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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
Kyle Kulseth Oct 2012
7:05, it's late September
     and mid-continent can't decide
     on a season
     if it's Summer, Winter
     or some patchwork in between
     but I've
Decided
   Falling on confusion's
not the same as hitting Springy grass
because I've seen

   How hard December
   clamps its jaws
on those Midwest city streets
   --With famished eyes
      and with breath howling
      tries to find ways into me

So, clothed in shivers, one might stumble
   Between bars, snowflakes, and friends

And cloudy skies and clouded glasses
  tell you, "you'll never be young again!"

11:30, Minneapolis--
     you're sure your ride is late.
Trudge through snow, and mud and asphalt
while skies thicken purple-grey.

And things are much the same in Bismarck
And much the
      same in Winnipeg.
Thrusting frigid hands in pockets
   restore some blood to aching legs.

"And it's another Midwest winter."
  What more is there to say?

Respond to yourself and keep walking
Still miles away from home
Still a decade until morning
Another New Year's spent alone
    --and growing old--

Now you remember last September--
It was still 80 degrees!
Now you're caught in Midwest winters--
Release a breath and watch thoughts freeze.

So just wait until next Summer
Your floor heater warms your toes
And it's wait until the next drink
to thraw your throat out: so it goes.

So it goes...

And goes and goes.

But you'll never be young again.
Rose Mar 2015
The magnificent Midwest.
Where ****-heads migrate only to make a living off of welfare checks and a lack of motivation.
Scattered across the land in clusters,
Making up towns of shattered trailers.
Even in the greyness of winter we beat ourselves to death against snowed in windows
Searching for the sun, just like moths to street lights,
or lips to flickering flames
Death is everywhere.
1969 Hartford art school is magnet for exceedingly intelligent over-sensitive under-achievers alluring freaks congenital creeps and anyone who cannot cut it in straight world it is about loners dreamers stoners clowns cliques of posers competing to dress draw act most outrageous weird wonderful classrooms clash in diversity of needs some students get it right off while others require so much individual attention one girl constantly raises her hand calls for everything to be repeated explained creativity is treated as trouble and compliance to instruction rewarded most of faculty are of opinion kids are not capable of making original artwork teachers discourage students from dream of becoming well-known until they are older more experienced only practiced skilled artists are competent to create ‘real art’ defined by how much struggle or multiple meanings weave through the work Odysseus wants to make magic boxes without knowing or being informed of Joseph Cornell one teacher tells him you think you’re going to invent some new color the world has never seen? you’re just some rowdy brat from the midwest with a lot of crazy ideas and no evidence of authenticity another teacher warns you’re nothing more than a bricoleur! Odysseus questions what’s a bricoleur teacher informs a rogue handyman who haphazardly constructs from whatever is immediately available Odysseus questions what’s wrong with that? teacher answers it’s low-class folk junk  possessing no real intellectual value independently he reads Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium Is The Message” and “The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci” he memorizes introductory remark of Leonardo’s “i must do like one who comes last to the fair and can find no other way of providing for himself than by taking all the things already seen by others and not taken by reason of their lesser value” Odysseus dreams of becoming accomplished important artist like Robert Rauschenberg Jasper Johns Andy Warhol he dreams of being in eye of hurricane New York art scene he works for university newspaper and is nicknamed crashkiss the newspaper editor is leader in student movement and folk singer who croons “45 caliber man, you’re so much more than our 22, but there’s so many more of us than you” Odysseus grows mustache wears flower printed pants vintage 1940’s leather jacket g.i. surplus clothes he makes many friends his gift for hooking up with girls is uncanny he is long haired drug-crazed hippie enjoying popularity previously unknown to him rock bands play at art openings everyone flirts dances gets ****** lots of activism on campus New York Times dubs university of Hartford “Berkeley of the east coast” holding up ******* in peace sign is subversive in 1969 symbol of rebellion youth solidarity gesture against war hawks rednecks corporate America acknowledgment of potential beyond materialistic self-righteous values of status quo sign of what could be in universe filled with incredible possibilities he moves in with  painting student one year advanced named Todd Whitman Todd has curly blond hair sturdy build wire rimmed glasses impish smile gemini superb draftsman amazing artist Todd emulates Francisco de Goya and Albrecht Durer Todd’s talent overshadows Odysseus’s Todd’s dad is accomplished professor at distinguished college in Massachusetts to celebrate Odysseus’s arrival Todd cooks all day preparing spaghetti dinner when Odysseus arrives home tripping on acid without appetite Todd is disappointed Odysseus runs down to corner store buys large bottle of wine returns to house Todd is eating spaghetti alone they get drunk together then pierce each other’s ears with needles ice wine cork pierced ears are outlaw style of bad *** bikers like Hell’s Angels Todd says you are a real original Odys and funny too Odysseus asks funny, how? Todd answers you are one crazy ******* drop acid whenever you want smoke **** then go to class this is fun tonight Odys getting drunk and piercing our ears Odysseus says yup i’m having a good time too Todd and Odysseus become best friends Odysseus turns Todd on to Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” and “Ariel” then they both read Ted Hughes “Crow” illustrated with Leonard Baskin prints Todd turns Odysseus on to German Expressionist painting art movement of garish colors emotionally violent imagery from 1905-1925 later infuriating Third ***** who deemed the work “degenerate” Odysseus dives into works of Max Beckmann Otto Dix Conrad Felixmulller Barthel Gilles George Grosz Erich Heckel Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Felix Nussbaum Karl *******Rottluff Carl Hofer August Macke Max Peckstein Elfriede Lohse-Wachtler Egon Shiele list goes on in 1969 most parents don’t have money to buy their children cars most kids living off campus either ride bikes or hitchhike to school then back home on weekends often without a penny in their pockets Odysseus and Todd randomly select a highway and hitch rides to Putney Vermont Brattleboro Boston Cape Cod New York City or D.C. in search of adventure there is always trouble to be found curious girls to assist in Georgetown Odysseus sleeps with skinny girl with webbed toes who believes he is Jesus he tries to dissuade her but she is convinced

Toby Mantis is visiting New York City artist at Hartford art school he looks like huskier handsomer version of Ringo Starr and women dig him he builds stretchers and stretches canvases for Warhol lives in huge loft in Soho on Broadway and Bleeker invites Odysseus to come down on weekends hang out Toby takes him to Max’s Kansas City Warhol’s Electric Circus they wander all night into morning there are printing companies longshoremen gays in Chelsea Italians in West Village hippies playing guitars protesting the war in Washington Square all kinds of hollering crazies passing out fliers pins in Union Square Toby is hard drinker Odysseus has trouble keeping up  he pukes his guts out number of times Odysseus is *** head not drinker he explores 42nd Street stumbles across strange exotic place named Peep Show World upstairs is large with many **** cubicles creepy dudes hanging around downstairs is astonishing there are many clusters of booths with live **** girls inside girls shout out hey boys come on now pick me come on boys there are hundreds of girls from all over the world in every conceivable size shape race he enters dark stall  puts fifty cents in coin box window screen lifts inside each cluster are 6 to 10 girls either parading or glued to a window for $1 he is allowed to caress kiss their ******* for $2 he is permitted to probe their ****** or *** for $10 girl reaches hand into darkened stall jerks him off tall slender British girl thrills him the most she says let me have another go at your dickey Odysseus spends all his money ******* 5 times departing he notices men from every walk of life passing through wall street stockbrokers executives rednecks mobsters frat boys tourists fat old bald guys smoking thick smelly cigars Toby Mantis has good-looking girlfriend named Lorraine with long brown hair Toby Lorraine and Odysseus sit around kitchen table Odysseus doodles with pencil on paper Toby spreads open Lorraine’s thighs exposing her ****** to Odysseus Lorraine blushes yet permits Toby to finger her Odysseus thinks she has the most beautiful ****** he has ever seen bulging pelvic bone brown distinctive bush symmetric lips Toby and Lorraine watch in amusement as Odysseus gazes intently Tony mischievously remarks you like looking at that ***** don’t you? Odysseus stares silently begins pencil drawing Lorraine’s ****** his eyes darting back and forth following day Lorraine seduces Odysseus while Toby is away walks out **** from shower she is few years older her body lean with high ******* she directs his hands mouth while she talks with someone on telephone it is strange yet quite exciting Odysseus is in awe of New York City every culture in the world intermingling democracy functioning in an uncontrollable managed breath millions of people in motion stories unraveling on every street 24 hour spectacle with no limits every conceivable variety of humanity ******* in same air Odysseus is bedazzled yet intimidated

