Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Drifting back to the ocean
like it never even happened
unraveled dreams washed clean
crystalline renaissance bestowed    
by wind mountain spring waters
rising from the heart
of mother earth

A remnant light glows deeply
of one love's untamed wonders
an unfastened feather glides abandoned
rushing waters floating
alighting pilgrim blissfully sails on
stranded without wings
a fallen wild feather free as bird
wanting a place to be let free

Sun in the summer air
wind in buoyant feathered hair
softly dancing upon
wild river restless ripples
to feel the love of holding on
adrift asunder whence it touched on
destiny's far-reaching
journey yonder
holding onto flowing rivers
rolling towards the sea

The incoming tidal waters blossom
surge to greet wind river's gentle saunter
converging slackening passage
salt on feral feathered fragments
arousing currents babbling swirl
imbibed by the impassioned sea

Wild rivers' born intentions
a different kind of drifting passage
to kiss the distant horizon
where the sown sunlight settles
submerged in shoreless ocean waters
    to be free all at sea at last


someone you used to know  2017
Jesse stillwater Nov 2018
Flaming bridges up in smoke—
ashes scattered in the wind
Requiem to passing yesterdays;
vestige of all that’s lost —
bestrewn in prevailing currents
amongst the drifting autumn leaves

No smoke on rising waters
— lingers between
growing distant shores
Untamed rivers rising
rinse away
the taste of sparks
spake from silent tongues

Portaging all that once was
with all that could never remain, 
back to the briny deep 
An uncontainable
rivers pilgrimage —
entombing reverently
ancient fractals of being

Sowing feral rivers' ashes —
sacrificial scatterings of destiny
washed afar unto the flotsam
on shoreless stormy  seas


Jesse Stillwater
November 2018

Mused by a poem by melissa rose

"Spreading my ashes"
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2808566/spreading-my-ashes/
gather and collect
and then offer your sympathy
feelings deflect our sorrow and antipathy
life is brimming with good deeds
i remain steadfast in all that i seek
sweet love is among us now
her eyes and hands
feed the mouths of two rivers
i chase winter into her bed
our eyelids lift as we drift south
and lots of people desperately
cling to their doubts like old lovers
Hope White Apr 2017
When you told me you were leaving,
you said

Can't you see how different we are?

But the only difference I could ever see
is that my scars rise like flooding rivers,

And yours
sink and collapse like craters.
Katelyn Billat Sep 2017
For when he appears,
My lungs fill with flowers 
And for a moment I 
Forget to breathe.



The slumberling caterpillar 
In my stomach
Performs metamorphosis
And flutters around
Trying to break free.



The rivers named veins
Fill and rush to my chest,
To my head and
I forget to think.



For when he smiles,
His eyes come alive,
And I wonder
Does he thinks of me this way.
wichitarick Sep 2018
RIVERS MAKES ME QUIVER

Youthful mind left wandering just feeling the wetness from yards into the curbs

Ripples running curbside over toes, forming those first streams for a meandering mind

Clouds collecting power,mists collecting,forming Drop by drop rains flowing into their reserves  

High mountain lakes reflecting their passion, partitioned by beavers to make their own pond

  Broken into brooks flowing faster downward into streams,cool and clear their taste like sweet liqueurs

Beauty not confined to a torrent but gifted with greenery and wildlife ,flowers that make the forests more confident

Trickles forming into cascades downward making outpourings & overflows waterfalls forced through the fissures

Gravity needs spaces we watch as it heightens then widens,making it's way through the continent quickly becoming most prominent

Admire her beauty but reap her rewards,wet bounty to feed the fields, food for fishes ,generations receive her treasures

Canoeists,kayakers or legendary steamboat captains are fond of their flowing, boys wondering where she will go ,knowing our tears of joy will flow to the sea should be our greatest compliment. R.C.
Nice memories from time spent on or in some favorite rivers,but also how great a part they play in our lives and the geography . Thanks for reading ,your thoughts are helpful. Rick
Sanjali Sep 2018
Perhaps it’s been a thousand years,
the rivers have shifted so,
the lakes I swam in, have gone dry
the waterfalls though, overflow.
And so it is, that I have wandered back
tugged furiously throughout days
by this rugged tinkling thread
back to this ancient maze.

Most surely it’s been several weeks
the leaves are rough to touch,
the grass withers where I step
but trees don’t ask for much.
And so it is, that I have rambled on
pulled strangely through the haze,
at last I fall under the rays of morn,
My love, I’m home again.
Lost and found
Jenay Jarvis Aug 2018
It is quiet, finally.
The spiders they tell me,
That dreams are funny things-
Heavy like stones. Disappearing.

