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Vera Jul 2018
Clothes have outgrown me many times over,
but this sadness never does.
One size.
fits all.
There should have been an obituary for cancer,  not you.
Wishing these slits within my skin could have been
replaced by a reality check from you, “You chose to exist.”

My name causes a sigh to escape from lips,
that do not feel like they belong to me,
the girl,
whose words always had to be special.

The schematics of hospitals like a birthmark in my brain,
born into sadness, a gut feeling as a child.
Never trusting time
due to what it delivers.

Death, being the only thing I desired.
But you, 
who I love,
endlessly-
robbed by it.
Whose ebb for life glowed so feverishly.
Stopped comparing depression to lace,
restricted the belief that suicide is poetic,
seeing things as they were.
More often than not, applauded for feeling emotions deeply.
Every second that dies, the shift of my heart quakes.

This world is not tender.

II. Sad.
I have known the flowers I wanted at my own premature funeral,
knowing how many bouquets honored you that day.

split open my veins like a dimension
reminiscent of days where I anticipated deathbeds.


My family wondered,
can we make it through another day?
Death scares me for what it has taken,
yet, I’m not afraid to die-
it’s all I deserve.
So I await the day pain erupts
from my throat,
acknowledging the days a soul
lived inside of my body-
footprints that walked,
belonging to me.

But I learned so well.
How to suffer with a smile,
dreading the beating of my heart
how unfair—
I don’t want to take these deep breaths
You deserved,while I masquerade as a member of the undead
Never outgrowing the desire to rot with the phantoms residing under my bed.


III. Jokes played by the universe.
punchlines delivered,
how could anyone to stand to be in the same room as myself?
How could anyone look over skyscrapers and sunsets,
and not be infatuated with concrete consuming them?
How I shared a sigh of relief during the thought-
of knowing people would thrive without me,
or the power of a belly laugh,
resembling a laugh track audience
drowning out 3 AM suicidal thoughts.
—V.H.
I wrote this in pink gel pen, maybe, that’s another joke.
Evan Backward Aug 2013
I want to look out the window
And see bright stars
Lights, and shattered visions.
I want to see
Colors and flying discs.
People thinking, dreaming,
On the edge of discovering
Always not knowing,
Always around the corner.
The timepiece etched in diamonds
Solid, imbued with living darkness
And sheltered worlds.
Pass the time along rivers
Motion, curling smoke and ladies dancing
I want to hear bells and raindrops.
Scattered droplets of rejuvenation
And solitary gongs calling into the depths,
I crave to see the night
For what it could be.

For what it really is behind
Closed doors, and open windows
Behind every mind the desire to know
Others and people
Moving flesh and deep breaths,
Sighing into one another
Haunted by control,
Thoughts of distaste for the lack of
Efficiency.

For I fear acceptance,
To accept a flaw,
A spiraling flood of color
A crack in the shield of dawn.
The weeds pushing up through
Concrete,
Trees, skyscrapers grasping at the atmosphere.
Shadows beyond the fences
And your eyes when I've asked too much.
I want to feel the night for what it is.
Not for what it could be.
jee Nov 2018
sienna cities
sparkling saturn sunrises
sangria skyscrapers
sublime.

you are kaleidoscoped
through and through
with window blinds, bed sheets,
and street signs.

they call you modern art
and hang you on a wall
of white
and beige.

your color bleeds.

you boil
and no *** can hold you.

you speak and
wind chimes cry,
ringing into the empty night,
saturnine.

a ballerina can only hope
to move as gracefully
as you do.

your eyes light up
like tuscan sun cities
sizzling sirius sunsets
school bus skyscrapers
salient.

i’m hooked on your city glow
brighter than tokyo.
andromeda’s got nothing on you
avalon Aug 2017
your skyscrapers are just overgrown hairs
gaea has neglected to shave.
ryn Aug 2014
Wish I had a special pair of lenses
A tool for me; just for my senses
That grant me binocular vision
Allow me to see with heightened perception.

Peer through mountain crags, over dunes of sand
Pierce skyscrapers in familiar foreign lands
A sight beyond nimbus clouds
Amazingly through temporal shrouds.

Past breathtaking ridges and quiet plateaus
Alongside a ****** of black-feathered crows
Tripping over singing brooks and moss-covered pebbles
Herds of quadrupeds as they frolic and gambol
Extraordinary views and candy for the eyes
Travelling linear between earth and skies.

But...

You're too far away for me to see
Even if bestowed upon me...

