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Robin Carretti Jul 2018
He was blown>>>>
>>>> away_--- from
my lace-up
Is She his blue
Mood tie set any bet
to walk the talk

At your own pace
The lustful wake up she
got the face

The edge of his rim sneaker
So prim who is proper
On the brim of ecstasy
He puts sugar on my tongue

Rumors like the "Talking Heads"
All in the bedding sneaker
Jane of the jungle wild tongue
She races Tarzan swinging sneakers
You and I tripped over dreams the sneaker?
Lip to lip disaster

The "Cyberwar" stepped on melting
Gold *** of tar
The loud blaster she moves the
Starwars so far

He could eat her up
his checkered black and white flag
Like a lobster claw his last draw

The racer mouth sponsor

She was born 2-B that way
sneakers love 3 some run
It's not unusual to have fun
with anyone
Her hands were far gone but
solid as a rock
Rollicking flying his rocket
Racing by her own clock Ms. Hornet


His sneaker loud love feud one
the detail on her sneaker
the wild bird of a bud

He shook me all night long
don't do an
A-C-D-C  on me
The sneaker he got the
Crazy eights
 No prank calls
Her hot buns and
Speaker- Frank-flirters
take me out to the
ball game demonized

The Anti Christ be born again
My sneaker group what a tank full
The Antitank no thanks
You cant always get what you want
and if you try sometimes
Charge all plastic but
sneakers like rubber soul

Visa hot runner Lisa no control
The American Express abdominal press
Shop until she drop's gum-drops
Your head was like a
Rolling Stone Jagger
Bigfoot sneaker Friday 13 size
That girl sweet pea Lea surprise
In the Hell, kitchen she snapped
That purr nightcap like Cleopatra

He's the Mantra so passionate fruit loopier
She's the Mona Lisa unfriendly sneaker
Your happy socks are quick
On his bell-hop feet
The sneaker riddle beat


That long meeting so *******
For time baby blue eyes Frank
on the mic
Like the jitterbug tight-knit
as sneaker print rug
Citron sharp eyes 5 Karat
Spicy hot Chili pepper
poem sonnet

The singer swung
Jazzy sneaker band
Dr. Who wears sneakers drinking
Dr. Pepper

The "Red Apple McIntosh" computer
Such a loud mouth hacker Josh
Jeweled Judy cultured pearls sneaker smash

Or her Stairmaster her
sneaker hotties ruffles have ridges
The juicy burgers dill pickles

Desperately sneaking Susan
sneakers to her affair finish line 
What a Lady Madonna
baby sneakers
at her breast rebel of hearts
I wonder how she manages to
sneaker speed the rest

Her best to out twin any talk
bullseye power walk
Buying the triplex sneaker
The loud talker 4 for 4 fame Wendy
Run like a fugitive your alias
name
Go International quite run
for your money I suppose
His sneakers up on her recliner
It wasn't her better rose
She's the high boot lady ever finer

On E-Bay selling your favorite sneakers
Those Australian Huskies biting sneakers
Such a Paws up against doggone heartbreaker

The in-crowd Flynn or another runner Lynn
Everybody is not a star or wedding crasher
Or even the right sneaker lover

Lady that lives in her homeless shoes
Are we all inside a video game
all commercials

Needing bifocals video begins
 Wynn at Sneaker Con
Joy to the world of the joystick
The sneaker of the Torah prayers of
the Temple
All dots and specs out of sneakers
More zits and pimples
I just want one-half cream
The changing Moon 1/2 Wolf
My man (Mr. Drakar) Howling toenail

French onion soup say cheese
her sneaker what a
no-brainer lightheaded breeze
You come so far sneaker trainer
And a grave site plot famous
brand sneaker
name

A million odds to one name in the
cemetery
****** Mary she flies in her
sneaker like Mary Poppins
Going under the influence
Heres looking at you kid umbrella

Hot Hollywood Taurus Bulldog
runner
We really don't have a name

We are writers and ****
good fighters single to mingle sneaker
Not the homewrecker more like the homemakers
Even sneaker has a voice and walks like singers
Shoeiverse sneaker race
became her living curse
The grin of the Grinch green sneakers
On his sled ride the lucky shamrock

I'm the happy heel
The tigress furry feel skip to my Lou
he ordered the
kids happy meal

Getting a ticket for reckless walking
Lights on or eyes wide shut
Are sneakers running for their life?

More fuel- time we get no alone time
Let's go shopping for the
new sneaker called
(Valentine only) sold one
day the sale
Singing her sneaker song a chip
device to talk back hot male
The 'Calvin Klein" dockers her ball of the foot
tennis sneakers It's her loud Owl ******-hoot

The farm girl Ralph Lauren corral
To rope her in lasso-like with morals
racing horse of different color fashion
I cannot hear you I have a hell
of a tinnitus reaction

  She-Devil bickering.>>> No heart like a sneaker
I am a snake too short to run the mile

I was too busy looking
at her long legs
On the Jet
** Plane
The most popular lady
in her sneakers 

Viper car and strings attachments
Ms. Love lace the shoelaces
with hearts
She is tied to his ankles
like condiments
Like Sweet cherries what a
bomb kicker sneaker
The Southern Belle runner
Be the stunner the trucker roadrunner

Hail to Mary the sneaker
Queen of Sheba
Turn on the radio Country singer Reba
What a sneaker rating ratio

When she bent down the crisscross
Watch out cross my heart trainer

Cross my heart and hope to die
To get slimmer
I am the happy sneaker
all the moods hot goods
(Hey Robin Hood)
stealing a rich man and poor women
which is the witch

One string said pull me the
other one said you feel like a
Chrome lead sleepy feet go to bed

Like Beer and pretzels
What an insane sneaker hazard
Hospital beepers sneaker virus
stepped on the most expensive
Venus, I beg you to run
lips we travel bullets and stars
We just want some fun

Marathon key just one clicker
That strawberry shortcake
Versus the "Cherry Bomb"
The Prince and the Pauper
what a toad kisser
That army tanker hurry up
lunch or brunch
What a Patriot Brady bunch

My shoelaces became like a
firecracker candy bar crunch

Who is the loser lover
or the winner
The long trip almost at the end
of the race
What a rivalry those shot glasses
at random
The sneaker fandom

Smile to me if you're not
wearing anything
but sneakers
My wings the wifi cute feet just
say Hi

No, I saw a man 600 pounds
of Reebok gold way too
much belly roll fat
The Dr. Seuss cat in the hat

Nike in the air Robin
bird skydivers
Dark matter gold diggers
Movie (It) Stephen King
skateboard

Penny feet relaxer
The Wise clown got her
The sneakers comedians
Seinfeld stand up sneaker
To be dead or wed Kleinfeld
Exotic sneakers and
cars he made a home run
Hot hell ring my bell
You made me happy
I got to first base

And you all sync into
one of a kind sneaker
Mom Robin the singer
No, I saw a man-eating
out of his sneaker
His head up in the Nike air
Oh! all hell breaks footloose
computer looking
up the sneaker sales

All I am doing is clicking
with a mouse
Where is my lover
sneaker twin, my spouse
This is about a trip not on an airplane flight more down to earth long walk star gazers or runners and clickers but its a comedy around all names and hot runner shes the firecracker don't  eat her at her game
Kaith Karishma Oct 2017
Her ugly salmon sneakers
hang by ratty shoelaces when she takes them from the vendor.
I tell her to toss them lest she get a disease
from her gross salmon sneakers.
Her garish salmon sneakers
pitter-patter gladly, mocking me and staying forever.
She says she won’t ever buy another pair since
she’s got her salmon sneakers.
Her silly salmon sneakers
stay on even through our reception, our vows, and our wedding.
Though I do finally get them off that same night,
her wondrous salmon sneakers.
Her busted salmon sneakers
trip her up before she steps in front of a speeding driver.
As I scold her, I don’t even think I’m grateful
to her old salmon sneakers.
Her galling salmon sneakers
always stay two steps ahead of me and everyone she knows.
If only they outpaced the ones she didn’t know,
her ******* salmon sneakers.
Her stupid salmon sneakers
never grace her feet again, and I know she’d have hated that.
I don’t care because that’s all I have left of her,
her ****** salmon sneakers.
Her dreary salmon sneakers
seem so lifeless without her because she was what gave them life.
And I wish with all that’s left that she was there, not
her hollow salmon sneakers.
Kam Yuks Jul 2013
Waiting for the summer heat to eclipse the somber thread of one day, an old man is gifted a brand new pair of sneakers.

Father, Son, Holy Ghost? The pinnacle of the "y" axis has paralyzed the saltiness of the old man's overcoat.

"Grand dad?" A young boy turns the corner and peeks in while the old man leans over in his chair to reach his feet and lace his sneaks. "You were breathing loudly and I was just making sure you're okay."