Odysseus spends summer of 1970 at art colony in Cummington Massachusetts it is magical time extraordinary place many talented eccentric characters all kinds of happenings stage plays poetry readings community meals volleyball after dinner volleyball games are hilarious fun he lives alone in isolated studio amidst wild raspberries in woods shares toilet with field mouse no shower he reads Jerzy Kosinski’s “Painted Bird” then “Being There” then “Steps” attractive long haired girl named Pam visits community for weekend meets Odysseus they talk realize they were in first grade together at Harper amazing coincidence automatic ground for “we need to have *** because neither of us has seen each other since first grade” she inquires where do you sleep? Todd hitches up from Hartford to satisfy curiosity everyone sleeps around good-looking blue-eyed poet named Shannon Banks from South Boston tells Odysseus his ******* is not big enough for kind of ******* she wants but she will **** him off that’s fine with him 32 year old poet named Ellen Morrissey from Massachusetts reassures him ******* is fine Ellen is beginning to find her way out from suffocating marriage she has little daughter named Nina Ellen admires Odysseus’s free spirit sees both his possibilities and naïveté she realizes he has crippling family baggage he has no idea he is carrying thing about trauma is as it is occurring victim shrugs laughs to repel shock yet years later pain horror sink in turned-on with new ideas he returns to Hartford art school classes are fun yet confusing he strives to be best drawer most innovative competition sidetracks him Odysseus uses power drill to carve pumpkin on Halloween teachers warn him to stick to fundamentals too much creativity is suspect Todd and he are invited to holiday party Odysseus shows up with Ellen Morrissey driving in her father’s station wagon 2 exceptionally pretty girls flirt with him he is live wire they sneak upstairs he fingers both at same time while they laugh to each other one of the girls Laura invites him outside to do more he follows they walk through falling snow until they find hidden area near some trees Laura lies down lifts her skirt she spreads her legs dense ***** mound he is about to explore her there when Laura looks up sees figure with flashlight following their tracks in snow she warns it’s Bill my husband run for your life! Odysseus runs around long way back inside party grabs a beer pretending he has been there next to Ellen all night few minutes later he sees Laura and Bill return through front door Bill has dark mustache angry eyes Odysseus tells Ellen it is late maybe they should leave soon suddenly Bill walks up to him with beer in hand cracks bottle over his head glass and beer splatter Odysseus jumps up runs out to station wagon Ellen hurriedly follows snow coming down hard car is wedged among many guest vehicles he starts engine locks doors maneuvers vehicle back and forth trying to inch way out of spot Bill appears from party walks to his van disappears from out of darkness swirling snow Bill comes at them wielding large crowbar smashes car’s headlights taillights side mirrors windshield covered in broken glass Ellen ducks on floor beneath glove compartment sobs cries he’s going to **** us! we’re going to die! Odysseus steers station wagon free floors gas pedal drives on back country roads through furious snowstorm in dark of night no lights Odysseus contorts crouches forward in order to see through hole in shattered windshield Ellen sees headlights behind them coming up fast it is Bill in van Bill banging their bumper follows them all the way back to Hartford to Odysseus’s place they run inside call police Bill sits parked van outside across street as police arrive half hour later Bill pulls away next day Odysseus and Ellen drive to Boston to explain to Ellen’s dad what has happened to his station wagon Odysseus stays with Ellen in Brookline for several nights another holiday party she wants to take him along to meet her friends her social circles are older he thinks to challenge their values be outrageous paints face Ellen is horrified cries you can’t possibly do this to me these are my close friends what will they think? he defiantly answers my face is a mask who cares what i look like? man woman creature what does it matter? if your friends really want to know me they’ll need to look beyond the make-up tonight i am your sluttish girlfriend! sometimes Odysseus can be a thoughtless fool

Laura Rousseau Shane files for divorce from Bill she is exceptionally lovely models at art school she is of French descent her figure possessing exotic traits she stands like ballerina with thick pointed ******* copious ***** hair Odysseus is infatuated she frequently dances pursues him Laura says i had the opportunity to meet Bob Dylan once amazed Odysseus questions what did you do? she replies what could i possibly have in common with Bob Dylan? Laura teases Odysseus about being a preppy then lustfully gropes him grabs holds his ***** they devote many hours to ****** intimacy during ******* she routinely reaches her hand from under her buns grasps his testicles squeezing as he pumps he likes that Laura is quite eccentric fetishes over Odysseus she even thrills to pick zits on his back he is not sure if it is truly a desire of hers proof of earthiness or simply expression of mothering Laura has two daughters by Bill Odysseus is in over his head Laura tells Odysseus myth of Medea smitten with love for Jason Jason needs Medea’s help to find Golden Fleece Medea agrees with promise of marriage murders her brother arranges ****** of king who has deprived Jason his inheritance couple is forced into exile Medea bears Jason 2 sons then Jason falls in love with King Creon’s daughter deserts Medea is furious she makes shawl for King Creon’s daughter to wear at her wedding to Jason  shawl turns to flames killing bride Medea murders her own sons by Jason Odysseus goes along with story for a while but Laura wants husband Odysseus is merely scruffy boy with roving eyes Laura becomes galled by Odysseus leaves him for one of his roommates whom she marries then several years later divorces there is scene when Laura tells Odysseus she is dropping him for his roommate he is standing in living room of her house space is painted deep renaissance burgundy there are framed photographs on walls in one photo he is hugging Laura and her daughters under big oak tree in room Laura’s friend Bettina other girl he fingered first night he met Laura at party is watching with arms crossed he drops to floor curls body sobs i miss you so much Laura turns to Bettina remarks look at him men are such big babies he’s pitiful Bettina nods

following summer he works installing displays at G. Fox Department Store besides one woman gay men staff display department for as long as he can remember homosexuals have always been attracted to him this misconception is probably how he got job his tenor voice suggesting not entirely mature man instead more like tentative young boy this ambiguous manifestation sometimes also evidences gestures thoroughly misleading after sidestepping several ****** advances one of his co-workers bewilderingly remarks you really are straight manager staff are fussy chirpy catty group consequently certain he is not gay they discriminate against him stick him with break down clean up slop jobs at outdoor weekend rock concert in Constitution Plaza he meets 2 younger blond girls who consent to go back to his place mess around both girls are quite dazzling yet one is somewhat physically undeveloped they undress and model for Odysseus radio plays Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song” both girls move to rhythm sing along he thinks to orchestrate direct decides instead to let them lead lies on bed while curvaceous girl rides his ******* slender girl sits on his face they switch all 3 alternate giggle laughter each girl reaches ****** on his stiffness later both assist with hands mouths his ****** is so intense it leaves him paralyzed for a moment

in fall he is cast as Claudius in production of Hamlet Odysseus rehearses diligently on nights o
I’m like midwest weather forecast
I’m stuck in summer
I hate the dead of winter
it rains in the spring
overall
fall is the ******* worst
this is the first poem i wrote officially and received too many compliments from it. it speaks the truth.
Ashley Rodden Jan 2015
Midwest love affair
I bend when I'm bored
Late night *****
Lead me to the floor
Can we fake it?
Can we make believe?
I'm so full of love
It sickens me
But all I can do is close my eyes
And cross my heart hoping to die
Because you don't listen
When I'm around
The least you could do is take it back
All the vicious remarks and verbal attacks
Because I can't stand it
Here in this midwest aftermath
Lacey Clark Oct 2018
Raised faux-religiously in a catholic school by convenience of neighborhood (though, I loved the plaid and I wanted to do Eucharist but my mom explained I wasn't catholic, so I dabbled with the hymns and cursive) by my two gay moms and some 'extra kids' (fostering, etc) in Spokane. Homeschooled later (and seriously religiously, Vacation Bible School, NO HARRY POTTER and no saying 'stupid', a lot of neighborhood scootering) by uncle auntie and my two home-made and hilarious cousins (siblings) in Nevada. another private school in the Wild West with my grandpa and grandma (maybe religiously? they took me out to Mexican dinner religiously). And scattered across the West, Mid-West and South for all the rest. Public schools interwoven and equally traumatizing in between states.
One school in florida was known for fist fights and head lice. I kissed my first boy there. and girl. I left for what I thought was summer vacation and never came back. Another accidental move.
I had been squeezed in-between the palms of each coast for high school (plopped in the midwest).
In Wisconsin, I popped like a pimple and broke some major skin. Tried to end my life a few times. Psych ward after psych ward. Pills. Pills. Pills! A nurse took me aside and said "i have hope for you" and it was the first time i felt seen. met hard drugs to replace the cutting- they felt like long lost friends. Easy to pick up.
And recovery was like feeling your face after a satisfying shaving... and not a scratch since.
Now gliding along the West Coast in Academia's matrix. Politics and community engagement and the center. Clean. In the Heart of the City. Biking with helmets. Shoebox studio apartments. Nose in book, nose in food. Day job with a class of kids who I love and who love me. Space to grow, assess, reshape. Optimism. Peace. Stability.
Kyle Kulseth Oct 2012
Fundraising for the flood
     but there's bound to be another one
     year-to-year they always come
     and wash out the Midwest.

So just ride your bike for high ground
Pedal fast, forget the chests
     that sit there filled with pledged donations
     for the drowning, doomed Midwest.
Leslie Srajek Feb 2010
Midwest winter mornings
are about stillness that looks you straight in the eye.
Nothing fancy—
that belongs to Florida, or to the spring.

Winter is just plain stillness—
a gray branch with four drops of water suspended along its length,
a willow with leaves as pale as hay,
slight and stirring.

