conceded and deeded,
nearly done, in the corner almost all that's needed,
a scrawled illegible, encircled set of initials

but never mind that,
for that doesn't obviate, or explicate,
what is important, no matter where and when
you are GPS dotted on your particular travelogue,
the quest, the question that does not come or e'er go,
but permanent, like the dimple, given at birth,
where is the courage?

threescore and more and therefore puzzling,
what matters now this solution in need of resolution?
this easy to provide the clarification notification,
perhaps you are young and the future looming large,
courage in ample supply, for when and where
life requires resuscitation, even enunciation,
you easy answer, here, within,
below the surface, just underneath,
at the ready, in service, a call awaiting when asked,
where is the courage?

the sword of mine so oft drawn and bloodied,
my exploits, I unashamed, but yet new war cries recirculate
and they call out "give us the veterans,"
whose courage spoke of and tale recorded,
let them lead us once again to succor and success!

they cannot know or be told,
my chain mail armour, my heart's amour,
rusted and weakened, and battle memories
too well recalled give me not wells to draw upon,
but wells to be drowned in, fears of fear of it,
it cannot be done again, the supply all drawn down,
the well overused and dry, history revisionists
cannot bring back what once was just by asking,
where is the courage?

the temple in Jerusalem sacked and burnt,
but the Israelites returned and rebuilt,
in ages and days when miracles were a dime a dozen,
no one could not imagine exile permanent,
but it came and lasted but tho many,
ceased to believe, a hardy few knew the answer,
when the the quest, the question that does not come or go,
was flaunted both to and by the fearful, the tired~souled,
where is the courage?

here, within, but this time dig much deeper,
under grime and desultory historic rhyme, it be buried,
just sip and sup of it, but a taste will reignite hope hopefully,
of
what is only dormant, but never gone complete,
that is what they whisper, in my one good ear,
but I know better, tho eyes dimmed,
my heart replies, the inky dark answer
that I hate but recognize as truth,
when it inquires
where is the courage?*

what matters where,
when, when,
there is no choice,
you know what to choose,
choose the pretense in hopes
that the muscle memory will return,
and restore what was once yours,
and must be yours, yet again
and if you fail,
fail well
for that will be you at the last, and the
lasting medal of courage tendered
Nessun dorma, None shall sleep.
This I know all too well,
you cannot leave or retire from the struggle
We call life, and
Tho my chin upon my chest weary rests,
Nonetheless, it my fingers under yours,
Under you chin, raising it up,
For that is what I have left,
That is what I do.

Feb. 3, 2014
Joe Cole Aug 2015
Courage

Courage is to face the fears and doubts within your mind

Courage is to answer when you hear your country call

Courage is the father who faces daily toil

Courage is the mother giving birth to yet another child

Courage is accepting failure when you know you tried your best

Courage is your conviction when you know you're facing death

Courage is never giving up when you know you'll lose the fight

Courage is dealing with your fears when protecting what is right

COURAGE
Nat Lipstadt Jul 2015
~~~

"When she was a young girl, Clemantine displayed the large courage to endure genocide. In this essay she displays the courage of small things: the courage to live with feelings wide open even after trauma; the maturity to accept unanswerable ambiguity; the tenacity to seek coherence after arbitrary cruelty; the ability to create tenacious bonds that have some give to them, to allow for the mistakes others make; the unwillingness to settle for the simple, fake story; and the capacity to look at life in all its ugly complexity."

David Brooks, NY Times, July 7, 2015
"The Courage of Small Things"
~~~

and you ask yourself
could I write this any better,

and you no/know/no
the answer well before the asking

but these combinations of letters
don't mere resonate,
they sound bells, all kind of bells,
wind chimes, mean car alarms, church bells, door bells,
sounds of nature soothing,
harsh noises so terrible
only humans can devise and extract,
not found in nature

the ringing sound of
the compartments of your brain,
clashing for predominance,
each with their own agenda,
and you silence them and write

thus compelled,
to review, define truths egocentrically,
examine your spatial perceptions,
ask the better, important question

do I have the courage of small things?