The boy continued, "cool sneakers grandpa."
This reminded the boy of a new student in his class who moved here from Scotland, or Ireland - he couldn't remember which. Guess what the new kid in my class calls his sneakers?"

The grandfather looks up and leans back, "he doesn't call them sneakers?" "Nope" the boy replies. "I would imagine he must call them shoes, or something like that."

"Not even close. He calls them 'runners'. He came into class one day with a pair of red sneakers and Miss Kerrington had him stand up in front of class to talk about them. She said that people in England probably call them runners as a nickname for running shoes."

The old man stood up with a groan and said, "That makes sense. It seems a bit odd, but I like it. As a matter of fact, I am gonna start using that to refer to all sneakers. What do you say we go for a walk around the block so I can break these puppies in? We'll stop for some rootbeer on the way home."

The two of them set out on their walk and the old man felt invigorated. As they continued, a light rain began and the old man said, "lets get to the store, this rain'll do damage to my new suedes."

When they finally made it to the store, the old man rushed in the door pushing his grandson out of the way. Upon his entrance his eyes met with the shopkeeper's. The shopkeeper's eyes shifted to the young boy coming in behind the man. At this moment the grandfather realized that he pushed his grandson aside in his haste to get inside the store and out of the rain.

The shopkeeper turned his attention back to the grandfather who shrugged his shoulders before gesturing to his feet with a smile and said, "I'm breaking in a new pair of runners. They're not gonna dry off as easily as he does."
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
izzy w Dec 2011
i’m tearing my hair in half for you!!!
i’m tearing myself in half for you two!!!
YOU MAKE MY HEART SWELL AND MY ARMS HOLLOW!!!
YOU MAKE MY GRAVEDY TWIST TO THE GROUND!!!
the more you like eachother the more youboth like me
and i like that!!! LET’S HUG FOREVOR UNDER THE STARS!!!

i like kissing everyone and touching everything and the stars!!!
i like kissing the stars!!! i like kissing the stars in half!!!

i like a lot of tHINGS OKay!!!

GO BE HAPY YOU HAPY BUNNYS
Keith Collard Jun 2013
Centipede Valley (A tale of infantrymen in Hawaiian--Twain Style)


'Welcome to the 25th Infantry Schofield Barracks Hawaii' the sign read as the taxi van rode past. The only thing in the boy's mind was of guns, tanks, soldiers, and grenades. He accompanied his father who had used his veteran credentials with the Coastguard to gain admittance to the base; and thus able to reserve a round on the famous 'Schofield golf course." They were on vacation, and left the women at home.

    The boy, expecting to see an army division rappelling down the buildings that the van was streaming past, was scrutinizing every person, vehicle and store. He thought he saw a humphvee, but it was just a hillbilly driving his spray painted doorless Ford Bronco with his flip flop clad foot hangin over the side. The boy spied a soldier in camoflage uniform with what looked like a rifle,"wooweee ,a rifle." But as the van closed on the pedestrian soldier,it was revealed that he was carrying only a loaf of french bread. Then another soldier,"wowee,a bazooka," but only a folded up beach chair.
Then a helicopter screamed overhead, the boy scrambling to position his head to see the still-hidden helicopter was ready to tear the roof panel off, "Hey easy Ben," said his father at the other window. The helicopter came into view,"must be an Apachee," he thought as his eyes came to discern a sign trailing from the helicopter ..."60% off flip flops at Kemoho's market."  The boy sank down in disapointment.

           He begged his father in order to come with him. The father agreed but with the surrender conditions being "Im playing golf, your going to watch me and be a good boy then we are leaving."

              They were on a tough schedule and had engagements with the rest of the family.The father promised him that they would visit Pearl Harbor and the Coast Guard base.  Ben would enjoy the battleships at Pearl Harbor, but he had heard from his friends that the rockstars were the "infantry." They were the 'Billy the Kids' of the miliitary; guns and mischief, and most of all....glory. But he would only see them and their toys from a van--and then a golf course.  That was straight 'malarkey'to him, and that was what his mind kept repeating.

           The van pulled up parallel with the side walk that was lined with a chain link fence. Palm trees rowed the inside of the fence, and the boy could see the lime green grass of fairways-he sighed. His father tipped the taxi driver, and grabbed out his club bag; they procceded down the sidewalk in direction of a shadow, which was the 'Scholfield Golf' club buiilding. The boy looked across the streeet at a  barracks, tiered with balconies, he could see men in fatigues moving about on them,"wowweee,grunts." But they were only brandishing mops and brooms. "Malarkey."

              They entered the air conditioned building, the boy became sleepy as he waited by his father's side who was checking his reservation in the golf store. "Alright sir, if you want you can sit out there on the verandah with complimentary drinks untill we bring your cart up to you."

         Re-entering the stone paved fenceless verandah, they took a seat at a round table with an umbrella. The humid heat woke the boy back up. A vantage of bright green grass, palm trees,and men hustling back in forth in white docker pants opened up before them.

     There was a grey haired man sweeping up the tile of the verandah within earshot of the father and son. The boy watched the old man sweep up something in his dustpan, then bend down and put it in a zip lock bag that he produced from his pocket.  The boy's curiosity was ignited, he had to know what it was, maybe a spent shell casing, or a tripwire; he jumped down from his stool and approached the old man.

          "Excuse me sir," what was it you picked up, a shell casing?"..... the old man just looked at the boy and smiled, and continued sweeping. "Ben, don't bother that man please," admonished his father.
               Ben walked back to his chair,and picked up his coca-cola,and pretended as if his curiosity was quenched. He watched the old man, sweeping and sweeping, untill he bent down to pick another object up. The boy flew from his seat and closed on the old man.
"Ohhh man mister, what is that thing , a dragon?" At the old man's feet was a coil of something, corrugated, black with a red neon tinge, incisers and mandibles the size of paper cutters. It was dead whatever it was, but its shell was still intact; and so was everyone of it's hundred legs, its fearsome face was preserved amid a deathly stare with blackened eyes.

"Don't worry, it's nothing, just a bug sonny," said the old man who packed it away in a zip lock bag.
"Then why are you collecting them in ziplock bags?"
The old man hesitated, then he sighed knowing it was futile.
"If I tell you, you cannot freak out.  Im supposed to rid these creatures from the guests sight."
" I won't freak out--that thing looks like one of those chinese new year dragons they parade in the streets."
"It ain't no dragon son--it is a Centipede."  But to the boy, it reminded him of those Chinese dragon parades.  It was massive.
The boy was hailed back to where his father was sitting. " Ben leave that man alone, he has a job to do."
The boy thought the old man and his centipede to be a riddle of the highest importance. He sensed a story, before he knew what a story was. He looked at this man inquisitively; he looked to be Hawaiin ,maybe South American, but he also had a martial stare.

       The old man looked at his watch and sat down at table at the corner of the stone paved verandah, bordered by bright green grass.  Ben saw centipedes now in the design of the old man's hawaiin shirt.
          Producing a mango from his pocket, the old man proceded to strip the tough skin and spit out the peelings onto the grass as Ben's attention was broken by an employee. "Excuse me sir, there seem's to be a slight problem ya, there's only one golf cart available, and we have to fit you and someone else on there, but there is your son?"

The father's face froze.  "oh, my son, oh yeah" he mumbled as he watched the beautiful tropical neon course ahead of him."  The groundsworker who was finishing his mango was paying attention to the whole interaction.  He watched the boy scanning the greens, it made the old man smile.

" Excuse me sir, I think I can help out, I can babysit the lad right here, and tour the golf grounds with him, I finished my duties....."

The father looked at the old harmless man.  The hawaiin accent on him, and hawaiin shirt on him, rendered him as harmless as puff the dragon.  No one has ever commited a misdeed in a hawaiin shirt, and that resonates in the subconscience of visitors to the Hawaiin chains.  For Captain Cooke(the first anglo visitor to Hawaii) was boiled in a *** by shirtless Hawaiins.

" Sir, I can vouche for my employee....."  It was in agreement, the father sped off.
They had two hours to ****.  Just enough time for a story.
" So Ben, Im Edison, would you like to hear a story--" the boy interrupted him, " About the infantry?"

    " Yes, the infantry, Hawaii, and dragons."  The scene was too unreal.  The tropical tableau panorama behind the old man--that made the old man's hawaiin shirt seem to disappear and make his head float--was pastel portraiture with palm outlines bursting with their leaves amid a light blue sky.  The old man mumbled his lips every other second, possibly from denchers.  The boy watched the floating head mumble, mumbling faster and faster readying for a story, captivating the boy.  He came to see the infantry, and he would see them in words.  No illusion this time.

                                                         Centipede Valley


" The story of Hawaii, is a story of short dynasties.  The first known dynasty was the Rat dynasties.  Like Attilla The ***'s followers, the rat's followed their king; down the ropes and piers from the ships and overwhelmed the populace.  The set up Rat colonies, fishing centers, and cheese vendors."  The boy interupted the old man, " How can rat's set up cheese vendors?"