Look, they say, look:
This is what it is like to wait.
Copyright 2010 by Leslie Crowley Srajek
the white deer Apr 2014
Pray for me;
The Midwest is freezing.
I don’t understand it but I do occasionally fold my hands
And pray but usually I get
Distracted.
I pretend to be as distant as I can
But I’m actually pretty invested.
People tend to see through all that. Through me.
It’s all an act to disguise how stupid I am and how desperate
I am for attention.
But for all the times people see through me it’s crazy
How little I can see of other people and much I read into others
Actions. I’m so obsessed with touching tasting feeling
And I always **** it up.
Do you remember Midwest Weather?
It seems I'm stuck in winter.
Some sunshine skies allowed.
Though the skies are dreary now,
The fiercest is very promising.
In days to come there's a high of 75,
Only a few with an overcast sky.
Brielle Bishop Aug 2018
8.10.18//
A triangle is a polygon
Three edges
Three vertices
A, B, C denoted
Scalene, Obtuse, Acute
No matter the internal angle,
The degrees,
You’ve never found that
Of an Equilateral appealing
Unable to relate,
Obtuse seems far more fitting
Difficult to understand
Two sides annoyingly sensitive, impossible
High hopes of overshadowing the smaller
Base of the shape
What the opposing angles
Fail to realize is nothing would be possible
Without the foundation
While the top portion remains
Sharp and ominous
The root exists patiently and quietly
For the value to be found
If I could, I would have
Used a fine tipped pencil
Versus a pen to sketch
If I could, I would erase both angles
To form a linear arrangement
Instead I dispose of the scratch sheet
Some equations are left unsolved
For temporary periods of time,
Regaining composure
The values of A and B discovered
So we start from the beginning
The base
Progressing from one stage to another
Sequential
A singular line
Possesses more meaning than you may think
For instance
Roads that extend for miles
Through the flatlands of Kansas
The Midwest and back
To the heart of the desert
Outstretched limbs
Welcoming and warm
Beaten dirt paths
That eventually led me to you
i dreamed a rattlesnake was loose in the closet i heard it rattling i was afraid to open the door



a man suffering a toothache goes to see his dentist the dentist administers laughing gas when the man comes to his numb tongue swooshes around his mouth he asks how long was i under the dentist answers hours i needed to pull them all out



he imagines when he grows old there will be a pencil grown into one hand and a paintbrush grown into the other they will look like extra fingers grown out from the palms extensions of his personal evolution little children will be horrified when they see mommy mommy look at that man’s hands!



what if we are each presented with a complete picture of a puzzle from the very start then as our lives proceed the pieces begin showing up out of context sometimes recognizable other times a mystery some people are smarter more intuitive than others and are able to piece together the bigger picture some people never figure it out



i wasn’t thinking i didn’t know to think nobody taught me to think maybe my teachers tried but i didn’t get it i wasn’t thinking i was running reacting doing whatever i needed to survive when you’re trying to survive you move fast by instinct you don’t think you just act



many children are relieved when their parents die then they no longer need to explain prove themselves live up to their parent’s expectations yet all children need parents to approve foster mentor teach love



she was missing especially when her children needed her most she was busy lunching with girlfriends dinner dates beauty shop manicure masseuse appointments shopping seamstress fittings constant telephone gossiping criticizing she was too busy to notice she was missing more than anything she wanted to party show off her beauty to be the adored one the hostess with the mostest



i dreamed i was condemned to die by guillotine the executioner wore black and wielded an axe just in case the device failed in the dream the guillotine sliced shallow then the executioner went to work but he kept chopping unsuccessfully severing my head this went on for a long time



1954 Max Schwartzpilgrim sits at table in coffee shop on 5th floor of Maller’s Building elevated train loudly passes as he glances out window it is typical gloomy gray Chicago day he worries how he will find the money to pay off all his mounting debts he is over his head in debit thinks about taking out a hefty life insurance policy then cleverly killing himself but he cherishes his lovely wife Jenny his young children and social life sitting across table Ernie Cohen cracks crass joke Max laughs politely yet is in no mood to encourage his fingers work nervously mutely drumming on Formica table then stubbing out cigarette in glass ashtray lighting another with gold Dunhill lighter bitter tastes of coffee and cigarettes turns his stomach sour he raises his hand calling over Millie the waitress he flirtatiously smiles orders bowl of matzo ball soup with extra matzo ball Ernie says you can’t have enough big ***** for this world Max thinks about his son Odysseus



when Odysseus is very young Dad occasionally brings him to Schwartzpilgrim’s Jewelers Store on Saturday mornings Dad shows off his firstborn son like a prize possession lifting Odysseus in the air Dad takes him to golf range golf is not an interest for Odysseus Dad pushes him to learn proper swing Odysseus fumbles golf club and ***** he loves going anyway because he appreciates spending time with Dad once Dad and Odysseus take shower together Dad is so life-size muscular hairy Odysseus is so little Dad reaches touches Odysseus’s ******* feeling lone ******* Dad says we’ll correct that make it right Odysseus does not understand what Dad is talking about at finish Dad turns up cold water and shields Odysseus with his body he watches Dad dressing in mornings Dad is persnickety to last details of French cuff links silk handkerchief in breast pocket even Dad’s fingernails toenails are manicured buffed shiny clear



Odysseus’s left ******* does not descend into his ******* the adults in extended family routinely want to inspect the abnormality Mom shows them sometimes Dad grows agitated and leaves room it is embarrassing for Odysseus Daddy Lou’s brother Uncle Maury wants to check it out too often like he thinks he is a doctor Uncle Maury is an optometrist the pediatrician theorizes the tangled ******* is possibly the result of a hormone fertility drug Mom took to get pregnant the doctor injects Odysseus with a hormone shot then prescribes several medications to induce the ****** to drop nothing works eventually an inguinal hernia is diagnosed around the age of 9 Odysseus is operated on for a hernia and the ******* surgically moved down into his ******* the doctor says ******* is dead warning of propensity to cancer later in life his left ball is smaller than his right but it is more sensitive and needy he does not understand what the doctor means by “dead” Odysseus fears he will be made fun of he is self-conscious in locker room he does not comprehend for the rest of his life he will carry a diminutive *****



spokin alloud by readar in caulkknee axescent ello we’re Biggie an Smally tha 2 testicles whoooh liv in tha ******* of this felloh Odys Biggie is the soyze of a elthy chicken aegg and Smally is the size of a modest Bing cheery



one breast ****** points northeast the other smaller breast ****** points southwest she is frightened to reveal them to any man frightened to be exposed in woman’s locker room she is the most beautiful girl/woman he will ever know



Bayli Moutray is French/Irish 5’8” lean elongated with bowed legs knobby knees runner’s calves slim hips boy’s shoulders sleepy blue eyes light brown hair a barely discernable freckled birthmark on back of neck and small unequal ******* with puffy ******* pointing in different directions Laura an ex-girlfriend of Odysseus’s describes Bayli’s appearance as “a gangly bird screeching to be fed” Laura can be mean Odysseus thinks Bayli is the coolest girl in the world he is genuinely in love with her they have been sleeping together for nearly a year it is March 11 1974 Bayli’s birthday she turns 22 today Bayli is away with her family in Southeast Asia Odysseus understands what a great opportunity this is for her to learn about another culture he knows Bayli plans to meet up again with him in late summer or autumn in Chicago Dad wants Odysseus to follow in his footsteps and become a successful jewelry salesman he offers Odysseus a well-paying job driving leased Camaro across the Midwest servicing Dad’s established costume jewelry accounts Odysseus reasons it is a chance to squirrel away some cash until Bayli returns it is lonely on the road and awkward adjustment to be back in Chicago Odysseus made other plans after graduating from Hartford Art School he is going to be an important painter after numerous months and many Midwestern cities he begins to feel depressed he questions how Bayli can stay away for so long when he needs her so bad the Moutray’s send Mom and Dad a gift of elegant pewter candleholders made in Indonesia Mom accustomed to silver and gold excludes pewter to be put on display she instructs Teresa to place the candleholders away in a cabinet Mom also neglects to write a thank you note which is quite out of character for Mom Bayli’s father is a Navy Captain in the Pacific he is summoned to Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia the Moutray’s flight has a stopover in Chicago Bayli writes her parents want to meet Odysseus and his family Odysseus asks Dad to arrange his traveling itinerary around the Moutray’s visit Dad schedules Odysseus to service the Detroit and Michigan territory against Odysseus’s pleas Odysseus is living with his sister Penelope on Briar Street it is the only address Bayli’s parents know Odysseus has no way to reach them when the Moutray’s arrive at the door Penelope does not know what to tell them Mom and Dad are not interested in meeting Bayli’s parents it is not the first sign of dissatisfaction or disinterest Mom and Dad convey regarding Bayli Odysseus does not understand why his parents do not like her is it because Bayli is not Jewish is that the sole reason Mom and Dad do not approve of her Odysseus believes he needs his parent’s support he knows he is not like them and will likely never adopt their standards yet he values their consent they are his parents and he honors Mom and Dad let’s take a step back for a moment to get a different perspective a more serious matter is Odysseus’s financial dependency on his parents does a commitment to Bayli threaten the sheltered world his parent’s provide him is it merely money binding him to them why else is he so powerless to his parent’s control outwardly he appears a wild child yet inwardly he is somewhat timid is he cowardly is he unsure of Bayli’s strength and sustainability is that why he let’s Bayli go whatever the reason Dad’s and Mom’s pressure and influence are strong enough to sway his judgment he goes along with their authority losing Bayli is the greatest mistake of Odysseus’s life



he dreams Bayli and he are at a Bob Dylan concert they are hidden in the back of the theater in a dark hall they can hear the band playing Dylan’s voice singing and the echoes of the mesmerized audience Odysseus is ******* Bayli’s body against a wall she is quietly moaning his hand is inside her jeans feeling her wetness rubbing fingers between her legs after the show they hang around an empty lot filled with broken bottles loose bricks they run into Dylan all 3 are laughing and dancing down the sidewalk Dylan is incredibly playful and engaging he says he needs to run an errand not wanting to leave his company Odysseus and Bayli follow along they arrive at an old hospital building it is dark and dingy inside there is a large room filled with medical beds and water tanks housing unspeakably disfigured people swarming intravenous tubes attach the patients to oxygen equipment feed bags and monitoring machines Dylan moves between each victim like a compassionate ambassador Odysseus is freaking out the infirmary is too horrible to imagine he shields his eyes wanders away losing Bayli searching running frantically for a way out he wakes shivering and sweating the pillow is wet sheets twisted he gets up from the bed stares out window into the dark night he wonders where he lost Bayli



these winds of change let them come sailor home from sea hunter home from hill he who can create the worst terror is the greatest warrior
Tate Morgan Jul 2014
I was born of the ceaseless plains
with the endless sky above
It was there I learned to wander
it was there I learned to love