The easy answer is a runaway
yes or no,
the certitude of a familiar self-
(confidence, hate, righteousness, loathing),
the sadness of deprecation,
the pleasure of surety

and you know,
even the fools know,
neither are true answers,
only easy ways out

you chew and chew each small courage,
acknowledging insufficiency on any scale,
some here and there, maybe as good as average,
some here and there, far worse than most

in only one do grant yourself a passing grade,
and even that,
barely, minimally

"the capacity to look at life
in all its ugly complexity."


for here you are,
measuring and minding,
tallying and totaling,
in full public view,
knowing what only you know,
if, you this small courage, possess

I answer diffidently, fearfully, dangerously,
treading the line

in this above all, I must be a striver,
for all else,
even the simplest life,
is complex beyond reason,
see the ugly, say the ugly out loud,
permit to admit

for without this first step,
threshold, door jamb, Styx crossing,
you will never be able to summon,
you will never possess
the starting line courage of
asking and answering,
running when the starter pistol fires,
in a manner
unexcused, undisguised, fully disclosed,
and find the
beauty in
simplicity

do I have the courage
to do the summming up
of my smallest things,
that together
are truly
courage writ
large?

~~~
July 8, 2015
8:00am
NML
Please read the article in its entirety

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/07/opinion/david-brooks-the-courage-of-small-things.html

if you cannot access, message me and I will email it to you...
Mena Mulugeta Aug 2018
With her courage
there came many things.
Her was courage
was designed off of
her feeling nothing.
Her courage goes beyond
wonders of miles to see
beautiful things.

She is shaping herself
 into who
she would love to be.
So many things that
she thought were 
 unseen, but her radiating
light drives
ones to courage.

Her courage
was designed
to help build others.
Her courage
was unbelievably heartfelt.
She fought her fears,
and doubts to find her Courage.
In the shadows
of emptiness and pain
is where her courage occurred
life sometimes is a trip, but you must keep on pushing though and have courage to believe that you can do whatever you put your mind to.
ᗺᗷ Nov 2013
I wish I had the courage to talk to pretty girls.
It’s not them; it’s their cold beauty that makes
my fingers shiver, and rejection that makes me
feel like I’m a white lighter that strikes out
nothing more than sparks.

I wish I had the courage to not take **** from
my superiors and remind them that when you
beat the life out of a man, you had better cut a deal
with Death if you plan to let him stand back up.

I wish I had the courage to rise above peer
pressure and see that a bulletproof vest isn’t so
dumb when you realize that the person you take
a bullet, for was actually the one who loaded the gun.  

I wish I had the courage to tell you that your ****
looked HUGE in those jeans,
and I wanted to burn every other pair you owned.

I wish I had the courage to get out of bed every
morning, because sometimes I forget that I’m
actually still alive, and my blinds keep hiding the
fact that this world is made of sugar.

I wish I had the courage to be vulnerable again
but trust is a treasure someone stole from my heart,
left a bag of sand in its place, and took off running.

I wish I had the courage to ask for help because I’m
not the sharpest cheddar in the fridge and I was born
with a head that could break down brick walls.

I wish I had the courage to own a snake but I was
brought up Catholic so I am conditioned to fearing
both the Devil and God.

I wish I had the courage to keep my commitments
so when the people I love open my promise box,
they actually find something inside.

I wish I had the courage to let go of the past
and get past the point of letting go.

I wish I had to courage to speak at your funeral . . .
but I’ve never been the fastest to pick up the pieces, and even when I do I always put them in the wrong place, so **** it. I filed down the jigsaw edges so now all I have to do is connect the dots, but every time I do, all I get are silhouettes of you; us. I see your face in a day more than I see faces in a week. It’s the reason I stand at the edge of rooftops, the reason all my mirrors are broken, the reason I wake up with my face floating in a pool. I wrote a paper this morning titled, “To Do Today:” It's crumpled somewhere on the floor because the only thing I’m really going