Still,

I wish my eyes binocular...
Because I need you so much closer...
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
Marla Nov 2017
My body and soul
Have been separated
Since birth.
These legs of mine
Walk over patches
Of green,
But my one
Heart travels on
Concrete.
Towers of palm
Soar high above my head,
But my mind is surrounded
By skyscrapers instead.
These suburbs
Are my playground,
Here I am king.
But the city is what I
Love,
Without it,
I am nothing.
You once told me how you were captivated with photos, how it fills you with satisfaction capturing a picture perfect portrait of a moment, memory, or even a mere mortal. I almost always never understood this addiction of yours on why and how you’re more than determined to collect snips of your life in a paper inked by dozens and dozens of color to paint a single picture. It is somewhat a kind of a waste but you never thought of it like that.

“What is it with you and photographs?” a question I finally got to ask you after harboring enough courage. Yet you merely answered with a shrug and looked away, away from my prying eyes, away from the echoes of what I just asked you. I was on the verge of giving up on you when you suddenly held my hand tighter than usual. “Because…,” you muttered in between huge gulps of breath. I wrapped my arms around you hoping to shield you from your turmoil. For minutes we sat there, still and not making any sound while I let you hold on to me as if I was your lifeline. Anchored back to the present, you told me, “I’m just scared that’s all.” I waited for you to continue, to go on with what you were saying, but you just did not. I turned to look at you only to find you staring at the far distance, looking lost, gone.

I yanked my hand out of your hold but you were still transfixed far, far away from me, far from this reality. Your stare just did not falter at the slightest even as you told me the words which bugged me for the most of my hours, days, or weeks even. Those times following your passing that is. Yes, you left me. You left me hanging and alone without knowing the reason why you ended your life just like that. I’ve always been blinded by the pretense that you were more that okay amidst it all. Probably it comes with the denial of your loss. But if there’s any consolation, I finally know you aren’t okay at all, now when it’s all a little too later that I should have known.

But now as I lay here, I come to think of the last thing you told me. *“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then as to what worth would a million photographs be?”


As I recall you saying it that night, hours before you pulled the trigger over your head, I assumed it was merely rhetorical. I merely thought you were playing Socrates in order to halt me from bombarding you with any more questions. It kept me up all night staring at the ceiling only to receive a phone call at 3:00 A.M. on how you were rushed to the hospital and how the doctors shook their head in the inability to save you.

Until now, I’m still kept awake not of the distraught on your sudden death but because of that question you took me by surprise. I answered nothing then but I am afraid I do know the answer now. You did not capture those sunrises and the blossoming of flowers out of sheer creativity. Instead, it gave you a glimpse of a new beginning that this life failed to give you. You did not capture the candid smiles of random individuals out of a coincidence but because your heart yearns for this kind of happiness to be instilled deep within you. You did not capture the city lights just for the vivid imagination it fueled your satisfaction. It was the colors which brought light to every impending doom you have yet to undergo. You did not capture the landscapes and skyscrapers out of nothing more than an appreciation of abstract art. Rather, it gave you the leeway to live in a fantasy as the surrealism in these photos fuels your unwavering resolve to escape the trap this reality caged you in.

Darling, you weren’t just collecting photographs out of a hobby, out of a custom. And now, I know why you told me you were scared that time I asked you about this obsession of yours. *You were scared to find out that your life is a meaningless pit, like a hollow chasm with nothing but a void.
In search of yourself, you found fragments of ‘you’ in these ink-stained scraps of print. It was how you defined your existence: in shots of images of the existence of others. Some might not understand, but you are brave and brilliant to this all. Brave for facing all your demons alone, no matter how I would have wanted to save you from your distress, and brilliant for discovering that our lives are merely a collection of lives complementing each other.

So, darling, maybe this is the end of the line for you, the brink of your voyage to obtain a million photographs. And to answer your question, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a million photographs would be worth a life. These million photographs are all you. These photographs are what make you whole, flawlessly complete. You will realize you always were as opposed to what the world let you believe in. And then maybe, just maybe, as you finally lay to rest, far-off from the tragedy this realm of this cruel dimension, you can be finally be at peace and eventually manage to realize that you lived not just a portfolio of photographs but a masterpiece.