At night, it rains.
Water is on the inside,
It fills me.

It permeates the skin,
Past leveed lungs,
My mouth-a ****** dam.

The tips are bursting.
It all overpours.
Like stars thick with oil,
Like visions in a well.

Immersed- you can float here.
It's like a nameless place.
It's like falling into rivers.
Shofi Ahmed May 2017
When you stepped in my door,
I realised I was Paradise
in my heart and soul.
You were so surefooted
because you came up from the high.
So long I longed for it.
O Fathima, only to kiss your feet!

The time was so sweet,
beyond anyone’s dream
only in pure beauty
I was rendering,
screaming to new highs.
I did it my way!
Lovely bouncing on
my polished pitch,
the rivers forget to flow
back to the seas.
But no one knew
where my toe melts!
Until you did
and took me for a tread
closer to your spring,
my sweet dream:
O Fathima, only to kiss your feet!

Your so pleased man wished
to rain down with love,
but humble you hid your feet!
You blinded the moon, snowed it
away under seven seas.
No wonder it's
your winning footing.
Like the Prophet said:
I found me the heaven
beneath the mother’s feet.
O Fathima, only on your feet!
Aaron Combs Dec 2016
My beloved, tonight it is more than perfect, the zephyr winds sing
sweetly your name and the crystal stars shine like your earrings.
As the White Mountains glint gracefully, and the wind speaks
over our fingers, upon our balcony, let’s dance, my beloved.

Now over the thousand streams and star crystals in the air,
You can see our prayers fill up the milky rivers in the sky.
Below the lights of Christmas, before the blue rivers of stars,
let’s dance like the shadows and the circles of the moonlight.

Now dreams rise over like the wind and shine so easily
But time falls quickly, and worries fall away so slowly.
So let the rage of your fears dance around and under your legs.
For the world is falling asleep, calling for the colors of their dreams.

So let the tresses of your hair fall freely,
And the wind of your perfume
Soak up the flames of your heart.
Spinning like the starlight, tasting every feeling,
Let the steel blue sky and its stars fall all around you.

Dance wildly, my beloved, let's dance like the songbird who sings,
let’s dance forever, until we wash into the skyline of our dreams.
A Daily Poem
Salmabanu Hatim Aug 2018
My love,my heart,
I will love you till the day the Sun and the moon hug,
And the stars frown with jealousy.
We will be married by Eros the God of Love,
In my dream Castle at the edge of a small cliff.
I will be blindfolded like Eros to show my love for you is blind.
The bridesmaids will be Angels on wings carrying bows and arrows and blowing kisses,
The birds will sing"Here  Comes The Bride",
Ares the father of Eros will give you away,
Aphrodite will bless us so we have a sensual love life and many children.
On our wedding day the rivers will climb the mountains,
The fishes will fly in the sky,
The flowers will bloom in the ocean,
The trees will glitter with gold,
The leaves will be studded with emeralds,
The fruits will have diamond seeds.
People will turn into animals and animals will turn to handsome and pretty people.
Love,we will have the wedding of the century.
Hyperbole:Exaggerated  statements not to be taken literally.
h a r Mar 2017
A sound was heard at my
garden door
A feathered smudge found upon it

There she lay in frightened
trembling dismay
   A giant knelt ...
yet still towering above her

He reached out and touched
her pounding heart
Then cupped her warmth
in his hand

She stayed awhile until
she could smile
At the kindly human mystery

This love they shared
is uncommonly rare
She knew she could be freed

Before she flew
she whispered a song she knew
into the gentle giant’s  beard :

“I cannot make you happy
You're a wounded Bird like me ―
be Free...
you must find the strength to Fly”…

"A Bird in your hand
  is worth two in the bush ―

   Come fly away with me"...



March 2012 © harlon rivers ... all rights reserved
.
Thank you so much for the special feature this simple heartfelt poem has been allowed.  It is based on actual events that happen often where habitat
meets civilization.  As humans we can mitigate this footprint left behind by lifting the weight of caring with actions that speck louder than words. Who among us has not needed a helping hand when we are struggling with the unexpected?  Moments we must find the strength to carry on with a little help from our friends?