To Do Today:

-is miss you.
Lillie Feeley Dec 2012
I don’t have a role in this play anymore,
Despair,
I am no longer destined to be the quaint housewife.

I still have a role; it’s just open now,
Courage,
I am no longer destined to be the quaint housewife.

I am not the princess in this tale,
Despair,
I am no longer destined to be the quaint housewife.

I can be the warrior,
Courage,
I am no longer destined to be the quaint housewife.

I am not the sidekick,
Despair,
I am no longer destined to be the quaint housewife.

I am the hero,
Courage,
I am no longer destined to be the quaint housewife.

I have no one looking out for me,
Despair,
I am no longer destined to be the quaint housewife.

I can do as I please,
Courage,
I am no longer destined to be the quaint housewife.

I don’t know this place,
Despair,
I am no longer destined to be the quaint housewife.

This place is new,
Courage,
I am no longer destined to be the quaint housewife.

I need hobbies,
Despair,
I am no longer destined to be the quaint housewife.

I have time,
Courage,
I am no longer destined to be the quaint housewife.

My future is uncertain,
Despair,
I am no longer destined to be the quaint housewife

My future is uncertain,
Courage,
I am no longer destined to be the quaint housewife.
Joe Cole Dec 2013
Courage is to face the fears and doubts within your mind

Courage is to answer when you hear your country call

Courage is the father who faces daily toil

Courage is the mother giving birth to yet another child

Courage is accepting failure when you know you tried your best

Courage is your conviction at the time of facing death

Courage is never giving up when you know you'll lose the fight

Courage is dealing with your fears when protecting what is righf
Kelly O'hara Apr 2014
Courage is what makes us.
Courage can be what breaks us.
Courage is what drives us.
Courage divides the weak.
Courage makes us free.
Courage controls our instincts.
Courage makes us face our fears.
Courage is what it takes to stand out and and be proud of who we are.
In another place… -at a different time,
To some others face… -sing-ing -a rhyme,
Just a trace, so subtle, so su-blime…

Did I find the courage to say…
Did I find the courage to say?

At another place, to some others face,
Penciled and traced, heart thumping a base,
So subtle, sublime, something more than rhyme…

Did I find the courage to say…
How’d I find my heart that day?
Did I find the courage to say?

In another place, different time, -lovely face,
For my love I sing and rhyme…

Did I find the courage to say…
How much I loved you… -every day?
Did I find the courage to say…
How much I loved you… -every day?

Did I find the courage to say…
How did I find my heart that day?
Did I find the courage to say?
How much I loved you every day?
Cause girl I love you… -every day.
I wish I had the courage
To tell you
How much I really want
To know you

I wish I had the courage
To say to you
How much I wanted to say hi
To you

I wish I had the courage
To show you
How much I like for you
To be my friend

I wish I had the courage
To let you know
How amazing you are
To be just you

I wish I have the courage...
The courage...
Courage...
That I wish you had too
Sid Lollan Apr 2018
Gentlemen of Courage and Ladies of Excellence,
Toast to stolen prayers with rarer player’s hands;
Soft in defiant laughter,
when drinking their wine from the bowels of brines

Sing along the Ballads of Heritage with Melodies of Exception;
Boast, not a breathe,
though sullen heirs ghost to fairer wearer’s air(s) of land—
A settlement of Rapture and Resurrection, arid, amid dirt and sand

and King and thy Kingdom sprout flowering tomb, and rosebud temple reach to the sky during the showers of spring
Devours the crescent Moon

in big pink petals of bloom;

A garden so fertile
it could look pretty in wartime—
with Gardeners of Courage and Laborers of Excellence;
(Lapse, not into digressions of Being and Essence
but hands in the soil and planting the actions of kingdom come,
       patient building of Spring Reign sure
as the flame, the architect of rising Sun is
(Daughters and Sons of kingdom came,
      the soldier in a land been conquered and named; abandoned
for the greenness of hope.