        " They just did, ' Cheese for Sale' was screeched on every block, now if I can continue my story lad." The boy nodded, sorry for slowing down the story.

        " The Hawaiians tried to battle back, arming themselves with brass knuckles of sea conches, and throwing jellyfish at them, but it was of no use—there  were to many.  Then the other dynasty came, the Python Dynasty.  Instead of scurrying down the ropes, they spiraled down at night.  They were a clever bunch.  They would play dead, and wait for birds who were hungry for a meal, then  ' crunch'  and the bird would be a knot in the snake's ropey body.  The pythons also ate all the Hawaiians roosters.  At the height of the island’s empire, every Hawaiian had a at least five roosters per household.  Every sac and backpack was alive and moving as the roosters were carried about on the street. But the Python's ate them making only one rooster per household.  The next dynasty was even more clever than the Python--the Mongoose Dynasty.  They ate all pythons with lightning speed.  They didn't scurry nor spiral down the ropes--they lolly gagged down them.  Stopping to stare in the water, for a clam or fish they could eat, they were cocky sons of....
"By the time the Hawaiins raised their jelly fish at them sitting on the ropes, they already ate the belly button lint out of your belly button.  They were crafty.  But their downfall was that they were not unified.  Their kingdom fractured, but they remained on the island.

"The last known dynasty, did not take the rope, but the plank.  Drooling, huffing, and snorkeling--snorting up every barnacle on the pier in the two minutes they arrived on the island--the pig.  They quickly broke their bonds and took to the mountains and jungles.  But something came during the pig dynasty, that was the real scourge of the isles.  And it is this dynasty, that my story starts, with two infantry members, from opposite ends of the empire--Seattle and Boston, who arrived to the island not knowing their position on the Hawaiian food chain.

" When Boston first walked into his barracks latrine(bathroom) he was overwhelmed with how humid it was, like he just entered an iguana tank.  The ceilings were painted green with mold, the floor kept a semblance to checkered tile due to the heavy mopping of soldiers armed with ammonia. He noticed he was not alone.  There were geckos on the ceiling, running around eating giant flying things.  The geckos did not bother him, he has seen them in Florida, and perhaps that was there these fellas had come from.  He walked over to the sink, for he needed a shave for the first formation.  The barracks was old, and used as an overflow for departing service members, or newly arriving ones.  It is rumored to still have 50 caliber holes in its foundation from Japanese Zero's.  

"He looked down into the sink, there was a Gecko's tail, writhing in the sink--not attached t anything.  The drain was open, it looked like the cave to a malevolent beast.  And it was, a black tendril, or serpent, quickly emitted from the dark drain and grasped the writhing Gecko tail in its mandibles and retreated back into the drain.  ' What in holy .......' Boston whispered as he stepped away from the sink.

"Meanwhile, Seattle walked up to his new room, and used his card key to open his barracks room.  The door swung open, and on the floor in front of him, was a large cockroache on its back, apparently dying of over-eating.  It bicycle kicked the air, and doggy paddled.  It's belly was huge, and it's face said ' I lived a good life.'  Seattle could only muster the words, ' well that ain't a good sign.'

"Seattle and Boston were roomates for only a month before they became bickering enemies, likened to England and France--coming only together under rules and regulations and enforced peace treaty.  It started with a bag of potatoe chips.  'Seattle, you can't come home drunk and leave potatoe chips all over the room.  This ain't the mainland, we are gunna get eaten in our sleep by cockroaches.  Every night you explode a bag of potatoe chips all over the couch.'  It was true, they had a black pleather couch given to them be an eager barracks member, and if you sat down on it, you would always hear a crunch.

" ' Whatever Boston, you keep leaving your cherry dip around attracting ants.  You fell asleep with a dip in your mouth and you woke up with goat-tee of ants. ' And so it went, it was two male humans in a barracks cage.  One, a North Eastern Humano, the other a North Western Humano, both ill-disposed to each other.  One more afraid of ants, the other cockroaches.  

" But then in a sign of peace offering, Boston introduced Seattle to his Fillipino girlfriend's sister.  They went on a double date, and then Seattle went on two other dates after, with just him and her.  But then Boston was getting pestered by his girlfriend to 'have Seattle call her sister," or he was getting pestered by " What , Seattle don't like my sister no more ya?"   Boston always dodged the question, knowing the rules.  Then one day, Boston had to go up to his room with the two sisters in his car.  But they followed him up at the last second, and ambushed Seattle, who was really upset by this and left the room and barracks.  That incident could have been water under the bridge, except for what happened.

"When Seattle returned to his now empty room, he opened a draw and removed his sneakers from them, for he still had on his flip flops.  He put on his sneakers without socks and was walking down the barracks stairs when he felt it.  It was like a nail just went through his foot.  A medic in civy's (civilian clothes) was behind him watching him.  " You alright buddy," he said.

" I just stepped on a nail or sumthin," said Seattle.

He shook his sneaker, nothing.  Looking at his foot, he saw two fang  puncture marks in between his big toes.  His vein near the bite was surfacing like a snake all the way up his leg even up to his forehead, he felt dizzy.  He shook the sneaker one more time, harder.  Inside, now, was a coil, or a nest of black cobras, but it was not many cobras, but one centipede.  " what the f...."

The medic looked in, " That’s a centipede, highly toxic, if you get really ill come to the Aid Station," he said then left.

"Seattle burned in a fever that night, having dreams of the scorned Fillipino girl haunting him, holding centipedes over him, doing a witch-like curse on him.  Seattle was lucky, most react alot worse from the bites.  He blamed the scorned girl for putting it there, and most of all--he blamed Boston.

"And that is only one side of the story, for soon after, it was Boston who would become livid with Seattle.  One night, Boston was sitting on the pleather couch, with his girlfriend, when they fell asleep on it watching TV--they had the room to themselves.  When they awoke they were covered in cockroaches.  The girl ran out of the room and Boston's life forever.  Upon lifting up the couch cushions, there spied, was a massive moving cockroach galaxy.  " Seattle," Boston gritted through his teeth.
" Mister when are we going to get to infantry stuff--" whined the boy.
" Very shortly my lad," said the old man, producing another mango from his pocket and resuming his story.

" Seattle and Boston quickly rose through the ranks, and commanded  teams in the same squad.  At that time, they got their own rooms, and one would think that would make them get along better, but that was not so.  The only thing that assuaged the wise remarks of Boston, and Seattle's feverish temper, was that they had to get along if they lived together, and now they don't.  And now they both have a four man team competing against each other, when they are in the same squad.

" Boston's number one on the team was a kid named Mango.  He was the go-to guy for Boston, and made his team look good.  Seattle's number one guy was a soldier named Biggin who made Seattle's team look good.  
" Well, one night, their whole platoon were siting under double canopy in the complete dark.  They were in full battle rattle( ammo and body armour) readying their equipment and eating some rations in anti
AM David Jul 2012
Your love for me
is like a pair of sneakers.

Reliable.
Comfortable.
Familiar.
Don't pinch or hurt; so good to your feet
you sometimes forget they're there.

It's just that sometimes,
not often,
but every now and then, I wish
your love for me was more like
a pair of wild shoes.
Brash.
Thrilling.
Bold

enough to spark the exciting pursuit
that it seems I never had.
CK Baker Jan 2017
In time you’ll recover and absolve
push those scorned impressions aside
hammer down the jaded edges
and sing
that delightful commoners song
the one you sang so well
in what seems a lifetime ago

You really had it you know
that fiery disposition and nimble cunning
those butter chords and derelict style
we could see it -- we could all see it
it was all it took to turn the evening tide
(and rile that buck fever)
heads bashing
tongues lambasting
middle fingers high
and raising Cain on those may fly statesmen

There were no rules
when it came to your survival
no textbook rally or common bond
no structured songbird or bravado stage
you either made it, or laid it
“life by the *****” Mr. Poppy would say
a kaleidoscope of dreams
with rich colored imagery
hardened artisan seams
in a carefully woven motif

But something got lost in the needle point
something sinister and distorted took hold
the quirks and street genius
that were your lifeline
gave way to grunts
and squeals
and chilling night crawlers
the colors faded quickly
to a cold confining grey

There was no grace in the new world
no retribution or switch back
no salvation or accorded finale
only edged platforms of blackened steel
that kept you cased
in a silent vanquished cell
shivering cold with fear
night without day
all in the shadow of death

But time heals all
and the polish sneakers
and open sores are long gone
(though the roman nose and shallow cleft remain)
indeed the falconer beat the widow maker
this go around
and I’m hopeful it won’t happen again
and if it does you’ll see me
standing hand on heart
with that old verse in hand:

he ain’t tainted
or silly,
and most certainly
not forgotten…
he ain’t loony
or fixed,
or a product of his self-doing…
he’s just a straight shootin’ guy,
who had the most of it
figured out
Glenn McCrary Jun 2014
"A mended brain, and heart, and soul are all fine. But being stolen away in the night by new, soft, and clawing hands makes the stitching break. And when you wake up you find that you were never fixed in the first place.” ~ Jade Day


SCENE ONE

[All is black. Strobe lights of various colors flashed throughout the land. A mysterious woman casts an atrocious glare as she is passing by. She had dark brown shoulder length hair, hazel eyes and french vanilla colored skin. She was wearing a jet black dress. Her left hand was slightly moving around in a circular motion as a gesture of guided conversation. Her hand then gradually descended just below her waistline.]