   Find the strength to fly ―

Written March 1st, 2012
reposted from my original account
.
Passion Pete Oct 2018
He is the way into the city of woe,
He sees all dark deeds
but doesn't care so.
He'll take me wherever
I've been sent to go,
But at least someone accepts my sorrow.

Over the cliff and down, down.
When there is no more descending.
Styx, Acheron, and Phlegethon are one now.
And the Lake is unending.

I'll see them all.
I'll see them all.
Tammy M Darby Jan 2014
Evening slipped into the long abyss
So fell the red moon
Malicious shadows forecasting doom
For the cursed animal man
Inhabiting the precious earth

Fearsome rolling rivers ran dry
Black smoke filled the spanning azure skies
The churning murky green oceans gave up the bones of their dead
When the moon turned red

The crust of the hard ground shook
Split and burst into deep fiery crevasses
Dark yellow orange smoldering nooks
Swallowing all of life
So obliterated was mans world as we know it
Destroyed
Barron and dead
When the moon turned red

This poem is copyrighted and stored in author base. All material subject to Copyright Infringement laws
Section 512(c)(3) of the U.S. Copyright
Act, 17 U.S.C. S512(c)(3), Tammy M. Darby Jan.10, 2014
Jordan Hudson Sep 2018
It's collapsing from beneath us
Tearing us apart
Faster than light further from the start
Have much fright for this dangerous barren land
My words may end up killing every popular band
Where will we go, what do we do, when do we see
What we are really here for, save it for the tree
Those who question will go beneath everything, (let me show, let me show, yeah, yeah, let me show)
Further than we go, further than we know
Beneath all the islands and all of the Russian snow
Beneath all the Middle Eastern sand far as it goes
Beneath the American badlands (here, let me show)
Canyons, rivers, oceans and sea
Believe me, it's nothing, my music is free
Take these unjust words and listen carefully
Yeah, it may sound like I teach geography
But trust me, I'm just saying you have to be aware
Of what's around you, it just isn't fair
We stare at a screen that tell us what to do
Tells us what to do, yeah, tells us what to do
We stare at a screen that tells us what to do
Tells us what to do, yeah, tells us what to do
We stare at a screen that tells us what to do
Tells us what to do, yeah , tells us what to do
It's collapsing from beneath us
Tearing us apart
Faster than light further from the start
Have much fright for this dangerous barren land
My words may end up killing every popular band
Where will we go, what do we do, when do we see
What we are really here for, save it for the tree
Those who question will go beneath everything, (let me show, let me show, yeah, yeah, let me show)
Further than we go, further than we know
Beneath all the islands and all of the Russian snow
Beneath all the Middle Eastern sand far as it goes
Beneath the American badlands (here, let me show)
Canyons, rivers, oceans and sea
Believe me, it's nothing, my music is free
Take these unjust words and listen carefully
Yeah, it may sound like I teach geography
But trust me you have to be aware
Of what's around you, it just isn't fair
We stare at a screen that tell us what to do
Tells us what to do, yeah, tells us what to do
We stare at a screen that tells us what to do
Tells us what to do, yeah, tells us what to do
About phones taking over the world
Eric Pon Jul 2018
;heart made of metal, you're too hard to soothe
as an iron *****, you coldly shine smooth.
n head full of ember, your trickily burnt  fire-
With its heat licks my lips, scolding hot with desire.
And then
Voice made of water,
may you speak of unknown
rivers lakes- oceans blue
Typhoon and cyclone.

And soul made of moonstone- may
outwardly you shine,
Dance, scintillating- a
pure serpentine.
ryn Apr 2015
It's beginning...
As my day matured into the tangerine sun.
Familiar feelings effortlessly conjured as the same old tales were spun.

Some came in hues of marmalade
Traces of citrus that left in haste.
Initial sweetness on the palate that would fade
Only making way for a bitter aftertaste.

A few were wrapped in tints of ******.
A jolt-like sensation that spoke...
Intense and unmistakable in nature.
Like glowing embers engulfed in latent flames and smoke.

Several bore the colours and scent of marigold
Boasting of orange petals whimsically waving to the clouds...
Whispering hints of rumours from days of old,
Days of when mine was the only silent face in a boisterous crowd.

The ones forged in bronze were few and hardly said.
Like the only compelling excerpt embedded within infinite chapters.
Hidden words in plain sight strung together boldly in
red.
Rubies cast carelessly in the swiftest of rivers...

It is beginning...**
The end of today as the sun grew redder...
I'd bide the sands of time as it slips away into forever...
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.

**** 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
Next page