)May it never come, Be All The Same; (


be gentle, though whispering wind)

Seeds of Nextyear and the spores of Awhile,
carried by the Wasps and the Clouds
To the Gentlemen of Excellence and Ladies of Courage,
illuminated, eyes from the flora of stars faraway forest floor of foreign

      fears,
      as the hungry Owls of Time prepare a final feast—
      Consume the years between Here and Now;
      Watching from blank perch, among
      the Trees of Afterall; a place beyond expectance.
      Sing the branches of experience, to wake
      in Siren’s cipher; inelegant forms
      of waking,

ugly sleep on rocks of seabed; once was aboard a marooned skyline—

Those Who Are Will Be
again, again a serf in a wave of Time’s refraction. Neverending neverbeginning;

                          Those Gentlemen of Courage and Ladies of Excellence,
on the Day That Is, arrays of seers sayers doers displayers
optimists and pessimists, toast to them
        and their rarer player’s hands,
Boast they, not a breathe, though sullen heirs ghost
to fairer wearer’s air and land;
Laugh and howl and dine, they drink their wine
from disemboweled gourds
        of their own divine—
Warped, in jowls of hungry fix,
no feast they fear, for they prey to the Owls of Time.
RL Sep 2014
Courage.
The courage to fight, speak, smile.
The courage to become.
The courage to walk away.
The courage to forget.

And the courage to begin again.
Harmony Aug 2019
Fear stays behind closed doors
Afraid of itself and the unknown
Fear doesn't let go from clinging
Afraid of being forgotten

Fear wants to see what courage does
Courage stays outdoors all day long
Courage has no time to be timid
Courage makes things happen

Fear wants to see all that Courage does
Fear hides behind closed doors
In presence of courage it peeps out
In presence of courage fear loosens grip

Fear and Courage are my twin children
I need them both for each serves a purpose
Fear is the one who warns me to be aware
Courage is the one who tells me it is alright

Fear and courage are hugged in meditation
My love poured out on both for being thus
Nonidentical twins they express me
Expressions are here to be explored

Secret of wisdom is in embracing the twins
Both with equal love and affection
Not forgetting to ask them why and what
Makes them appear in a certain way

They tell me very sincerely
Of how things make them feel
When they let me know I can
Analyze, step over or let go

All of which lets me grow
In my awareness of the now
As I sit here more wise
I owe it to my ***** twins
Confidence shrouded my misguided  interpretation of love.
It shattered my amends then threaded them back together to make a new person.
Someone who was capable of handling rigorous scheming love,
And handing it back to where it came from.
A hero without a mask. Because confidence hides no fears that it's never had.
And my cape formed from courage and matted rags.
It wasn't as flashy but confidence is not arrogant or cocky. He holds class.
Enough to look past the ongoing  criminals that hide behind vile merciless masks.
And unbeknownst courage would be confidences fall.
Because from the start all courage was made of.
Was tattered curtain clogs.
And courage was just as false as unbeknownst.
Confidence was just to confident that courage would pull through.
And at times he did.
With a heroic smirk and smile that no one trusted.
Because everyone knew courage was false confidence.
And confidence was truly lost.
All hope diminished against the evil malicious terminally ill poison.
Known to humans as love.
After all the greatest evil is the evil that controls a persons heart.
And no one's truly free until love is lost.
And confidence is found.
And courage is made.
Not from love made hand me downs.
But from the iron we create from our heart.
And that's the strongest part no one ever believes.
You don't need love to be happy.
"You just need me"
Said courage, right before he died.
And confidence collided with the ground being thrown off his steed.
Leaving no trace of sound.
Just dirt and soiled tattered clogs.
"And so I've lost"
Confidence exhaled with a shrivel of a sound.
Mimicked a voice only you could hear if love didn't control you.
That's how I lost them along the way.
Because they were my reason for this journey of love.
Now it's ended and I'm left with no friends.
Just truth.
And love still speaks to me with a silver tongue.