*(k.p.)
crystallaiz Mar 28
when you walk away
i'm still head over heels for you
still feel my heart skip a beat
still feel my stomach dropping out
like that time we went on the roller coaster
and i saw the skyscrapers upside down with you
i still feel the butterflies
still think about the what-ifs
still wonder what i did wrong
still think about you
but you're walking away
and i don't know how to go after you
it hurts. like really really really hurts and i don't know why it hurts so much. i can't do anything because i'm just thinking about you all the time and i want this to stop
Serena Feb 2018
The sun
Is glad to see your face,
Your unseen grace,
Your Hidden space,
Your
Silhouette now covered in sun beams.
It seems
You've been
Packed away for a very long time
Its almost a crime how you've
Shielded yourself from his hydrogenity.
The sun
Is glad to see your smile
Your pearly whites
And colorless lips
Soft,
Too cold,
needing,
Craving,
warmth.
His
Golden fingers graze your cheek
And Bring life back to your pallor.
Who knew
Living as a recluse would make you so blue,
So unidentifiable?
He Brings you back from the dead
Pulling your soul back out
into your flesh.
Fresh
And healed,
At least Temporarily
But it
is enough,
His touch,
To liven your now tanning skin
To Make you akin to his own:
A sunflower
Trapped in the dark
3 inches tall instead of 3 feet
Now starting to grow beyond skyscrapers with his aid,
if his light is what's causing you to
Stand up straight
His heat is what is reviving your heartbeat
A Crescendo from silence to a slight pitter patter
Almost as soft as rain.
Almost as if crying.
If you listen hard enough,
You just might hear it wimpering, waking up from it's hibernation.
It
Wants to go back to sleep
But he
Refuses to give up his efforts of recesitation
For he knows it isn't for naught,
For he knows that it is working,
Your heart stirring
Beating
Louder as you step further out of the door frame
Let him
Cradle your soul with his firey hands
Let him
Bring you back from the dead.
You Look so much more alive when you let him work his magic on you.
The world
Has missed you.
Looking around,
Your mind starts whirring,
Analysing The outside world.
The Green of the grass and the
Blue of the sky,
All Graces of the solar angel shining over you,
Shining into you.
Giving you sight,
Giving you life,
Giving you the things you couldn't have before.
Let his
Golden happiness seep into your freezing bones,
And,
Turn them into torches
And burn brighter, in the daylight
Than you ever did in the darkness.
Unloading my notes onto hepo! This is a piece I never got to share in poetry club, so I'll share it with you guys (:
Zywa Nov 2018
I am bored, but beautiful
is the view of the city
at night, it still is

too hot to sleep or count
the skyscrapers, the stacks
of illuminated windows

My hand is waving goodnight
Would anyone be looking at me?
I ***** up my eyes

to peeping telescopes
then I cast them down again
to read a little, insights

I already had, but can not rhyme
right now, with the world
that keeps me awake

If only I could sleep, dream
of light towers in the desert
without being there myself
Collection “Summer birds”
G Rog Rogers Aug 2017
Remember
The last time We were
in Dallas together

That place where We met
We loved and We lived
and where We were
so very alive in Our time

There in the beautiful city
Resplendent and Refined
Where we spent Our moments
in love in life
and the quiet vibrant
Love of Life

Remember
That last time
We went back home
to Dallas

On that day we awoke
in the early morning
When I asked if you
were ready to leave

You stepped gracefully
to embrace me
You said We had time
Do you think We might...
please

You knowing surely
without a doubt
you never needed
to plead

We made love
like We knew
that We meant it
We made love
that isn't made fast

We made love
in the joys
of pleasing each other
A love that would always
however still last

We soon then
were on our way
on a beautiful bright
late Fall day

To see someone
back home

You there then
golden and glorious
Happy and smiling
Sipping on a Sunkist
citrus soda

We put the car on cruise
and We sailed away
Slipping quickly from
the rustic western country

To merge swiftly
into the flow of
the magnificent city
Toward the inbound
expressway

Remember the majestic
towering skyscrapers
as we made the loop
around downtown

The red flying Pegasus
still flying on
as the emblem
of Our hometown

Reunion Tower
and the magic of light
The Top of the Dome Club
at the top of the world
Such wonderful times
at the top of Our life

Remember Our date there
when We were yet still young
that lasted the afternoon
Throughout the evening and
all that beautiful night long

For You then my Lady
A perfect Chardonnay wine
For me Johnny Walker
on the rocks

All to perfectly bind
the heart and mind
To a wondrous moment
Overswept yet fixed in time

You by my side as
I always had hoped
Like that very last time
We were in Dallas
together back home

We made our stop
to meet with a doctor friend
He knew what I could never
believe and what I never
wanted to have had
to comprehend

You were gone by measures
You were gone by degree
You were going
and near hopelessly
gone unto me