Despite where life had taken me
from green, grass to black, sea foam
I’d cried to each wind filled valley
"will I ever find a home"

Days of life would pass into years
distant plains rang out a plea
Over the rivers and valleys
where my home had drank of me

The Midwest had been calling me
as it echoed out in song
"I am the land of your fathers
and here is where you belong"

Tate
The original with pictures and music

http://www.writerscafe.org/writing/aristate/1383965/
For many of the years of my life I wondered why I never felt at home when I traveled far and wide? Then as I aged it came to me. There is a reason birds fly back to where they were born and fish swim thousands of miles to spawn in the rivers they were born from. Who we are is as simple as where we came from. So I came home to start a family and pass that to my own children.
Paul Rousseau May 2012
Shimmering Midwest dream
Duluth snow, south of the sea
Yes, sound is vibration, the glass is full
Love for my Mini-Happiness, Saint Pull
Joseph S C Pope Sep 2013
Childhood was the greatest time for Timothy, and he remembers it that way. No disposition on the fact that his parents divorced when he was eight. Just old enough to develop a mental connection with the idea of a union. So when he was ten, his father remarried, moved to a farm in the southeast, and tried living off the land. The topic of an ecological environment had hit the internet heavier than global warming hit the ice caps. And everyone was pursuing happiness with steep drops in city living, and an up swing in rural living.
Timothy's mom refused to believe it though. She wrote about such cultural climates, the invasion of neo-british pop boy bands, the decline of football, and the hippie lifestyle clawing its way back up the columns of big city papers. So when the recession hit, and it suddenly became cool to dress like a homeless person, she saw the disgust, moved overseas and focused on the world-political spectrum.
“Societal fads be ******! I'm going to do something that actually matters.” And she did.
Timothy Glasser, age 82 looks back on that moment with pride.
“There was a sense that she had the ***** to change the world. With Russia building up Imperial popularity, it was cool to be big. America was on the decline by the word of all the heavy-hitter magazines.
“That was when I started to take my life serious. She had shown me all the would-be Bob Dylans, Lennons, Hunter S. Thompsons. She would say, 'These kids have all the brass words of a ****** who can bite down ******* the world, but they don't have the actual brass. Men who are not recognized for what they've done have the brass. Hell, women have ten more pounds of that kind of brass!'
'I would laugh, but she was serious. I think she thought I was too masculine to understand what she was saying.”
When Timothy's father moved him and his little sister, Sunni Glasser out to the backwater community of Oggta-Cornelius, there was a certain relief in his demeanor. In a matter of months the country way of living had worn down his impatience to a sluggish pace.
“Greg was my father's name. He's been raised in a similar place in the Midwest, but the slowness of that life got to him in his teens so he left for the city. I guess when he met my step-mom he found the good ol' girl that he'd been trying to cling to since he left home. And it was Sunni's choice to come with us. She always had the same kind of 'brass' Mom had, but there was a closeness she shared with Dad that adventure couldn't break. It's a **** shame too. But once the slow pace of the backwater hit Sunni, she rebelled. It was a catastrophe to watch her and Dad argue over the most petty things you've ever seen. The way our step-mom, Claire would fold clothes or how early she had to wake up in the morning for school. Five o'clock, five days a week, and sometimes Dad would wake her on Saturday just to punish her for talking back. There was always blood in the water.”
Timothy's face settles, his lower lip curls, and his eyelids clinch for a moment before he changes his position in his chair.
“Is everything okay, Timothy?” I ask.
There is a pause, almost as if he is reliving what he was just describing.
“**** has always been real, you've been fantasizing.” I hear him say. He refuses to look at me, let alone answer my question.
“Mr. Glasser?” I ask again.
He exhales suddenly, eyes watery, and lets out a sigh.
“Let's talk about Sunni. I never really talk about her much, and I think now is a good time. Don't you?”
I nod in agreement and try to give him a smile.
He still refuses to look me in the eye.
“When Sunni was in first grade, she was beginning to prove to be a bit of a handful. There was a small patch of corn out back. Maybe half an acre Dad keep for us to put up for the winter. Sunni was about seven years old around this time and she had the idea to make crop circles. Now I was out with my friends, played football in those days so I didn't have the time to be home all the time. Dad and Claire kept themselves busy with the work about the place, so Sunni got bored real fast. One day during the summer, Dad went to the store to get some groceries. A friend of his came up to him and said, 'I was up in the plane yesterday and I saw something strange in your cornfield. Like some kind of crop circle. Weird ain't it?'
“This rattled my Dad's brain for a few minutes until he got home and saw the two-by-four with rope tied to either end of the thing. Sunni was staring at the clouds and Dad walked over to her, and yanked her up off the grass. 'What are you doing flattening my corn for? Don't you know that's goin' to save us money in the long run?” She just stared at him. Not dumbfounded, just intrigued.
“That was kind of the starting point of their bickering. She had blonde hair running to the base of her skull brushed down neatly. A subtle blush in her cheek from the sun. And she always wore a dress, especially if it had sunflowers on it. She brought life to that house.
“On her tenth birthday, Mom sent her a touch screen phone, an iPhone, I think it was called with a two-year contract. It was so long ago minor facts like that seem to hang on for no reason.”
Timothy shuffles in his chair. Then clears his throat.
“Would you like to take a break, Timothy?” I ask him.
“I ignored most of the arguments Sunni and dad had after I graduated high school. As soon as fall semester started at Cornelius College I fled the backwater and started by life near the OceanFront. Oggta-Cornelius was divided into two sections: the Backwater and OceanFront. And like a sports rivalry there was always trash talk about the tax bracket you were in or how much you worked. After the first few weeks for sneaking into bars and partying on campus, the fun died down because of the arrests. I almost got caught twice, but my sixth sense for trouble tingled at just the right time. When the middle of the semester hit I was over-booked with mid-terms and reading assignments. I actually lived in my dorm then. Never really left the place. And soon fall semester was over. Nothing worth mentioning now. Sunni and I texted often, but she had become a brat and I wanted alone time to learn what I'd read. For everything literary to go beyond just test and quizzes.
“But right towards the end of the semester, one morning I was walking to an early exam and on the ground was a kid, a little older than me lying there looking up at the sky. I had the urge to walk up and ask him what he was doing, but it felt too rude so I left him. I kept walking and heard a voice call back to me, 'Hey, guy.' I turned around, 'Yeah you, come here.'
“I walked up to him, he motioned for me to kneel beside him.
'What day is it?
I told him it was a Monday.
'Really? Wow, must've fell out watching the stars with this gir--'
He reached to his other side, feeling for a body, but no one was there. He never broke eye contact with me.
'Well, with his lovely imaginary girlfriend I have. Her name's Elsie. She's a charm.'
I helped him up and he left without much of a goodbye. A disrespectful mysteriousness. And I didn't see him again till the weather warmed up in the spring semester. Which was a repeat of the fall.”
Timothy asks me for some water. I started to feel like I'm one of his grandkids. How far in the trunk of memories is he going for this information?
“Thank you. Now the next time I saw Alan was in a smoking gazebo along a walking path on campus.
'Hey, guy!” he shouted, getting my attention. I walked back to the gazebo, coughing as the smoke roughhoused it's way into my lungs. He had those circular shades on, like the one John Lennon wore back in the day. A tie around his head, a light blue button up shirt that hung loose off his think frame. His hair was long and parted, and he sported a straggly red and black beard.
'Top of the morning, ta ya.' he said, putting out a cigarette on the tray. I opened my mouth, but all that came out was coughing.
'Course, the Irish don't really say that. It's actually quite racist, but I'm half Irish so no skin of my knuckles. I'm a mutt.'
“He smiled with such pomp. The arrogance was so natural, it fit him like his face. Other people around him were having conversations about Samuel Beckett, John Irving, Stephen King, and Jimmy Hendrix tripping acid together in the great T.A.R.D.I.S. in the sky. I remember laughing at that. They were all smiling at the ludicrous actuality of it happening. And it was late evening.
'Stay! Be silly and merry with us!” he shouted. I held my breath and sat down. I never made it to the rest of my classes that afternoon or for the next week. Alan and I chilled in my dorm, burned incense and plotted a protest. The whole time I was telling him he had to be literal with the cause. It couldn't be just because the college bookstore sold shot glasses, but confiscated any paraphernalia they found in the dorms.
'*******,I say. It's hypocritical and a scam. Like police pulling you over for going two-miles over the limit because they need to feed their kids. It's a Darwin rip-off.'
“Later that week he took my phone while I was sleeping, got my number, and Sunni's too. He never asked if he could come over after that night. He just did.
'I thought it was cool since we had a good time.'
"I didn't know what to say so I let it continue. His reason for stealing Sunni's number still baffles me. He said he thought she was a girl I was into. She was my sister, he was right in his own way. It was a while before he ever texted her.
“The next time I saw him he told me, 'I feel like a clockwork man running on thousands of gallons of caffeine.' I laughed at him and told him to stop reading Burgess.”
I stop Timothy for a moment. “Anthony Burgess? The author of A Clockwork Orange?” He nods and goes back to the story.
“You know, with the Second Cold War flaring up again I don't think it's wise to be worrying about an old man like me. This has been a century of second fillings. There are still Hipsters running about. This makes me feel no better. I want to go home.”
“Alright Mr. Glasser, but can we reschedule? I need to finish this article.” As he rises out of the chair, he agrees and goes for his coat.
“One more question, Mr. Glasser. Can you give me another quote from Alan? A bit of closing for this bit?
He turns around and looks me in the eye for the first time since the beginning of the interview. He squints his eyes at me and says, “When we would hang out at the gazebo where we actually met for the first time, and after that week I got back in the habit of going to class and doing my work. As I would leave I'd say, 'Alright man, I'm off to class, to learn and stuff.' He'd moan about it, and say, 'Look at him now, growing old and dying young.' Behind that same pompous grin."
Pardon that it is fiction, but poetry has inspired this short-short story. Maybe the beginning of work on my novel, but it is along the same lines as "This is why the Hipster dies".
Leah Rae Oct 2012
They Are Lost Love Letters. Written & Sculpted, Imprinted On The Palms Of Praying Children.