Whispering words of dreams and wisdom.
But I'll never fall for it again.
From now on I know to look for love transcribed from confidence and courage formed from within.

The true story is.
Not even confidence could win.

Against love.
Ralph Akintan Jul 2019
Shafts of courage depicted on the
      parchment of hope
Running into beamlight of victory
Leaning towards trunk of optimism
You speak courage
You emit courage
Protruding ribs of scalped stood
      on wingspans of surgery
At the hours of the night.

Spring of courage flown into the
      feeders of victory.
Spirit of courage locked-up
      scroll of fear.
Sun of courage dried up the
      stagnant sea of fear.

An entanglement of two wars
     fought with two divine axes
      of courage.
But you conquered fear.
Sneezing out the mucus of death
      from the nostrils of conquest,
Zooming like an eagle soaring into
      the waiting arms of the theatre.

Clipping the fangs of scalped with
      hope.
Withstanding the chilled cold of the
      night.
Resisting assault from the proboscis
      of mosquitoes.

Waiting for days in hours.
Tarried for result outside the fragile
      womb of life and hope
Tarried for positivity in anxiety
Pendulum of anxiety thickened the
      darkness of fear
But you whizzed back like a matador
      from the ordeal of a long journey
      of life.

A second Lazarus revoked the decree
      of death.
sir humbug Jul 2018
one more for Joni and the one who accuses me of
"owning the courage to care so blatantly."

<:>
accused of writing with blatant courage,
a  4 credit requirement for caring

blatant is a word of merger -
open obvious unsubtle and unashamed

and a dissembling misleading one!

it is all of these  and yet can be a contradictory mask of
opposing, differing faces

my blatant is none of these
but appearance only

**** muses keep me coming back
to a particular lyric,
keeps seeking me out, so successfully, wherever I go,
I hear it
it’s invading my both sides now

the dizzy dancing way you feel

you think I have my own blatant courage, untrue!
so oft you mistook my dizzy dancing,
all fluff all humbug so obvious so ashamed,
a cover up, a most subtle cosmetic pretense of the truth -
  of
no courage at all
and yet (they mock)
you do care...

just another of my peculiar
life’s illusions
(self-delusions)

  I really don’t have blatant courage at all
Ra May 2017
Courage to be vulnerable
Courage to tell the truth
Courage to see
Courage to be seen
Courage to hear

Courage to feel
Courage to feel me

Courage to let me be

Courage to be
Kay P Feb 2014
A word so sweet and simple
And yet
So very bold
Two syllables of
Complete and utter terror

Courage is tilting your chin up
In the face of the yelling man
Who calls you worthless
And telling him
Quite calmly
You are not.

Courage is opening
Like a flower to the sun
To show all your flaws
Your secrets and doubts
To someone,
Anyone,
Despite the fear
That they will pluck you from your grass
And play a deadly game
Of he loves me
Loves me not

Courage is standing
Amongst a group
Of your very best friends
And telling each
And every one
That they are wrong

Courage is looking
At yourself in the mirror
Not liking what you see
But deciding you look good
Anyway

Courage is waking
Putting on shoes
Dressing however you like
And going to school
Even when you feel as though
The building were a prison
And your life a never ending joke
With no punchline

Courage is living
For your friends
For your family
And for the most important
Most amazing
Most fascinating person
On the planet:
Yourself.
One Word Prompt,
A Oct 2015
I've now got the courage to smile through the pain.
The courage to love again. The courage to face my flaws and still be strong.
The courage to accept the past although it all went wrong.
The courage to stand my ground and face you, with all the challenges that came along.
The courage to be me again aside from all the pain.
Down on my knees
I look to the sky,
And I see your hand.

Your grace found me,
When whole is lost.
Your courage towards me,
Brought me down on my knees.

In prison I was a prisoner,
But in your hands am your child.
In darkness I lived like a duck,
But in the light am in the right place.

Your grace found me,
When whole is lost.
Your courage towards me,
Brought me down on my knees.

I thought I could walk on the floods of this world,