DO: AAAHHH!!!!

[Do woke up doused within sweat and heavily panting. Spore and Gum came running into Do and Sweat’s room to check on Do.]

GUM: What’s going on, Do?

SPORE: Yeah, we heard you screaming from across the room.

DO: I’m fine… I-i… I just keep having nightmares and they won’t go away.

SPORE: What happened in this nightmare?

GUM: Yes, tell us Do.

DO: I do not wish to speak much of it at the moment, but all I will say is that a strange, mysterious woman keeps appearing in my dreams.

GUM: Who is she?

SPORE: Gum let’s not hassle him.

DO: I can’t remember her name at the moment. All I can remember is an incident happening that shouldn’t have.

SPORE: It’s okay, Do. You can tell us more about it as you start to fully remember what happened.

DO: Yeah, I suppose you are right.

GUM: What do you guys say we head down to the cafeteria? It’s 6:00 am and breakfast starts in half an hour.

DO: That actually sounds really good right now. I’m totally down.

SPORE: Yeah, I’m a bit hungry myself. What about Sweat? I mean he’s still sleeping.

GUM: Sweat has always been a deep sleeper.

SPORE: How would you know?

GUM: Because he’s my friend but thanks for implying that I’m a ****.

SPORE: I’m sorry but weren’t you the one who had an infamous reputation for random hookups?

GUM: That was a long time ago, Spore. I don’t do it as often as I used to.

SPORE: But you still do

GUM: Of course. Everyone needs some good, fun, casual *** every now and then.

DO: Guys can we talk about this later? It’s too early for this *******.

SPORE: We’re sorry, Do.

GUM: Yes, we don’t know what came over us.

DO: Look it’s okay. I’m over it. It happens to the best of us. Let’s just get going shall we.

SPORE: Great! I’m going to go take a shower and brush my teeth.

GUM: I call second.

DO: Actually, Gum you can use our shower. It will speed up things up a bit.

GUM: Oh yeah. You’re totally right.

[Do chuckles. Gum smiles back in response as she heads to the bathroom. Gum had bubblegum pink hair, bubblegum pink eyes and creamy white skin. Do leans over and gently shakes Sweat awake.]

DO: Sweat! Come on buddy wake up! Breakfast is starting soon and the gang wants to grab a bite to eat.

[Sweat slowly turns over yawning while rubbing the tiredness from his eyes.]

SWEAT: Ok, ok I’m up. What are they having for breakfast today?

DO: None of us know yet until we get down there.

SWEAT: Well what are we waiting for? Let’s get movin’!

DO: We will. Just waiting on the girls to get out of the showers so that we can do the same.



20 MINUTES LATER…

GUM: The guys should be dressed by now don’t you think?

SPORE: Let them take their time, Gum. Breakfast ends at 10:30. There is plenty to go around.

[Do and Sweat enter the room fully dressed and ready to go. Do was wearing a white long sleeve shirt, white jeans and white shoes. Sweat was wearing an outfit of an identical nature.]

SPORE: You guys both look very handsome and acceptable.

GUM: Yes! Yes! You guys look marvelous! Can we go now?

SPORE: I don’t know. Are you guys ready?

DO: Well, I know I’m ready. What about you Sweat?

SWEAT: Been ready.

[Do, Spore, Gum and Sweat make their way towards the door.]

DO: Oh, and Spore?

SPORE: Yes, Do.

DO: How far has life taken you by being acceptable?

[Spore looks at Do with a very confused ****** expression.]

DO: Exactly.

[Do, Spore, Gum and Sweat exit the room.]


SCENE TWO


[Do, Spore, Gum and Sweat exit the elevator and make their way to the cafeteria. They enter the line and patiently wait to order their food.]

SPORE: By the way, Do all food is free at the asylum on Saturdays and Sundays for those who don’t have a registered meal plan.

DO: Thank you for the heads up Spore. Remind me to sign up for a meal plan later.

SPORE: I won’t forget.

[Spore and Do smile at each other. It is now Spore’s turn to order.]

BREAKFAST LADY: Welcome to Black Wick Asylum For The Mentally Insane. For breakfast we are serving Pancakes and waffles with your choice of 3 sides. Your choices are eggs, bacon and biscuits with brown and white gravy. We are also serving donuts, bagels and pastries. What can I get for you today?

SPORE: I think I’ll have three waffles and three biscuits covered in white gravy. Also, I’d like a donut.

BREAKFAST LADY: What kind of donut would you like?

SPORE: What kind of donuts do you have?

BREAKFAST LADY: Sprinkled, glazed, powdered, cake, jelly filling, red velvet, chocolate covered, etc…

SPORE: I think I’ll take the jelly-filled donut.

BREAKFAST LADY: What kind of jelly do you want?

SPORE: Blue raspberry.

BREAKFAST LADY: Anything to drink?

SPORE: Orange juice, please.

BREAKFAST LADY: And what can I get for you three?

[The breakfast lady began looking at Do, Sweat & Gum as she eagerly awaited their response. Gum decides to place her order first.]

GUM: I think I’ll have a short stack of red velvet pancakes, a couple of blackberry jelly-filled donuts and four scrambled eggs please.

BREAKFAST LADY: Ok and what would you like to drink?

GUM: A cup of tea would be nice.

[Gum lightly smiles at the breakfast lady as she says this then continues walking forward in the line. The lady points to Do and Sweat signaling them to come and place their orders.]

DO: I’ll take a full stack of buttermilk pancakes, two poached eggs, and a bagel with tea.

BREAKFAST LADY: Ok. What about you sir? What would you like?

SWEAT: Yeah, I’ll have two waffles, two biscuits, two fried eggs, two strips of bacon and a cup of coffee

BREAKFAST LADY: Will that be all?

SWEAT: Yes.

BREAKFAST LADY: Ok if you will please move to the end of the line your food and beverages will be placed through the delivery compartment next to the condiments.

[Do, Spore, Gum and Sweat move to the end of the line to get their food and finish preparing their beverages. The four of them then leave the condiment area and begin seeking a table to sit at. Eventually they find a table and comfortably take their seats.]

GUM: You know guys I was thinking. We have two weeks until the grand opening of Hyper.*** right? Maybe we should use some of that time to go and shop for some club appropriate attire.

SPORE: Maybe you’re right, Gum. I mean look at us. Do you really think anyone in the club is going to want to be seen with us if we walk in there wearing this?

DO: No.

SWEAT: Hell no.

SPORE: What did you have in mind Gum?

GUM: It’s not about what I have in mind. It’s about what you feel. Your outfit should project your emotions.

SPORE: Say now that’s pretty deep, Gum. Thank you.

DO: I think this is a good idea, Gum. We should do that. I mean what’s the worst that could happen? Besides I am tired of wearing these boring *** white clothes. Gotta love uniform policies.

SWEAT: Yeah, we are beyond the level of comprehension that these idiots cater to.

[Do, Spore, Gum and Sweat begin to chuckle together.]

SWEAT: So where are you thinking about shopping, Gum?

GUM: Well, actually, there is this clothing store a couple of blocks from here called UP. They are the premier shop for all things party wear. We should be able to get what we need from there.

DO: When do we leave?

GUM: As soon as possible.



SCENE THREE


TWO WEEKS LATER…

[Do, Spore, Gum and Sweat arrive UP in cab. The four of them get out of the cab and begin walking towards the store. It had a glowing neon blue sign with the word UP in big white letters. The sign also had white equalizers on both sides of its logo. The store had a clear exterior that allowed customers to see directly through the store.]

DO: This store looks fairly interesting, Gum. I like the look of it and what it seemingly appears to represent.

SWEAT: I definitely agree with you on that bro.

SPORE: I have an idea guys. How about we go inside?

SWEAT: Say that is a genius idea, Spore.

[Do and Gum begin laughing as the four of them walked into the store.]

SWEAT: What an exciting new discovery! Upon your death you shall never be forgotten!

SPORE: Ok, Sweat. That’s enough.

GUM: Yeah, Sweat. We get it.

SWEAT: Ok. I’m sorry.