They Are Hauntingly Beautiful.

They Are The Silence Of The Storm, They Are The Emptiness Of Shallow Graves.

All She Left Was “I'm Sorry” On The Bathroom Mirror In Red Lipstick, She's Said It So Many Times Her Body Is Now Bent Into A Permanent Benediction Of Regret.

He Wrote Five Drafts Of His Suicide Note Crossed Every T, Dotted Every I.

Now They Wear Self Inflicted Scars, Like Road Maps To Their Own Insanity.

It Was Her Palm Across The Diner Table At 3am. Her Skin Like Rose Petals Pressed In Submission, Smiling, Teeth Pulled Taunt Across Her Chapped Lips, Smiling, Telling Me She Hasn't Eaten In Three Days, Says The Sounds Of Her Body Eating Her Alive Helps Her Sleep At Night.

His Eyes, Angry And Blue, Told Me He Put A Down Payment On His Coffin Today. He'd Been Saving His Pennies For Five Years Now, Don't Tell Me This Wasn't Premeditated.

It Was The Way Her Body Vibrated Aching In Every Joint, Throbbing, Screaming Into Herself So Loudly Her Palms Shook. On The Way To Work In The Morning, Says Sometimes She Can Hear The Wind Whispering To Step In Front Of That Train, Says She Can Lick Her Lips And Taste Heaven.

The Way He Wore A Crooked Half Smile, Pouring GunShot After Gunshot Down His Throat. The Sting Reminded Him Of Wintertime In The Midwest, Told Me Could Feel The Tubes Clawing Their Way Down His Throat. Someday He'll Met A Heart Monitor With The Guts To Tell His Mother Sorry For Him, Because He Never Could.

She Filled Her Bathtub With Ice, She Fantasizes About The Layers Of Flesh Shes Been Suffocating In For So Long, Finally Being Numb.

The Way He Begged The Stars To Call Him Home, Closed His Eyes, As His Right Foot Craved The Gas Pedal, Screaming Through This Red Light, So He Can Finally Come Face To Face With The Angry God So Many People Pray To.

She Wanted To Trace The Lineage Of Her Family Tree Deep Into Her Veins, Up The Length Of Her Riverbed Skin, Until She Can Kiss The Underside Of Her Own Touch.

In The Early Hours Of The Morning, He Finds Himself Crawling On Bruised Hands & Scraped Knees, Cradled Against Train Tracks, He Liked The Constant Thunder In His Ribcage, The Promise Of Something So Much Bigger Than Him Dwelling Inside The Body He Has Been Calling Home.

She Wanted To Wrap The Tether Of Regret Around Her Throat, Ring Her Lungs Breathless, Tighter, Tighter, Until The Time Between The Rise And Fall Of Her Chest Felt Like Centuries.

He Stood Face To Face With A Motionless Sky, A Shade Of Grey So Empty He Could Feel It Ache Inside Of Him. It Begged Him To Step Forward, Just Inches, The Call Of The Void, Bridge Jumper, Harlequin Lost Lover, So Close, So Close.

She Held The Barrel Of Life Between Her Lips, A Fine Line Between Here And There. Shes Walking A Boundary Built In Her Blood. It Doesn't Hurt Yet. A Trigger Happy Hand, Palms Sweating, Shes Counting Down In Her Head, 3, 2, 1,

He's Got “Wide Awake” Written All Over Him, The Bottle Says Take One, But He's Got 53 In The Palm Of His Hand, She's Got Gasoline Seeping Into Her Skin, The Smell Of Smoke Has Never Been This Strong.

They've Been Journaling Their Lives Deep Into Leather-bound Notebooks For Someone To Remember, They've Swallowed Their Own Self Pity, Call It Poison.

She  Never Knew I Would Have Used My Fingertips As Windshield Wipers For Her Tears. I Would Have Placed My Open Palms Against His Chest, And Told Him He Mattered, At Least To Me, In This Moment, Brash And Reckless Healing,

They Told Me They Found A Muse In The Lost. Hopeless Melodies, Kurt Cobain. Sylvia Path With Stones In Her Pockets. ****** With Cyanide Tablets And Silver Born Bullets. Anne Sexton With Carbon-Monoxide Lungs And A Padlocked Volkswagen. Marilyn Monroe Silver Studded In Sedatives, Pulled Down Deep, Until There Was Nothing Left. Hemingway With Shotgun Shells Littering His Skull.

To Them It Seemed Like A Right Of Passage. A Last Attempt To Leave This Planet Screaming. A Better Than Goodbye. Something Poetic To Carve Into Your Skin, Or Flip Top Wooden Desk, So Someone Somewhere Would Remember The Name, Because They Were Told Legends Never Die.
This one is real personal. Hope it resonates with you, like it does with me.
Holly Salvatore Aug 2013
Under a big tent
Topped with stars and
Smelling of elephants
A couple of daredevils
Toss in their trailer
Restless in the Midwest

Their golden suits shimmer
In the Iowa half light
The cornstalks talk in
The breezes passing by
At night the daredevils whisper
About what it would be like to really fly
And not just on the trapeze
They kiss goodnight and dream of impossibilities

Times are changing
Since the war it's been mostly women
In the crowds the circus draws
They scream at the lions
Roar at the strongman
Gasp and applaud the two daredevils
Enthusiastically
Happily
Making love in the sky

Times are changing
Since his number came up
She's been lonely
Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri
Her gold suit is covered in farm dust
Growing nothing much
Her husband is on a bombing raid over Nazis
He's finally flying
Helped by an airplane
B52s and bloodshot eyes
No longer dreaming of impossibilities but
Missing his safety net

Since he left she's been thinking about cannons
Popcorn, scrap metal
and hoping against solo acts
She's been dreaming of
What it's like to be shot at
Really take risks
Really feel out of breath
And her husband's been writing her letters
About white picket fences

"The daredevil life that we wanted is so much worse than we thought it would be. Let that sweet silent net catch you and lie quietly thinking of me."

Times are changing
And so is he
Times are changing
And she feels like world shaking
She can hear the wolves blowing it down

But she keeps up her stunts
And keeps up her spirits
Till one day the bearded lady is screaming
Her name from the floor of the tent
Up on that tightrope she pauses
A second
There's two grim faced servicemen
Her daredevil husband is dead
Flying a mission over Dresden
Just another casualty of a world at war
Another daredevil in a dogfight and
Now one less mouth for the circus to feed

Suddenly she's high up in the stratosphere
Breathing fumes
And from the tightrope she faints
I've given him my heart, given him my onliness
She rests in her gold suit
Cradled by the safety net he warned her to hang on to
And in her dreams she can't help thinking
Maybe she dodged a suburban bullet

Times have changed
And since the war's end
The leftover men
Have gotten married
And she's been doing nothing
But lying awake in her bed
Thinking
Picturing cannons mauling
White picket fences
Her body in a gold suit
Broken on the green grass
She needs distance and airtime
To cull this restlessness
Get out of the Midwest
**** his conspicuous missingness
And come up with a solo act
To keep her fed

In the morning she finds the ringmaster
Hungover in the hay of the elephant stalls
In the morning she's made a decision
To fly like a cannonball
Through a dreamland
Times are changing
And since she woke up
She's dressed in her gold suit
Setting fire to the average
Dreaming of impossibilities
This started out being about Reba and then it turned into a short story and then it turned into a poem and I guess it's a character study now.
Donald Guy Nov 2012
A late hour. Don't even look at the clock.
Every fiber of my good sense yells go to
sleep and I do not. Every bit of logic
understands that I need to wake in fewer
hours than I needed to sleep in the first place
Still I sit here
Listening to music.
Writing a poem. Staring idly
at a browser window. The lights are on, the blinds
drawn. When the sun begins to rise, I will not see it
I've seen several sunrises recently
I remember what they look like.
In the midwest somewhere, a tweaker sits
awake for the third day. Chasing vapor and ghosts
He's seen the sunrise too, perhaps an hour later
He may or may not remember
We run from the cousin, but he finds us
The sandman cometh. And
Enter night
and what dreams may come
Locked in the struggle we all lose,
Running from comfort and sanity at full-speed

                                     10.03.11
                                     D.B. Guy
_Poems in Autumn_. #5 of 7 .
Nods to John Wieners' The Hotel Wently Poems (particularly "A poem for vipers") & William Corbett's MIT course 21W.756 Writing and Reading Poems
I left you suspended in the air
as a single thought expelled
from a Southwest flight back from Oregon