But I sunk thinking of happiness.

Your grace found me,
When whole is lost.
Your courage towards me,
Brought me down on my knees.

Now I flout on the floods of this world for the breath of life is in me.
The rainbow keeps my heart at peace.

Your grace found me,
When whole is lost.
Your courage towards me,
Brought me down on my knees.

Jesus Lord God your graceful courage landed in me and made me of loyal blood.
The graceful courage runs my soul.
Sometimes all that is needed is grace from above nothing more or less would do.
autumn Jul 2016
The only part of my day
That I look forward to
Is when I go to bed
And lay there making up scenarios
In my head.

I think of comebacks
To 8th grade bullies.
I think of witty retorts
To my mother's snide comments.
I think of intelligent things to add
To conversations I had months ago.

I think of all the things
I was too scared to say.

And in my mind
I say them.
And pretend how things would be different
If only I had the courage to speak.
Madhurima Nov 2018
Flood may have shown, nature won the battle in disguise of rain
But the intact hope and courage Kerala says Humanity wins again

Flood may have taken their all belongings
But it left the trust and the hope, great of all belongings
And Kerala still have that intact, while facing the flood
And Kerala calls you to help them even after the flood

Flood may have shown, nature won the battle in disguise of rain
But the intact hope and courage Kerala says Humanity wins again

Disastrous flood may have broken the houses
But their spirit isn't, it is still intact
If this is the test of courage and spirit,
They'd get distinction in this in fact

Flood may have shown, nature won the battle in disguise of rain
But the intact hope and courage Kerala says Humanity wins again

With or without helps and funds
Kerala is rising and rising again like a plant from seed, like sun at  the dawn
And it will rise and rise until skies limit them
And it will shine even brighter so uncertainty's darkness would be gone

Flood may have shown, nature won the battle in disguise of rain
But the intact hope and courage Kerala says Humanity wins again

I thought nature is the god and you have to kneel before it, even if you're not willing
Now I know, your spirit is the god and if it's strong, you don't have to kneel if you're not willing

Flood may have shown, nature won the battle in disguise of rain
But the intact hope and courage Kerala says Humanity wins again
ashley m Jul 2014
The professor ordered the rest of the class to make a poem about What Courage Is*

One student simply marched towards the professor and passed her paper.

It was plain. A blank sheet of paper was handed.

The professor called her attention and questioned, "Why did you pass your paper with no writing in it?", he looked confusingly.

However, the girl simply answered with confident, "Yes. And that is courage, Sir."

The professor's eyes widened with realization.

Courage is not a question of strength
Courage is not a question of skills
Courage is doing something
You are scared of doing
Ashley M.
xoxo
CP Aug 2016
I joke I make a great punch,
but if you knew me you'd have a hunch
something is very wrong,
when I am very gone.

I begin sinking in my chair
my emotions are very bare
I feel my heartbeat.

This liquid courage is a cheat
the after taste is not very sweet,
I drank a glass, or two
it's all gone a bit askew.

This liquid courage is a cheat
I still don't feel complete
I drank a glass, or two
maybe I don't have a clue.

I just wanted to talk without thinking
I didn't want to feel like I was sinking
everyone else in the room seems fine
maybe I should just grow a spine
but it's not even nine and my blood is half wine.

I think I'm drowning,
why is everyone around me frowning?

This liquid courage is a cheat
I just wanted to feel upbeat
maybe if I reapply my lipstick- wait, I'm going to be sick

This liquid courage is a cheat
it leaves you downbeat,
you need to find your own two feet

Get up the chair, brush your hair
and then everyone there will become aware.
Don't worry about what to wear,
because they'll all stare.

Be bare and share, you don't need this much liquid courage
but one small glass I won't discourage.
onlylovepoetry Sep 2017
the grit courage of trust**

still too young and now, too old, to comprehend,
love~trust and all its secondary derivatives,