[One of the male sales associates spots them and approaches them. He had jet, black hair, blue eyes, and five o’ clock shadow. He was wearing some black slacks along with a cerulean blue shirt with the company logo in the upper right corner of his chest.]

SALES ASSOCIATE: Hello, there and welcome to UP! My name is Zane. How may I help you today?

GUM: Yes, we have come to shop for and possibly purchase some night club and/or party attire.

[Spore pointed at Gum.]

SPORE: It was her idea.

GUM: To which you agreed.

SALES ASSOCIATE: Clearly. What type of night club and/or party are you going to?

[Do hands the sales associate his business card. He takes it and briefly looks at it.]

SALES ASSOCIATE: Hmm Hyper.*** eh? I’ve been hearing a lot about that new club. It seems like it’s going to be a lot of fun. I just hope the experience lives up to the hype.

DO, SPORE, GUM & SWEAT: We do too.

SALES ASSOCIATE: Do any of you know where it is going to be at? The card doesn’t seem to mention any sort of location.

GUM: What?

SPORE: What in the hell?

DO: Let me see.

[Zane hands the card back to Do. Do grabs it and starts frantically scanning the card.]

Do: Good eye, Zane.

SALES ASSOCIATE: Thanks man. Okay guys follow me. I think we may have what you are looking for.

[Do, Spore, Gum and Sweat follow Zane to the back of the store. There was a small blue sign hanging over the isle. The sign said “Casual/Blend’.

SALES ASSOCIATE: This area consists of our casual and blended clothing. The kind of clothing that we place in this area is specifically designed for party-goers who are new to the scene. Now since you all seem to be ill-informed of your club’s whereabouts, I thought this selection and style of clothing would be perfectly fitting for you.

GUM: Thank you, Zane

SALES ASSOCIATE: No problem. If you need anything else I will be at the front of the store.

DO, SPORE, GUM & SWEAT: Thank you!

[Do, Spore, Gum and Sweat continue to browse through the clothing for the next five minutes.]

GUM: Okay guys I think I have found what I like. This pink tank top and skirt along with these white high heels. I think they would look fabulous.

SPORE: That’s great, Gum.

GUM: Have any of you found anything you like?

DO: Well I saw some solid black t-shirts, jeans and sneakers that I like. I also saw a black fedora and some aviator shades that I really like.

SWEAT: I think I’ll just wear one of their generic company logo shirts with some blue denim jeans. I saw that they were selling some on clearance.

SPORE: I think I’ll go for that baby green dress and black sneakers that I saw.

GUM: That’s great. I guess we are all set then.

SWEAT: Yeah, I think so too

[Do takes out out his business card again and briefly glances at it.]

DO: You know I just can’t believe that those girls invited us to a club without informing us of its location. I mean how are we supposed to find it? How are we supposed to get there?

ALICE: By private jet

ANNA: To Switzerland

ALICE & ANNA: One way.

[Do turned around really fast appearing to be in a state of confusion. Alice and Anna were standing behind him with blue bags in their hands. Alice was wearing a plum purple dress, purple framed sunglasses with black lenses and purple sneakers. Anna was wearing an electric red dress red framed sunglasses and red sneakers to match the electric red highlights in her hair. ]

DO: Alice? Anna? What are you doing here?

ALICE: We’re here to shop silly.

ANNA: Yeah, we know the club scene like the back of our hand.

GUM: So do I.

ALICE: Excellent.

SPORE: What part of Switzerland?

ANNA: Zurich

ALICE: It is a neighboring country to France.

ANNA: Don’t worry we’ll have you back by tomorrow afternoon.

ALICE: Remember the grand opening of club Hyper.*** is in two days.

ANNA: Our plane leaves Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. sharp. We will be flying first class.

ALICE: You are to meet us there at approximately 9:00 a.m.

ANNA: And not a minute later.

ALICE: Be there or be square.

SALES ASSOCIATE: Bye ladies!

ALICE & ANNA: BYE ZANE!!!

[They wave at Zane as they are walking out of the door. Zane turns around and looks at Do, Spore, Gum and Sweat.]

SALES ASSOCIATE: You guys ready to pay?


SCENE FOUR


24 HOURS LATER…

[It is now 8:55 a.m. and Do, Spore, Gum and Sweat are only just arriving at the airport. The four of them walk into the airport where they are greeted by Alice and Anna.]

ALICE: Bonjour! Il est si agréable pour nous d'être à nouveau réunis!

ANNA: Oui, c'était très agréable d'avoir couru dans les quatre d'entre vous hier! Avez-vous les gars obtenez assez de repos?

DO: J'ai dormi comme un bébé.

ANNA: Bon, je suis content.

GUM: Will we be needing plane tickets?

ALICE: Not at all. You are flying via our private jet. A ticket is not needed.

ANNA: By the way how old are you all?

DO: 23

SPORE: 21

GUM: 25

SWEAT: 26

ALICE: Great. Then you all are old enough to drink then.

ANNA: We serve but only the finest liquor and wine aboard our jet. I think you’d enjoy our selection immensely.

SPORE: Do you guys also serve chocolate?

ALICE: Yes, we do.

GUM: What about meals?

ANNA: Of course.

DO: Good.

ALICE: Told you we’d take care of you.

ANNA: We weren’t kidding.

[Spore glances at her watch to check the time.]

SPORE:  Anyway, it is coming to 10:00 now. Shouldn’t we be leaving?

[Alice and Anna glance at their phones.]

ALICE: Oh my! You guys are right. It is now 9:55 a.m.

ANNA: Well I guess we had better get going if we want to make it to the event on time.

ALICE: Yes, so we should.

ANNA: Alright, kids follow us outside to the jet.

[Do, Spore, Gum and Sweat follow Alice and Anna outside the airport. A big, white jet was sitting just across from the airway.]

ALICE: Well, what are you waiting for? Come aboard!

ANNA: Yeah, don’t be such a loser. Come on! Come aboard all of you!

[Do, Spore, Gum and Sweat climb aboard the jet. A tall, muscular butler approaches them. He had a dark, brown afro, dark brown eyes, and golden brown skin.]

BUTLER: Hello, there young lads! My name is Owen.

[Owen gently grabs both Gum and Spore’s hands simultaneously as he planted a soft kiss on the backs of their palms.]

BUTLER: I was informed that the four of you would be flying first class today, correct?

GUM: Yes, that is correct, Owen.

BUTLER: May I escort you to your seats?

GUM: Yes, you may kind one.

SPORE: Please never hesitate to ask.

[Gum and Spore let out a few really **** giggles.]

BUTLER: Right this way.

[Owen escorts Do, Spore, Gum and Sweat to their seats. The four of them take their seats and begin to relax.]

BUTLER: What can I get you guys to drink?

GUM: Do you have strawberry wine?

BUTLER: Yes, ma’am. I believe we do have that.

GUM: Could you get me a glass of that please?

BUTLER: Yes, of course. Is there anything I can get for the rest of you lads?

SPORE: I’ll have a blue raspberry soda.

DO: I’d also like a blue raspberry soda.

[Spore looked at Do with a wide grin on her face as she began to blush. Do returned the expression.]

BUTLER: Ok I’ll have your drinks out straight away.

DO, SPORE, GUM & SWEAT: THANK YOU, OWEN!

BUTLER: You’re welcome!

[Owen turns around and walks straight to the cockpit, types in the security access code. The door to the cockpit opens. Owen walks right in and closes the door. He then puts his hands over his face and aggressively clenches and pulls the skin off of his face baring a the face of a beautiful female. This female then removed a hair net from her head revealing jet, black shoulder length hair. She also had winter blue eyes, and black lipstick.]

NURSE YUCKI: The kids totally bough
L B Aug 2016
It was the time of my Auntie Bee summers
   I was small then
   She had a parakeet that landed on my head
   and a bathtub too
   with water so deep!
   and legs and claws!
   **** thing nearly chased me down the stairs!

She lived in slumbery Windsor Locks
   where bugs hung-out in the haze
   of teenage August
   I played in the tall weeds
   with a shoeless Italian boy
   who ate tomatoes like apples
   and cucumbers right off the vine!
   He was ***** free and foreign!
   We played— reckless, abandoned
   behind the gas pump, under the tractor, in the barn   
   and through the endless fields
   I didn’t know....
   His name was Tony
   I ate pizza with him—the first time

At Auntie Bee’s I had to go to bed at eight
   but I could watch night flowers
   bloom on wallpaper
   She came in to say good night
   slippered, shadowy, night dress slightly open
   and I peeped her *******!
   like Tony’s cucumbers!
   I had never seen my mother’s wonders....