Everything is suspended in the air –
the New York woman rushing through her beef sandwich to my left
the woman at the window seat writing
love letters to the woman who will pick her up at the airport

and the way I imagined landing on the same runway as you
back home, realizing sometimes
turbulence remains even after landing

realizing there is a reason we had the same destination
but flew at different times. So much so that
the New York woman next to me could be you
and I her beef sandwich – chewed quietly, regrettably
Surrationality Feb 2014
Knowing the true
Midwest
Is knowing the power of
Rain
Ston Poet Dec 2015
Uhh,..(I can't sleep3)..(I'm up,Yeah2)..Uhh, Yeah..(I can't sleep3)..I gotta stay grinding more yeah..Uhh..(no I can't sleep6)..I (can't sleep3), I gotta keep writing till I'm dead & gone,yeah..Aye..(I can't sleep6),can't sleep...I gotta keep working hard .Aye..(no I can't sleep3)..(I can't sleep3), (can't sleep.3).Imma keep rolling *** , sativa..Aye..(I can't sleep, no I can't sleep4)..,I gotta keep grinding yeah, some more..,.Uhh, Yeah..(I can't sleep3)...no (I can't sleep.3)
No I can't homie..yeah I'm doing the most, Yeah..,
/I (can't sleep2)/3.
(I can't sleep3)..Insomnia, Yeah,..(I can't sleep3)..I gotta lot of moves & money to make,& I'm in pursuit homie..I can't sleep..I'm up..Yeah

Ayo, I'm spitting this dope man listen up..Ayo yeah I'm spitting the truth my ***** so blast this **** loud..Uhh


I'm in my Trap man, rapping & packaging this hard to flood the streets wit, I'm investing in my tounge *****,..I'm slanging dope with communication, Yeah my language, ***** its a craft to do what I'm doing,.. I'm so good with writing raps..I should apply to Atlanta Art Institution, (I can't sleep2)..(I'm up2)..man I'm too focus, I'm so hungry, physically & mentally Yeah,..(I can't sleep2)..(I'm up2)..just like a crack fein chasing after its last high mane,..I'm tryna get higher, I'm so tired of rolling  ****** up, so I'm grinding, so I can have alot of dat funky stuff up in my brain, no I can't get enough of the funk my *****..Yeah,Yeah

I'm in full speed,.. I'm going so fast homie,.. Like a  NASCAR race mane, you demons better stay outta my way or yo *** will get raned over just like what Tony Stewart did to Kevin Ward..R.I.P homie, no disrespect to his family, I'm just saying don't mess wit me..because (I don't play3)..Naw mane..I'm bout what I say,..Noo..(I don't play3)..Imma grown *** man, no baby steps no more homie..Aye
(I can't sleep2)
I'm up (all day
2)..
noo
(I can't sleep2)
I got money to take & make..noo
(I can't sleep
2)
I got alot of moves (to make2)..No
(I can't sleep
2)
I got alot of **** (to Bake..2)
Aye..


Aye, I stay up 24/7..,I gottas to get it...I'm very impatient, I'm pushing my self to the limit, I'm pushing my self no peer pressure, **** who else gonna push me nobody else will man..Ayo
I'm inspiring the youth homie,Ayo..Im inspired by myself, mane I look in the mirror man, & be like (got ****
2)..You the truth Drew, Fo show..(Yeah4).., & I ain't cocky or conceited, my ***** I motivate myself..Yeah..Aye

(I can't sleep
3)..***** I'm up next..(Uhh2)..(Yeah2)..(I can't sleep2)..** I'm the best..(I can't sleep3)..***** I'm the man Yess..(I can't sleep2)..I'm up & writing hits *****,..(I can't sleep3)..,I'm grinding.. (I can't sleep3)..I'm  searching, tryna find where success lives..Yeah I'm hungry, like a lion..Aye..(I can't sleep3)..

Imma diamond, Im so fly man,..I'm so higher than anyone else,..yeah Im so unique, Ayo, Imma  g, Aye (I can't sleep3)..its so hard to get some rest like I lived (on the streets,3) Ayo, I'm tryna feed (my family3) mane,..I'm fighting for my family like John Q homie, I'm doing the impossible anybody could of done it tho, but these ****** just to ***** for the part so Im playing the role, Ayo, I'm staying true to myself always no matter what, I will never ever fold, I will never change for the fame, **** having  a fraudulent sound, forget a major label, nobody bossing me around, I'm commanding myself dawg..I'm in a position of authority no Cartman..Uhh, Imma young southern ***** wit a  Midwest Flow..,Aye, I roll up for depression, that's my medicine Yess..mane I ain't regreting nothing , I'm looking past all of the dumb **** I  ever did do, I'm growing stronger, like the Hulk , Im teaching myself control..but im still uncontrollable..Aye my rhymes make parents uncomfortable, **** it have your lil son trying dresses on, I did the best that I could do..I'm here to uplift you  & inspire, not take you to hell  dude..Uhh

(Don't try me
2)..*****, OFTR we camed from nothing now all we do is get stares , the people finally starting to notice what's real, man we was famous in our minds already, (confidence,)
when the doubters & haters thought of us as a bunch of lazy *** ******..man, we was winning even before they ever started to  take notice, Aye, we was winning even tho we  took alot of losses,..OFTR we prevail, Thank God for everything without him I would never had wrote this..Ayo
You gotta learn from the past mistakes,  move past them, & try to never make them again mane dawg, never take any breaks, keep practicing, untill you fall out, & lose consciousness..never give up, & never give in , Yeah you win some, Yeah you lose some, but your heart still beats,..so keep breathing.. (Go harder, Yeah2)..*****,.. Uhh

(I can't sleep
3)..,Naw (I can't sleep3)..Insomnia,.. Uhh, play this song over & over again if you  are feeling down, sad & depress ..I'll uplift ya..Uhh..,..I can't sleep

I can't sleep
6..
I gotta stick to what I know.
I gotta stay on go..
stonpoet.tumblr.com
he stands paces searches out windows feeling headache considers no matter who you are where you live we all come from same place a ****** he scribbles all i hear is *****, ***** ***** ***** new york ***** california ***** nordic ***** parisian italian spanish british irish japanese polynesian ***** ***** from all over the world ***** next door new ***** at work all the foxy ******* running around town ***** whipped pussyfooting ***** juice ***** lips colors flavors aromas squirters gushers hairy ***** ******* pierced ***** droopy swollen wet dry irritated itchy incontinent stinky ***** we are a nation of ***** obsessives he imagines Federal Bureau of ***** as an FBP agent he can show badge civilly detain any female especially those with thick dark eyebrows or difficult to decipher yet trained eye can discern fat lips within his authority to direct her to expose ***** excuse me ma’am but your eyebrows warrant examination of your bush please assume position this won’t take any longer than is necessary sometimes certain detainee’s inspections require unrestricted scrutinyhe thinks why don’t governments militaries realize power of *****? instead of inventing employing weapons of mass destruction why not use ******* to distract ****** young male soldiers? imagine furry rabbit rockets with pink twitchy noses floppy wet lips darting through air shooting everywhere distinctly resembling smell taste warm ***** yet fatal mechanisms that could attach **** **** consume who could resist? probably someone would come up with ***** defense system (PDS) which would intercept scudding ******* before they reached intended targetshe wakes up early disorientated turns on tv commercial TUMS blares in groggy dyslexic state by mistake he reads backwards sees **** on tv questions what is this place i lived in? america fat turkey on map with brains in new york city *** in d.c. paw in miami stomach in midwest ******* in california nested on egg over mexico he writes i envision statue of liberty alive real beautiful woman little children tumble run around her giggling laughing innocently playing hide and seek with her gown then some bigger older men approach offer her gifts to pull up her dress do other things she appears startled at them refusing to accept their crass proposals men continue to bring more gifts promise her things despite her cold-shoulder suddenly she appears worried perhaps she is thinking about someone special maybe her family men’s offers keep piling higher eventually she breaks down accepts their proposals men gather around her very close i cannot see what they are doing but can hear whispering conspiring heavy breathing then i see her hand reach out all at once she spills burning torch catching fire to gown
Molly Smithson May 2014
Moving amidst my Ramona chapter books,
I make out your movement, M, the moody turns
Of your mounts and valleys, the moniker of

Family names, you marked me like a maternal
Emblem of the generation’s matriarch,
You mingled amid reminiscences of former matrons  

Maria Helena from the Midwest,
Who crossed the mountains in a wagon,
Madeleine, a migrant from Marseilles,

Who baked warm loaves in San Francisco,
And her own daughter, my Mimi,
Who muttered merde while she drank martinis.

In my own time, you materialized in
Marjorie, my nana, and Maria, my mom,
The women in which I knew you growing up,

Then Molly, who made dreams out of
Magic and Movies and Marie Antoinette,
You embellished my most favorite things.

In my monogram, you aimed my impulses
in your masts’ diametric directions
Towards competence, towards imagination.

In your middle ‘s mysterious compartment I make snug
With magazines and novels and mugs of hot milk.
You nuzzled me in moments of melancholy, then motivated me

To meander among your fundamental family,
The sumptuous L of melt and mélange,
The meticulous N of man or monk or money.