Yet I still hoped
and believed

The last time
We went back home
to Dallas together again

But still on the way back
from Our bright shining city
to what would become
the darkest of desolations

You still were happy
or so it seemed
You were bright and beautiful
like in a perfect dream

We stopped at a restaurant
I ate a lot...but You did not
You stepped away for a minute
and then I met you at the car

When We got back
to that place
where together
We last lived
We embraced and
You said again...
please

Surely You never
would have ever
needed to plead

We first lay there
together a moment
to recover Our strength
Entwined together
You and me

Then We there
were immersed within
that precious moment
When all of beautiful
intimate art is
expressed in life

And all of love
becomes perfectly
tragic art

There is where
I felt the trickle
of Your tears
as they fell down
onto my chest

And then there
upon my heart

After that last time
We were back
home in Dallas
together.

Remember Dallas.
We always
will have Dallas.

-R.

7/17/17
-LA


-4MAR
©2017
Nina Nguyen Mar 9
My dad thinks my name means
“Little princess”
My mom thinks my name means
“Behaves like a cat” and
“Hard to love”
My brother thinks my name means
“That annoying sound maker”
My favorite teacher  thinks my name means
   “Nurturing
        Imaginative
         Noteworthy
Astute”
My best guy friend thinks my name means
“Good at poetry and knows how to laugh”
My person thinks my name means
“Going to help many people one day”
But I think they left out some things like
“Tries way too hard to impress”
“Has many bottled up emotions in stock “
“Dreams of skyscrapers and glass windows”
“A binge watcher of many, MANY shows”
“Dreams of the perfect family in the suburbs”
”Dreams of love, from someone, anyone”
“Has a walk in closet full of masks”
And that’s what my name means
Julie Rogers Mar 29
My morning feet ponder the pavement
Lonely eyes saluting the clouds
And the skyscrapers that grasp at the sky
The Tower of Babel
We reached god, and we branded him
Profited on his grace
So now we must build towers that shoot towards the sky
Like the twisting fingers of a falling man
lionness Oct 2018
punk music playing in the basement
heavy bass vibrating the walls
bacardi in a coffee mug
******* on a tiny mirror
hands on my thighs, *******
the rush sets
hands in my hair
eyes rolling back
he ***** on my neck
i light a cigarette

"my room."
he pulls my strings like
a marionette.
i know this
exchange of goods
very well.
i take another
bump,
eyes widening,
i can finally bear to
see the world.

he eats my ***** and
i feel N O T H I N G.
i gag on his **** and cry.
cheers and chants outside the bedroom door
in perfect rhythm
with the bass
and the headboard
against the wall.
his **** hurts,
my whole body
a wound.

i think about
a distant city
skyscrapers towering
above me like
mountaintops,
somewhere under
lights and stars
where i am happy
to be alive,
anywhere
but here,
this place
where death lives
and waits to catch
it's prey.

he moans
thrusts
shivers
it's over
i wipe mascara tears
take another bump
take another swig
i light another cigarette

he leaves the room
without a word
i follow
two steps behind him
covered in bruises
hickies
marked used
marked invaluable
a group of men
shout names at me
i block it out,
i am not ashamed
anymore.

this body
was meant for this
this body
doesnt matter
this body
is for getting what
i want
this body
is tired
and sore.
Jen Dec 2018
The day is done—
Clock strikes 4pm,
And it’s time to walk home, again.
It’s raining and cold.
I lock up my desk,
And head to the elevator
Ready to leave, say goodbye to this place;
Down 34 floors, exit to pavement’s freedom;
I pass the larger than life
Plato blue abstract statue,
Cardio up the hill,
Sadly, smell human waste
Coming from a small enclave
Of trees, where the homeless sleep.
I usually hold my breath and count my blessings.
I realize that any of us might easily become homeless.
I am grateful for my life and a place that keeps its warmth.
Then, I walk across the bridge,
Rush hour traffic stalled like a clogged artery.
Many cars, lights, and skyscrapers line the distance.
I like to think of the city as a heart in human body,
And the closer you get to its core, you can hear its blood flow.
Once past this point, I feel I can breathe again as the cells
Spread out more to my neighborhood, gentrified;
Pass the latest construction with a sign that displays,
“Affordable Housing for All.”
I have yet to see it.
Marijuana streams drift out windows,
There's the school overlooking to mountain's peak;
Just three more cross walks and I’ll be home, free.
CT Wordz Jan 31
I can't see much else,
Beyond the skyline,
Skyscrapers askew,
Birds soaring high,
I wish I had their view,
Their view from my eyes.
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