Night spread its wings from the old fan—
   a bird of tireless exhaustion
   whipped, whipped, whipped to death in its cage
   tireless exhaustion
   tic-tocking in time to a wind-up clock
   stretched out on the whine
   of the overland trucks
   Route Five through the night of an open window

In the grape arbor below—
tremulous incessant
   crickets    crickets    crickets
tremulous incessant—insides of a child
   a summer child
   not yet ready for the fall of answers

Auntie Bee had a daughter—Maureen
   I followed her everywhere I could
   I was small then--    
   do anything for a stick of Juicy Fruit
I followed Maureen through my dreams
   of being sixteen
   and woke to Peggy’s “Fever”
   while she tied her sneakers
   against the mattress by my head

I followed Maureen (in my mind)
   tanned and bandanned
   to work in the fields of shade tobacco
   with all those Puerto Rican boys!
   She knew where she was going!

I was small then
...do anything for a stick of  gum

“Mauney! Mauney! Mauney!”
   ...through the goldenrod of roadside
   through the smell of oil that damped the dust    
I followed Maureen’s white shorts
   and chestnut hair...to the corner store
I followed the way the boys smiled
   the way the screen door slammed
   on her bright behind
   the way her lips taunted and took
   the coke-bottle’s green
I followed Maureen

I swear, I tried for hours to get that right!

Must have been Peggy Lee’s “Fever”

Maureen ties her sneakers in my face
Flaunts her years above my head
She has that look—
“We kids don’t know nothin”
(Little turds” that we be)

…followin’ Maureen
through the goldenrod of roadside
tic-tockin’, beboppin’

“Fever— in the morning
Fever all through the night….”
Peggy Lee's Fever:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4hXyALR9vI
I was seven years old and did I ever get this!
Peggy Lee's stripped down performance is the epitome of ***.

Windsor Locks is in Connecticut.
Mae Alyson Aug 2013
There's something about a pair of
old sneakers, that is just so hard to let go.
They were a part of you, for so many days.
They hold every
puddle you stepped in,
every blade of grass.
The gravel, the mud, the sand, the pavement;
it's all there.
So maybe it's not about
possesion,
maybe its just about the travels, and the memories, the ones you don't want to let go.

(m.a.)
Frances Nov 2015
People..
People were looking down at me
Judging
No, I don't know
Maybe I was the one judging
But their sharp looks made me uncomfortable
Their eyes are burning in blue
The cold hottest look I've got
This ***** Sneakers I wore for years
Tells my story
People...
Don't look at me like that.
Julia Mullin Mar 2014
Death wears sneakers
Fastened tight
Leaving wounds
Wronging rights

It sneaks around
And doesn’t care
About what’s left
And what’s to share

It doesn’t knock
It barges in
To take it’s claim
To sate it’s yen

Not bound by locks
Or siren’s blare
It leaves a mess
It doesn’t care

Don’t forget
To right your soul
Keep in mind
Who’ll pay the toll
Paolo C Perez Oct 2012
His Funeral was today.  Well, his wake rather.  It was in his old colonial home on Elm Street, a bought of irony that Paolo would never get.  Anyway, it was an odd set up at his house. Family and friends downstairs in the living room, acquaintances and honorable mentions meandering through the hallways clearly more interested in the intricate little floral patterns that adorned the wallpaper than how his family was holding up.  The company of the house was split, everyone either legitimately full of sorrow, or completely full of ****.  In everyone’s grasp either handkerchiefs or hand grenades it was as if the invitation read “Come see it to believe it!” In the study across the hall a small memorial was set up.  Big cards, tons of photos, some flowers, anyone who actually cared stayed there and stared at his once happy face, who knew what it looks like now.  
He had died of some sort of overdose, one that destroyed his heart, so he would have looked fine in an open casket.  The doctors say it was *******.  I don’t believe them.  Paolo had his fun in college, ***, *****, sure, but coke?  There’s no way.    The services weren’t to take place for another two hours, so his family rolled him onto the second floor balcony.  It was actually his dad’s decision, something about a “disgrace” and not wanting to look at his face.
Apparently his mom had felt bad letting her dead son chill on the porch for a few hours, so she rolled him across the hallway to his own room him and kind of laid him out on the bed, as if letting her baby boy take his eternal sleep where he’d have had most of his shorter ones.  
Picturing him lying up there was the first negative connotation I ever had with the image of him on that bed.  He had that kind of headboard that when we started getting at it the bed would hit the wall with each rhythmic movement.  Steady and almost tribal as our bodies danced to the ever increasing beat of a talking drum.  Our clothes off and our skin glazed with sweat it was like my own personal method for getting high. Now don’t get the impression that our relationship was based purely on a physical connection, we’d been dating for three and a half years, the love was there all right.  
We had met in the strangest of ways, through a mutual friend that I was kind of, almost, sort of, but not really having a “thing” with, you know?  Cisco was his name.  So we were together one day and he, being the adorable spaz that he was, had forgotten that his own birthday party was that same night.  He asked if I didn’t mind tagging along, it was a celebration for him and two friends whose birthdays followed his in sequence.  
This had been going on for several weeks, and I know we weren’t dating but I still had a feigning interest in the guy.  So we arrive to this girl, Cristina’s, house and I noticed this other boy almost immediately.  In a backwards cap and pair of boot cut jeans he was jumping around, tossing his arms, right in the middle of reciting some hilarious anecdote to any of his friends who hadn’t heard it yet; even those who had seemed riveted.  He was so full of charisma and with such assurance.  Besides that he was kind of cute so, though pathetically, I tried flirting with him for the rest of the night; he didn’t really catch on.  We left that night without having exchanged more than ten words between each other, I thought I’d never see him again, turns out I was wrong.  
“Broadway CAREols.  Show others that you care by enjoying a night of with your favorite blend of Christmas ditties and Broadway biddies” And before you ask, Yes, I did come up with that title, I think it was great and it was at the top of each flyer in big red and green letters and if you asked me “If you could do it again…” I would do it the same each and every time don’t judge me.
It was a show I had to direct for a community service project and of all people he played the piano for my show.  Only me and several other girls made up the cast, and I knew how easy it was to mistake a positive attitude for flirtation when it comes from a handsome young man.  He ran the music over three or four times individually with each cast member before the night of the show, but when Paolo and I worked that night he stopped me and just sang. For me.  
Each night after rehearsal I had to give him a ride home, I was a year older and thus had my license a year sooner.  I’d never mind allowing myself more time to bask in the glow of his perfectly understated confidence, so I was happy to oblige.  Technically Connecticut state imposed a law forbidding new drivers under the age of 18 to be on the roads past 11 at night.  My mom, being a government employee, really stressed this one.  His house was a solid ten minutes drive from our rehearsal spot, and my mom often warned me to allow myself enough time to get back home before 11.  What started as me beginning to drive faster and faster during the trip home ended as a routine each night, where I would finally allow him to step out of my car just as the clock read 11:00 PM.  
Our first kiss was in that car, my first uncontrollable breakdown was in the car, hell the first time he told me he loved me was in that car…right at the lip of the driveway.  I learned to ride my brakes perfectly to the point where I could park just beyond the edge of the sidewalk yet just before the point where the porch light would flash on, reminding his mother that his son is out past ten on a school night.  It was so warm.  I’ll never forget the cadence of his laughter as it trailed off, seamlessly merging with that next statement “Anna, I love you”.  I could have sworn the porch light went on.  

Now I know it may seem like I don’t care for his being dead right now, but the thing is, I did something.  I did something really bad.