not extant on a plane of new bed sheets of
silk~linen tablecloth rectangularity

go into the park's garden;
black soil fingernail coating
awaiting, impatiently for you,
dig in direct hands ungloved

is it not,
sensual and yet gritty,
two coextensive sensations?

slip inside (you/me, me/you),
there is a razor's edge duality duty,
trust, serve and protect,
take and
handle with rough-care, for this our state of beauty
au naturel, the rush and the fall,
the climb and the conquering,
only to start again, each step, each rung,
coated with the
the grit courage of trust -
                                          do you begin to comprehend?

trust is a bumpy landing on a glide path that is strewn
with potholes that can grow into sinkholes without
the grit of trust

the soles of my feet are a message,
gritty from walking
all-life, not just the edges,
is a two act play of roughening,
upon the limbs the things,  
that carries us *****
but bares the wearing of
unkind touches of reality
working us over

why the soothing,
but not the smoothing
daily twice is the cream that
emerges from the grit courage of trust

even the vinery's progeny of great love,
grapes that must
embrace the wind and rain,
the wearing down tools of
the exterior that brings an acknowledgement -
                                                            do you begin to comprehend?

this is not an algebraic formulaic solution solvable problem,
this derived from dirt, access to accidental, the tongue and the nail,
the cracks upon the skin, that grow wonderful deeper, unfillable,
where the love gets in,
were the words are written and stored,
rough to the touch,
under the grit courage of trust -
                                                       do you begin to comprehend?

this grit is unbelievable beautiful  
only a love po-em.      


5:22am
Rangzeb Hussain Dec 2011
Courage?  

It does not lie at the end of a rifle
Nor does it explode with a grenade or a pistol,

It does not march with platoons
Nor does it rise with the wrath of nations,

It does not spit or rage
Nor does it whip in hate,

It does not attack the old
Nor does it cage the young or infirm,

It does not torture
Nor does it trap the breath of dissent,

  
Courage?  *

It sings upon the lips of children
Who fear no uniformed evil,

It beats at the heart of truth’s valley
Where a beleaguered generation waits for hope,

It is the flower bursting forth in the fertile earth of the homeless
Whose schools are bulldozed into dry desert dust,

It fights and floats from the fists of Freedom’s orphaned children,
In their wide open palms they free the heart of courage,

Courage cannot be caught nor in any barrack taught,
Courage is the food that fuels Liberty’s true fire.
Jon York Nov 2015
We all have faces that we hide away
forever and we take them out and
show ourselves when everyone is
gone and we look at what the years
have done and realize that everything
on the outside changes but what
really matters is on the inside and that
mostly remains the same.

We tell ourselves stories in order to
live and we cure physical diseases with
medicine but find out that the only cure
for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness
is love, so don't hope but decide and
have some fun on that final ride as
you approach the end.

Wash what is *****, water what is dry,
heal what is hurt, dry tears that are shed,
warm what is cold and guide what goes
off the road so you can lighten your
load and don't be afraid to try again
as everyone goes south every now and
then as we all fall in love though we
disregard the danger but learn that it
takes strength to love again but it
takes courage to be loved.

It takes strength to survive but it takes
courage to live just as it takes strength
to feel a friends pain and courage to
feel your own pain, so change the
changeable, accept the unchangeable
and remove yourself from the unacceptable.
                                                   ­                          Jon York    2015
ShitHead Jun 2015
Courage is a very powerful thing
It runs or destroys the world and its people

Courage can be a blessing and a curse
A sinner and a saint
It provokes acts of love and of hate
Of kindness and of cruelty
Acts of violence and acts of peace

Courage wins war and signs treaties
And lets you face your fears

If you can find your courage