Even W, which matches your mien in mirror
It warped wicked witch while you
Milled maidens and damsels, so I imagined

The mutilation of those two majuscules formed
My image of womanhood. M, Molly Smithson materialized
From a meek mademoiselle into the mistress of mischief.
You could feel it in the atmosphere
Things were set to change
The girl from the Midwest was here
And things got mighty strange

She came from Kansas, the mid west
She was country through and through
But when she came in wearing that red vest
You never knew what she would do

She's a Kansas sized tornado
coming back from Kansas way
You couldn't click your heels
to get back home
This girl, she came to play
Like the storm that dropped
Upon the witch
This girl, she was a force
No red shoes there to help you out
You'd best get on your horse

Not a big girl..full of fight
You'd best stay back a bit
She was wound up really tight
And she knew just how to hit

Leaving damage in her wake
Seemed to be what she did best
Just leave her be when she comes in
And she's wearing that **** vest


She's a Kansas sized tornado
coming back from Kansas way
You couldn't click your heels
to get back home
This girl, she came to play
Like the storm that dropped
Upon the witch
This girl, she was a force
No red shoes there to help you out
You'd best get on your horse

Flying monkees in the sky
couldn't stop the storm she brought
She was nasty trouble, by and by
Like a devil can't be caught

You'd kick your heels and wish she'd leave
Back with the wicked witch
Cause when she showed up in our bar
That night would be a *****

She's a Kansas sized tornado
coming back from Kansas way
You couldn't click your heels
to get back home
This girl, she came to play
Like the storm that dropped
Upon the witch
This girl, she was a force
No red shoes there to help you out
You'd best get on your horse
From 3 p.m. Monday to 3 p.m. Tuesday
<h2>Police calls
<h3>LA CROSSE
3:39 p.m., Hit-and-run, 4400 block of Hwy. 16
4:11 p.m., Theft, 3700 block of Hwy. 16
4:41 p.m., Hit-and-run, 1100 block of State St.
5:37 p.m., Domestic disturbance, 1000 block of Charles St.
5:42 p.m., Theft, 2100 block of Liberty St.
5:59 p.m., Fight, Fourth and King sts.
8:08 p.m., Theft, 2400 block of Rose St.
8:08 p.m., Domestic disturbance, 400 block of Sixth St.
8:37 p.m., Domestic disturbance, 1000 block of Fifth Ave. S.
10:14 p.m., Domestic disturbance, 1600 block of Adams St.
11:32 p.m., Domestic disturbance, 1400 block of Avon St.
2:38 a.m., Domestic disturbance, 900 block of 16th St.
8:25 a.m., Theft, 3300 block of Rosehill Place
8:25 a.m., Theft, 1000 block of Ninth St.
8:26 a.m., Theft, 500 block of Main St.
8:26 a.m., Theft, 1400 block of Johnson St.
8:34 a.m., Theft, 400 block of Seventh St.
9:24 a.m., Entry to dwelling, 1600 block of Caledonia St.
9:51 a.m., Theft, 400 block of Liberty St.
11:01 a.m., Fraud, first block of Copeland Ave.
12:16 p.m., Entry to dwelling, 1000 block of State St.          
<h3>ONALASKA
6:06 p.m., Animal bite, 2600 block of Midwest Drive
<h3>WEST SALEM
7:40 a.m., Vandalism, 3400 block of Hwy. 16
12:13 p.m., Theft, 900 block of Hwy. 16
<h3>BANGOR
9:24 a.m., Theft, 1800 block of Commercial St.
<h2>Fire Calls
<h3>LA CROSSE
3:01 p.m., Accident with injury, Fourth and Mississippi sts.
4:11 p.m., Accident with injury, 4500 block of Hwy. 33
4:26 p.m., Accident with injury, Hwy. 16 and 157
5:45 p.m., First responders, 700 block of Oakland St.
6:18 p.m., First responders, 1800 block of Pine St.
6:40 p.m., Accident with injury, Main and Fourth sts.
9:27 p.m., Natural gas odor, 700 block of Ninth St. N.
10:16 p.m., First responders, 1600 block of Adams St.
10:20 p.m., First responders, 900 block of Vine St.
1:54 a.m., First responders, 4100 block of Velmar Court
8:34 a.m., First responders, 400 block of Seventh St.
9:01 a.m., First responders, 400 block of Seventh St.
10:41 a.m., Accident with injury, Ninth and Vine sts.
10:45 a.m., Carbon monoxide report, 1500 block of Main St.
10:46 a.m., First responders, 400 block of Gillette St.
11:04 a.m., Accident with injury, 1300 block of Rose St.
11:10 a.m., First responders, 1500 block of Rose St.
11:14 a.m., First responders, Fourth and King sts.
11:31 a.m., Accident with injury, 16th and Main sts.
12:05 p.m., Accident with injury, 200 block of Pearl St.
1:12 p.m., Accident with injury, Hood and Miller sts.
2:26 p.m., Accident with injury, 21st St. and Park Ave.
<h3>ONALASKA
3:30 p.m., First responders, 1000 block of Westview Circle
5:09 p.m., Accident with injury, 1200 block of Hwy PH
8:02 p.m., First responders, 300 block of 12th Ave.
8:43 p.m., First responders, 300 block of 12th Ave.
8:50 p.m., First responders, 200 block of Oak Forest Drive
9:47 p.m., First responders, 200 block of Carol Lane
6:12 a.m., First responders, 1000 block of Frances Court
10:41 a.m., First responders, 7200 Northshore Lane
11:27 a.m., Accident with injury, Grant St. and Hwy. SN
11:35 a.m., Accident with injury, Commerce and Abbey roads
11:53 a.m., Accident with injury, 300 block of 11th Ave.
12:14 p.m., First responders, 5500 block of Commerce Road
1:08 p.m., First responders, 400 block of Kimberly St.
1:42 p.m., Accident with injury, 600 block of Second Ave.
<h3>HOLMEN
9:59 p.m., First responders, 1500 block of Viking Ave.
10:50 a.m., Accident with injury, Sand Lake Road and Laurel Place
1:32 p.m., Accident with injury, 1400 block of Main St.
<h3>WEST SALEM
8:53 a.m., First responders, 500 block of Elm St.
11:09 a.m., First responders, 300 block of Franklin St.
<h3>MELROSE
1:21 p.m., First responders, 9700 block of Hwy. 108
Colleen Mary May 2015
You have officially left the Midwest.
You've always been toxic to me.
Even now that you're gone, your poison drips off my lips.
I swore I blocked you out for good months before you left-yeah ******* right.
My scars from never being enough for you had just started to heal.
Then, one day I got curious and wondered if you would even respond.
Another chance to mess with me? OF COURSE you answered.
2 months and you'd be outta here was what I came to learn, you had nothing to lose.
**** it, what was I thinking?
******* for everything oh and ******* even more for everything that you know you should be sorry for but choose to ignore.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm not...
You are still bitter towards that girl who ****** with your head and only said she loved you,you'll never let that go.
I have come to accept you will always cling on to her or at least the idea of her and allow nobody else to be better, um good luck with that.
I hope one day I find everything I deserve in a place thousands of miles from you.
Out of the Midwest is where you belong and I will not give her your best.
~CMD
Anna Miller Oct 2017
I.
It was the beginning of a mild Indiana summer, the kind when your lips are still recovering from being chapped through the inconsistently cool Midwest spring and your skin starts to stick to vinyl when pressed against it for too long. It was a summer of cold-sweat chronic nightmares and letting go. This is when I told you I would be leaving that fall, said I was doing it for myself, said it would be good for you, too. I’m not sure if you believed that. I’m not sure if I did, either.

II.
I spend the morning of the move on the living room floor with all my things strewn out in front of me, figuring out what to leave. I watch the light filter through the blinds, shifting across the floor, trying to guess where it would end up when I finally depart. I clean the bathroom for an hour, trying to leave everything prettier than what I had made it. Don’t worry about it, you said, it will all be a mess later, anyway. When I shut the front door behind me, it sounds different. Absolute. I circle the cul-de-sac three times trying not to cry, watching the trees start to shed their skin. I wonder if you saw me.

III.
We play phone tag for weeks as I try to put off the inevitable. In a stroke of bad luck, the real you answers on a bitter Sunday evening, instead of the recorded message I had heard so much it now sounded like a dirge. I say nothing at first, and then everything I possibly can. I did all I could; I tried to make it up to you, you reply, ambivalent. I agreed even though I hadn’t wanted to.

IV.
We took a Polaroid of our hands clasped together the last day we saw each other. I later cut it in half and threw it out with some rotting orange peels. I had wanted to burn it but remembered how I get around fire. I retake the photo somewhere on the west coast with my new boyfriend. I call it a memorial. I finally say goodbye to your red sweater long after I had already done it to you. I wash it five times trying to get you out of it, pressing it into my skin to make it all mine. When it doesn’t work, I throw it out to rot in refuse with the Polaroid and the orange peels. I call it giving up.