You see, I had mentioned that he was up in his room, right?  Still, stiff, simply waiting to be brought down in a few hours as the catalyst to another round of tears.  Now don’t get me wrong, I did my share of crying the night before.  He’d been in the hospital for only a few days and when they told us he was dead…God, he was just so young, two years into college, the friend you have who was chasing his dreams down with a brand new pair of sneakers.  That kid the whole town knew because of the multitude of silly town functions he attended.  He would always insist.  Every other weekend was one silly thing or another “Oh you’re gonna love this.  Two words – ‘Poetry showdown’.  If you can’t take the heat, don’t stay in the kitchen”
The day of the funeral I just had to see him.  I snuck up the two floors to his room on the third floor.  As I neared his door at the top of that final flight of stairs each creak of the floorboard seemed to resonate through the house, followed by the hollow silence of my stillness.  I paused with each step as if stepping in larger spans of time would make what I was doing seem less suspicious, should someone hear me.  Upon touching his doorknob I felt an immediate chill. I couldn’t tell whether it was some ghostly feeling of being in the presence of a dead person, or the fact that the thermostat had been turned down to keep his body prime for viewing.
I held my breath as I opened the door, and blinked a couple times when I saw him.  He was wearing what everyone else was in downstairs, black tuxedo and a dark tie.  I know he would have scowled had he known he was going to be buried in a constricting penguin suit.  We had a conversation about it, you know?  Out on Academy Hill, right in the middle of a picnic. We were in enough shade that his transition lenses were only half tinted, and when he sat up, it was abruptly.  Pushing my head off his chest he kind of leaned in to the cemetery in the distance and pointed out how sad it is that no one really ever gets the chance to choose how they want to spend the rest of eternity dressed in.  He would have preferred his puma sneakers, still white after seven months, his striped green and blue socks, his only pair of ripped designer jeans and that express shirt he loved so much because it showed off his natural physique.  
I moved closer, inching toward him at first, then quicker as I broke through a place where I just relaxed, and for a moment he wasn’t dead.  For a moment he was just sleeping, all ready in his fancy get up simply waiting for me to wake him up.  I found myself sitting next to him, my eyes cast downward, half expecting his gaze to meet mine, and while stroking his hair I got an idea.  It happened quickly, and I kind of have a problem with acting upon my impulses, it’s something he used to criticize me on that and I never really improved.  Without thinking I threw open his drawer and pulled out what I knew he’d have wanted to be dressed in, should he have gotten the chance to create a will concerning his death-wear.  As I pulled of his starchy shirt my hand brushed against his chest, chilled as the room was, eerie as nothing else.  I finally got him down past his pants and saw, of all abominations, that he was outfitted in a fresh pair of tighty whities.  God, it’s as if the funeral home was asking to be haunted by his tormented soul.  I found his single pair of silk boxers and reassembled him in the way I knew he’d have wanted to be.
So great, now everyone will think I’m a loon for having desecrated his body.  Well what do they know; I’m the only one who ever really knew him! But how the hell would I explain it to his parents when the pallbearers march in and there he is, laying face up in his street clothes?  
This wasn’t right.  He didn’t belong here, he needed to be somewhere comfortable, someplace he enjoyed, not sitting upstairs in a suit with the lights off and the air blasting.  He hated the cold!  Certainly he would have hated a hundred people staring at his dead and lifeless shell, and he would, without a doubt, hate being six feet under, pushing daises at the Nichols Road cemetery.
I wrapped my arms around him, and as the building adrenaline made my breaths deepen I inhaled several moments of ecstasy off his clothes that still clung to his musty scent.  I lowered him gently to the floor and took care as I dragged him across the carpet to his door.  After fumbling, for what felt like several minutes, on his door handle I got him onto the awning introducing the stairs.  I even made it down the first flight of stairs without freezing up at the tiniest creak when I heard someone coming my way.  ******, they must need to use the bathroom, why couldn’t they just use the one downstairs like any normal person?  Without hesitation I throw open up the window near bottom of the stairs, heaving myself and him, sending us tumbling onto the garage roof.  Ignoring my probable bruises I spring up and slam the window behind me while taking special care to hide us both as far away from the bathroom window as possible.
Sitting up there, my heart racing, I felt his hand in mine and it was probably because my palms had gone clammy but I swear for a span of time he was alive again.  I closed my eyes and felt the breeze in my hair and was transported to a place where I spent a single moment in each day we ever shared.  Each beach side sandcastle, each afternoon spent cloud gazing, those same afternoons turning into evenings of star gazing, each and every night spent utterly and irrevocably lost with this silly boy that chose to love me.  
I was torn from my oasis as I heard the bathroom’s occupant exit and continue downstairs.   Knowing that my van was parked on the other side of the street I pushed his body as close to the edge of the roof as I could without his falling off and let him be. I hopped back inside and ran downstairs, but not before flying through the doors of the memorial and interrupting his mothers eulogy.  In an act of sheer brilliance I mustered a few tears and tore out the back door.  Everyone figured I was just so taken away by his death that I couldn’t stand to be there anymore.  Who knew anxiety could be mistook for remorse so easily?
I ran down the driveway, losing the grace I had composed in my dress in high heels the moment I slammed that door.  I jumped into Emmet, my van, because only crazy people drive around in un-named vehicles.  
I pulled out of my spot, nearly ruining the paint job on both my and his Uncle Ed’s car.  I flew my trunk door open and set the third row down, the general idea being his landing securely in my back seat.  I reversed up the driveway with the precision of a surgeon and the speed of a leopard right back to the edge of the garage where I had tossed his body.  I jumped out of my car nearly forgetting to put it into park before I shut off the engine.  I barely got halfway around my car before becoming transfixed on his hand, hanging off the gutter as if reaching for mine to grab hold and pull him to sweet salvation.  I jumped up a few times, unsuccessfully before I took off my shoes and got a good running start.  I flew up, grabbed his arm and ****** towards the car in a sideways downward motion.  He nearly cracked his head on the pavement coming down, he would have too if it wasn’t for my body breaking his fall.  I got up, too distracted by the sheer volume of my own heart to realize the pain I felt.  I shoved him into my back seat, slammed the trunk, stumbled into the car, stuck it in reverse and stepped on gas without even putting my shoes back on.

I told you I had done something bad.
This is a first draft, please, I welcome your critiques.
Rob Urban Jun 2012
Lost in the dim
streets of the
Marunouchi district
I describe
this wounded city in an
  unending internal
monologue as I follow
the signs to Tokyo Station and
descend into the
underground passages
  of the metro,
seeking life and anything bright
in this half-lit, humid midnight.

I find the train finally
to Shibuya, the Piccadilly
and Times Square of Japan,
and even there the lights
are dimmer and the neon
  that does remain
  is all the more garish by
contrast.
I cross the street
near a sign that says
  "Baby Dolls" in English
over a business that turns
out to be a pet
  shop, of all things.

Like
the Japanese, I sometimes feel I live
in reduced circumstances, forced to proceed with caution:
A poorly chosen
adjective, a
mangled metaphor
could so easily trigger the
tsunami that
    sweeps away the containment
             facilities that
                   protect us
                        from ourselves
                                                            and others.
  
The next night at dinner, the sweltering room
     suddenly rocks and
        conversation stops
                  as the building sways and the
candles flicker.

'Felt like a 4, maybe a 5,'
says one of my tablemates,
a friend from years ago
in the States.

'At least a five-and-a-half,'
says another, gesturing
at the still-moving shadows
on the wall. And I think
     of other sweaty, dimly lit rooms,
      bodies in slow, restrained motion,       all
          in a moment that falls
                         between
                                     tremors.

         Then the swaying stops and we return
to our dinner. The shock, or aftershock,
isn't mentioned again,
though we do return, repeatedly, to the
big one,
         and the tidal wave that
                           swept so much away.

En route to the monsoon
I go east to come west,
   clouds gathering slowly
     in the vicinity of my chest.

Next day in Shanghai, the sun's glare reflects
  off skyscrapers,
and the streets teem
with determined shoppers
and sightseers
wielding credit cards and iPhone cameras, clad
in T-shirts with English words and phrases.
I fall
          in step
             beside a young woman on
                 the outdoor escalator whose
shirt, white on black,
reads, 'I am very, very happy.' I smile
and then notice, coming
down the other side,
another woman
wearing
        exactly the same
       message, only
                        in neon pink. So many
                                  very,
                                          very
                                                 happy people!
Yet the ATMs sometimes dispense
counterfeit 100 yuan notes and
elsewhere in the realm
      police fire on
      protestors seeking
                more than consumer goods,
while officials fret
about American credit
and the security of their investments, and
     the government executes mayors for taking
                       bribes from real estate developers.
    
    A drizzle greets me in Hong Kong,
a tablecloth of fog draped over the peaks
   that turns into a rain shower.
I find my way to work after many twists and turns
through shopping malls and building lobbies and endless
turning halls of luxury retail.
               At dinner I have a century egg and think
of Chinese mothers
urging their children,
'Eat! Eat your green, gooey treat.
On the street afterwards, a
near-naked girl grabs my arm,
pulls me toward a doorway marked by a 'Live Girls’
sign. 'No kidding,’ I think as I pull myself carefully
free, and cross the street.

On the flight to Bombay, I doze
   under a sweaty airline blanket, and
       dream that I am already there and the rains
         have come in earnest as I sit with the presumably
           semi-fictional Didier of Shantaram in the real but as-yet-unseen
            Leopold's Café, drinking Kingfishers,
              and he is telling me,  confidentially,
                     exactly where to find what I’ve lost as I wake
with the screech and grip of wheels on runway.
            

     Next day on the street outside the real Leopold's,
bullet holes preserved in the walls from the last terrorist attack,
I am trailed through the Colaba district
by a mother and children,  'Please sir, buy us milk, sir, buy us some rice,
I will show you the store.'
    A man approaches, offering a drum,
                        another a large balloon (What would I do with that?)
A shoeshine guy offers
                                           to shine my sneakers, then shares
the story of his arrival and struggle in Bombay.
     And I buy
             the milk and the rice and some
                      small cakes and in a second
                          the crowd of children swells
                               into the street
               and I sense
                     the danger of the crazy traffic to the crowd
                         that I have created, and I
think, what do I do?
           I flee, get into a taxi and head
                             to the Gateway of India, feeling
                                                                                  that I have failed a test.