Then you shall have power over yourself

But if you can’t find your courage
You cannot face life or overcome it
CP Aug 2016
I joke I make a great punch,
but if you knew me you'd have a hunch
something is very wrong,
when I am very gone.

I begin sinking in my chair
my emotions are very bare
I feel my heartbeat.

This liquid courage is a cheat
the after taste is not very sweet,
I drank a glass, or two
it's all gone a bit askew.

This liquid courage is a cheat
I still don't feel complete
I drank a glass, or two
maybe I don't have a clue.

I just wanted to talk without thinking
I didn't want to feel like I was sinking
everyone else in the room seems fine
maybe I should just grow a spine
but it's not even nine and my blood is half wine.

I think I'm drowning,
why is everyone around me frowning?

This liquid courage is a cheat
I just wanted to feel upbeat
maybe if I reapply my lipstick- wait, I'm going to be sick

This liquid courage is a cheat
it leaves you downbeat,
you need to find your own two feet

Get up the chair, brush your hair
and then everyone there will become aware.
Don't worry about what to wear,
because they'll all stare.

Be bare and share, you don't need this much liquid courage
but one small glass I won't discourage.
Sandra Hughes May 2014
Courage does not speak of how brave it is; does not seek empathy for its woes.  
It holds no space for heroism and fanfare.
  
Courage does not stand against its fears attempting to defeat them.  It has no desire to beat its chest and roar with daring victory.

Courage is speaking what is in your heart; knowing that your truth’s own voice is louder than legions of doubters.  

Courage is standing brazen, terrified, quivering joyously with the beauty and danger of reckless offering until suddenly, in a divine moment of discovery you are willing and you are seen

and you are enough.

And your heart begins to beat

gently,

surely,

with the joy and peace you have always sought.

© Sandra Hughes  (All rights reserved)
This is my first poem - hope you like it
It takes courage
to be yourself
to be different

in the face of
Intolerance
and despite
Prejudice

It takes courage
to drop your defenses
to take off your mask

held back by
Fright
or led by
Compliance

It takes courage
to open up
to let someone in

afraid to get
Hurt
or retained by
Pride

Be brave
a little
every day
Have the courage to
Be you!
Marshal Gebbie Jan 2014
For Andrew and his incredible courage.*

Incredible the courage found to face the wrath of cancer,
Face the force, insidious, which eats the inside, out.
Face the trial erosion of eradication’s willpower,
Face the wall of silence in the primal need to shout.

Incredible the courage found to struggle on regardless
Keeping up appearance when exhaustion shouts...Let Go!
Hiding pain’s contortion in a parody of camouflage,
Cloaking blood, red suffering which really, now, must show.

Incredible the courage worn in lifting head from pillow
In struggling ***** again to meet a rising sun,
Smiling in the face of a diminishing tomorrow
Knowing that the enemy with-in's  darkest game's begun.

Incredible the courage shown to meet the gaze of friendship
Knowing well the condemnation locked within that look,
Irrespective of the depth of friendship’s comprehension
They all don’t understand the pain to life’s unfinished book.

Incredible the courage there in fighting for tomorrow
Marshaling the forces to drive this Devil out,
Clawing back a toehold in the face of grey oblivion
Winning back small victory with brave and primal shout!

Marshalg
Pukehana
10 January 2014
Kelly Selvester Mar 2010
Anyone can hold a dart and say "I challenge you" on a Friday night...
...that's mostly because that dutch courage has helped them
Anyone can hold a microphone and say "Hi" to packed-out house...
...that's mostly because that dutch courage has helped them
Anyone can hold a gun and say "Your coming with me" to a theif...
...that's mostly because that dutch courage has helped them
But one thing that not everyone can say is "I Love You"...
...and no amount of dutch courage can help you with that
(C) Kelly Selvester
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
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Composed on 00:53, 21/09/2016 using Hello Poetry's 'Words' algorithm. We don't assume this means something.

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