V.
I am such an unreliable narrator, how I paint myself tragic victim in every story, and you, culprit. I wonder if I’ll ever let you be the martyr. I think maybe you were the one who suffered, even though I’m told that can’t be true. It’s just Stockholm syndrome, my therapist says about the way I condemn and praise you in the same breath. I still don’t believe her. I think about my grandmother and her mother and my mother and me, and all their bad blood in my body. I tell her victims can be monsters, too.
SJ Sullivan Jan 2016
I'm trying to meet new people and everything in between.
I like to get drunk on patios, porches, tailgates, and float trips, and any outdoor scenario.
I have a definite weakness for all things sweet.
Pipeline rig welder in the making.
Ask me, voted most likely to succeed in highschool.
I watch too much netflix and enjoy crying over Frank Ocean.
I am going to sue the **** out of you.
I'm a guy that sometimes carries a pocket thesaurus.
Socially conscious dude who probably drinks too much.
Amateur chef. Banjo Jedi.
New to this Midwest life.
Found poetry from tinder descriptions.
October Oct 2013
to write a poem about you
the fleeting, unknown presence of you
a seeming hippie in flight
dislocated to these locked lands of 'might'
i might, i may
you are a presence of try and some day
a enforcer of push
and hitter of that beautiful, blossoming kush
you will bleed from these layered grasses of country sorrow
off to a greater and better tomorrow
rooted in a new proclaimed essence of you
those lands will wash and embed your coded hands of can do
Natasha Twinkle Nov 2010
For I am exceedingly rushed,
And have no time for such,
An in-opinionated and hushed,
State of mind that I find,
You to possess.
Nat Lipstadt Sep 2014
je pense bien à toi
(i think well of you)

Have not chatted in awhile,
me rutted in NYC,
a city of constant tear down
and sometimes flashy urban human
renewal...

While you,
you getting on with life,
growing up, growing down,
buying clothes for a new school season,
or growing children,
or boxing up now grandchildren memories of memories...
falling in love, writing poetry all about it...

You,
in Nepal, Malaysia, India,
Seattle, Portland, and the Florida's panhandle,
the US Midwest sainted hinterlands,
the South, that makes one love water,
water that has travelled from the faraway,
island continent of professorial Australia,
Did I forget the Philippines?

worse sin committed,
is that in
your poetry
I have not toe dipped,
quite the long erstwhile,
after loving it with
obsession devotion...

so just a Saturday afternoon
note penned just to you
and you alone...

je pense bien à toi
(i think well of you)

So by way of apology,
craft a poem for you exclusive,
more than each word, letter,
every syllable, tongue tasted
for conjuctivity,
breadth and thus discovered
notes of red soil, raspberry, lemon,
even a hint of sweet masquerading as a
salty kindness in our veins,
our unique vintage of connectivity

Your hand to my lips raised,
grasped twice, by mine both,
slow lifting with stature, affection and respect,
kiss it and whisper just enough for
we two to hear...

je pense bien à toi
(i think well of you)

even this seems weakly insufficient,
but care taken nowadays,
a new economy of words,
write less, think more, and
give up the truly deserved words only
as a mark of my fondness and respect

these come on no schedule,
often months in the making,
so forgive-me-not my unsweetened silences,
accept them with easy knowing that

je pense bien à toi
(i think well of you)

the summer man wintered in discontent,
his journey now disrupted by forces exogenous,
stealing his vision, jailing him in between
walls of indecision, knocking down
his own twin towers,
but carelessly not making provision
to tell you well and often enough

je pense bien à toi
(i think well of you)*

Sept. 13, 2014
Thank you SALLY for reminding me of this long ago poem 6/21/18
Sarah Adkins May 2015
It is on the open Midwest roads
the names of the states fade away,
as it really does all look the same.

Sunlight seems to be pouring in
from every window of our worn out Honda minivan.
The electric doors never stop rattling,
as the tires beat across these soft grey roads.

Inside this vessel I lay horizontal across the last row of seats;
all to myself, it was my cubby hole of the world,
that encased so many memories.
It is now just a place in my mind,
but at palace at that.

I am 14 years old and have "borrowed" my sisters iPod.
I shuffle through old Jason Mraz songs,
and stare at my bare feet pressed flat against the window above me.

I watch the clouds as they seem to be going in between my toes,
and once again feel the openness of this place,
my home, sink into my bones.
I think back to that last family road trip,
And I know I never left.
Nat Lipstadt Aug 2013
In a strange mood - see/write art



in a strange way, disorganized but straight on,
light tinted magenta, issuing, in frothy large pours, from my mouth,
knowing what to say, and the meaning too,
I can more than walk, can write, on water,
where all can read weeping, Mary-miracles of seeing, living words,
themselves, on light waves lapping in a
shifting rotunda vision, color reorienting spatial senses.^

in a strange, strange stitch, seasonal spirits and witches,
Chagall, Baez, Dylan Thomas, Donovan, Richie Havens
doing their knitting in my brain, from Montmartre to the Midwest to Monterey,
painters and poets in lockstep head-messing with me,
imperfect clarity but still one voice,
see/write art,
so went and caught the wind, going gently into night
to banish the hodgepodge of uncertainty from inside out.

knowing well you don't understand fully, but jumbling tumbling
verses are sliding off my rusted tongue as fiddlers fly above,
roughened words, hewn from a paper cup, spilling diamonds uncut, imported from Sarajevo, Montparnasse, the Lower East Side.
wretched me, in the hour I first believed, this amalgamated conception conceded,
seceded from my mind into your palate for a tasting,
tho neither drugged, nor deaf and dumb, just slammed poetical-like, this write is
all I have to portend is your affections, your attentions, to yours, am beholden.

a *****, well respected man in daylight,
the hidden references accuse,
woke up to see Wednes-day Caesarian born,
askance glanced at the prior passages of the night before,
when my palate clefted,
when eyes chose not to distinguish
between right and lefted,
in the nightlight,
a ***** man disrespects language convection/convention,
and lays before you activating stanzas and his mind, prone,
but always the truth, speaking,
the visions, leaking, mind to eye,
recombinant, into our minds eye.




^ http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/exhibitions/on-view/james-turrell


Rather than write extensive notes on the many references, inspirations in this poem, if there is a line that intrigues, ask me
Andrew Maitland Oct 2018
I watched the water rise. Creeping down the muddy street. As if a divine force was attempting a stealthy act of insurrection. I didn't have the heart to fight it. Had I only known.

I watched Hell's Half Acre silently succumb to the whimsical (however so pleasantly devastating) path of Gaea. Through this empowering incident I felt redemption like I never had before.

I jumped down from the platform of the livestock pen to personally welcome the satisfying force of nature's purification. The water lashed out and grabbed my leg. At that moment my jubilate spirit spoiled to uncontaminated terror. It was not a redemptive Spirit winding its way through the rail tracks but the serpent Lucifer. Had I only known.

And so in the West Bottoms Tavern I found myself under the ***** shoe of The Machine. A wayward phantom rising from our precarious Kansas River. It drifts through the sweet Midwest like the coal black locomotive smoke that paints a suffocating thick haze above the Stockyards.

A welcome slate of provision. A shelter covering us from the racial tension and poverty smothering the outside world. To those in the Bottoms with unruly desires, a saviour. To those at City Hall with loose morals, the messiah.

And it was at 1908, I nervously pulled the covers over my vulnerable body and sealed Satan's foul kiss with a diabolical red scrawl. We skipped hand in hand through the freshly paved streets of our "wide open" town. I always tried my best to look the other way but I knew full well that I travelled with a gang of thieves.

Nonetheless, everyone votes in our town. A brutal party whip keeps the Jackson County Democrats in line and "Charlie the ***" prevents any Rabbits from multiplying.

But I've been working from within the belly of a "whale" for years and I fear we've now run out of ocean. Our arranged marriage has robbed my capacity for faithful navigation. I'm seeking a radical divorce from The Beast, the cost has become inconsequential to me.

So I found genuine redemption. Finally. I closed the driver side door to my sedan and walked out to the edge of the bridge. The water below seemed whimsical (and so pleasantly devastating) in nature, much the same as it had 36 years ago. I pinned this note to the window, and with a Ready-Mixed Concrete block tied around my waist I watched the water rise.
kat Aug 2013
I was born to a folk rock princess
midwest mistress
rock n roll roads and
gasoline kisses
oil spilled souls
and windy dusted bowls
saddle up baby, I'm ready to go
don't leave me behind
in the dust and tornadoes

I was born beside greenwood graves
there are bodies beneath my feet
I can't help but think
that they were buried in vain
lost souls wandering  the districts that destroy them
empty bottles in their palm refuse to employ them
arts and crafts and coffee stops
roadside Indian antique shops
burrito shacks and littered lights
fill the streets that come alive
there are fireworks every other night

driving down the freeway fleet wood Mac in my memories
like mini golf with my father
dancing queen dreams
T.G.I.Fridays every Saturday at 5 and we didn't care
judging the smokers I couldn't help but stare

I was born jumping over chain linked fences
thunder and ice storm chasing me
away from common senses
I think I have the riverwalk blues
I think I was born breaking the rules
picking my best friend off of the floor
shoving a steak knife infront of my door
naked and Afraid
desperate to live on my own at age 8
but
my mother she's an angel
put me on a pedestal
waited back stage just in case I got too afraid
wrote a note in my lunch
every day until 8th grade
I love you baby, everything is going to be okay.
but maybe it's something inside
that this city instilled
a constant wanting to escape
the buffalo and dry hills
Cherokee blood runs red within me
flooding my heart
with the struggles of my ancestry
running far against the wind
feathers in my hair I can only pretend
but dont let this golden drilled oil  spilled eternity come to an end


ttown country sounds envelope my sheets
toss and turn in the night
to escape cali dreams
In the 7th grade i fantasized about running away
west coast beaches south side or Palm Bay
I think of all the reasons to leave
blue collared *******
Bible Belt ignorance
tornado terrors
sexist homophobic nightmares
concrete cracked and dry with history
downtown skyline etched in my memory
the smile from my barista I receive every morning
the constant reminders of my constant admiring
that Tulsa
is inspiring
and I can't leave without pulling the roots out from under me
hopefully ill plant new ones, hopefully ill stay sane
when my life has been borrowed and blown away
but I know one thing for sure, it won't be the same.

— The End —