                                       My last night in Mumbai, the rains come, flooding
     streets and drenching pavement dwellers and washing
the humid filth from the air. When it ends
           after two hours, the air is cool and fresh
                                  and I take a stroll at midnight
          in the street outside my hotel and enter the slum
   from which each morning I have watched
the residents emerge,  perfectly coiffed. I buy
some trinkets at a tiny stand and talk briefly
      with a boy who approaches, curious about a foreigner out for a walk.

A couple of days after that, in
the foothills of the Himalayas,  monks' robes flutter
on a clothesline like scarlet prayer flags behind the
Dalai Lama's temple.
I trek to 11,000 feet along a
narrow rocky path through thick
monsoon mist,
   stopping every 10 steps
to
   catch
        my  breath,
              testing each rock before placing my weight.
Sometimes
    the surface is slick and I nearly fall,
sometimes
    the stones
        themselves shift. I learn slowly, like some
             newborn foal, or just another
                clumsy city boy,
                   that in certain terrains the
       smallest misstep
                            can end with a slide
                                             into the abyss.
                  At the peak there's a chai shop that sells drinks and cigarettes
                                of all things and I order a coffee and noodles for lunch.
While I eat,
      perched on a rock in a silence that is both ex- and
      in-ternal,
the clouds in front of me slowly part to reveal
a glacier that takes up three-quarters of the sky, craggy and white and
beautiful. I snap a few shots,
quickly,
before the cloud curtain closes
again,
obscuring the mountain.
                                                
                                     --Rob Urban: Tokyo, Shanghai, Mumbai, Delhi, Dharamshala
                                        7/13/11-7/30/11
Marcie Kenny Nov 2011
Oh you beautiful shoes helped me run 5k for breast cancer in 35:35 minutes.  Yes the fun we           had and a beautiful it was!  We broke no records just broke even who could ask for more.  Oh the fun we had no wind or heat to hold us back just me and my Niki's  and that is all I needed. You are the best we did it with out pain only comfort in us too working together to complete a task that was done for a good cause in remember of all the women we know who died or are recovering cancer patients .
Colt Jul 2013
for Those who eat ramen by choice, or not.*

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by disillusionment,
lacking egotistical sold, dragging themselves through the hip streets at dawn
looking for a socially self-aggrandizing fix.
Poets, as they sit in desks and discuss discourse
about discourse about discourse about discourse,
who fear that thinking itself was buried with Vonnegut,
who are lost in forests of brick walls,
inviting, because they block the wind of dying fall,
who swim in cesspools filled with academic sewage, yearning for freedom,
for truth, as they always have,
mining their minds for images, and searching for words to describe
-a reality which is virtual at its core and each act, another chore./
-a scene of life which reflects all that is poignant and sacred.
Poets seek musicians while musicians seek poets.
and the dog chases its tail, endlessly
and the dog chases its tail, endlessly
and the dog chases its tail, endlessly

These poets who search aimlessly for the feeling of feeling,
who are overwhelmed with meaning to the point where meaning
has no meaning in itself.
Who claim this poem as their own and continuously write themselves into it.
It is those who suffer in truth that live the poetic.
Those who sit in front of space heaters eating peanut butter sandwiches in winter,
who sweat unknowingly in summer, comforted in each’s odor.
Those who open Macbooks while squatting in empty flats.
Signing up, logging in and zoning out, forever disengaged.
Those who type prophecy on keypads and let keyboards gather dust-
stratification, signs of long nights spent in century-old homes still not renovated,
ceilings sinking at the sides while those above pogo to punk rock long dead,
or grind genitals to old soul, simulating all that is sensual.
Those who play archaeologist to their own layers of makeup, grimed on the sink.
Those who share their food with the roaches and the mooches who all have keys,
who use the books as shelves to hold ceramic mugs, stained with a single drip-drop,
who, with arms crossed, watch bands in basements play noise.
Those who replaced their nu-metal records with folk but kept the unkempt beards.
Those who drink stale beer on stranger’s rooftops.
Those who live with bags under eyes, themselves asleep, lacking a body,
sleeping naked together to stay warm,
sleeping naked together to stay sane,
sleeping naked together to stay touched.

Those who leave coffee in unplugged automatic pots, decaying rapidly.
Those who eat pizza for breakfast, cold or microwaved, as an act of ultimate indulgence.
Those who prance about in un-matching socks
from hardwood floors to vinyl floors to tile floors, all under the same popcorn ceiling,
dancing to the sound of rhythmic silence.
Those who fight with lovers about acts, but never once mention the act of love itself.
Those who don flannel plaid in springtime color, constructing Williamsburg,
who consider gentrification a new form of landed gentry,
who live in poverty as if it were a novelty,
capitalist martyrs sacrificing employment to hide being non-hirable,
who shop in online surplus department stores for unique vintage.
Those who, who, who hoot like the owls framed on their walls, eyes wide but beaks small.
Those who are oppressed by nonexistent kings ruling in imaginary suits.
Those who crave something new, not tired-as the form of this very poem-
something which is not-yet auto-tuned.
Those who, faux-hawked and shredded, rock and bop to Bowie doing Lou
on Sunday Morning from Station to Station shooting ******,
who walk swiftly with denim skin on their legs and refuse socks.
Those who, in their rightest mind, are the wrongest-minded.
Those who can reject privilege only because they are privileged,
who, in their uniform whiteness, denounce racism,
who, in their uniform straightness, claim immune to homophobia
who, with their ***** ***** in a row, claim to be feminists.

And those who search for revolution in a time when rebellion is conformity.
Listening to the  pounding sound of blog-protesters typing n o w.
who, in claiming to accept, don’t accept the unaccepting,
who got veggies tattooed on their sides while snapping bacon in their teeth,
who ironically infiltrated asylums and performed madness until the shocks came
and they were maddened, for good, eaten alive by volts resounding
ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.
Who sleep naked together to be together but end up being alone,
exchanges from lips that move in pretentious drone,
and the dog chases its tail, endlessly.
When the abnormal is normal and the whole structure is inverted and
heaven is here and flames under the soil are no longer hell burning for soles of the
Converse, Adidas, and Nike sneakers on the bicycle pedals of poets who ride at night,
listening to the sound of owls that question:
who?
whoo?
whooo?
Bouazizi’s heavy eyelids parted as the Muezzin recited the final call for the first Adhan of the day.

“As-salatu Khayrun Minan-nawm”
Prayer is better than sleep

Rising from the torment of another restless night, Bouazizi wiped the sleep from his droopy eyes as his feet touched the cold stone floor.

Throughout the frigid night, the devilish jinn did their work, eagerly jabbing away at Bouazizi with pointed sticks, tormenting his troubled conscience with the worry of his nagging indebtedness. All night the face of the man Bouazizi owed money to haunted him. Bouazizi could see the man’s greasy lips and brown teeth jawing away, inches from his face. He imagined chubby caffeine stained fingers reaching toward him to grab some dinars from Bouazizi’s money box.

Bouazizi turned all night like he was sleeping on a board of spikes. His prayers for a restful night again went unanswered. The pall of a blue fatigue would shadow Bouazizi for most of the day.

Bouazizi’s weariness was compounded by a gnawing hunger. By force of habit, he grudgingly opened the food cupboard with the foreknowledge that it was almost bare. Bouazizi’s premonition proved correct as he surveyed a meager handful of chickpeas, some eggs and a few sparse loaves. It was just enough to feed his dependant family; younger brothers and sisters, cousins and a terminally disabled uncle. That left nothing for Bouazizi but a quick jab to his empty gut. He would start this day without breakfast.

Bouazizi made a living as a street vendor. He hustles to survive. Bouazizi’s father died in a construction accident in Libya when he was three. Since the age of 10, Bouazizi had pushed a cart through the streets of Sidi Bouzid; selling fruit at the public market just a few blocks from the home that he has lived in for almost his entire life.

At 27 years of age, Bouazizi has wrestled the beast of deprivation since his birth. To date, he has bravely fought it to a standstill; but day after day the multi-headed hydra of life has snapped at him. He has squarely met the eyes of the beast with fortitude and resolve; but the sharp fangs of a hardscrabble life has sunken deep into Bouazizi’s spleen. The unjust rules of society are powerful claws that slash away at his flesh, bleeding him dry: while the spiked tendrils of poverty wrap Bouazizi’s neck, seeking to strangle him.

Bouazizi is a workingman hero; a skilled warrior in the fight for daily bread. He is accustomed to living a life of scarcity. His daily deliverance is the grace of another day of labor and the blessed wages of subsistence.

Though Allah has blessed this man with fortitude the acuteness of terminal want and the constant struggle to survive has its limits for any man; even for strong champions like Bouazizi.

This morning as Bouazizi washed he peered into a mirror, closely examining new wrinkles on his stubble strewn face. He fingered his deep black curls dashed with growing streaks of gray. He studied them through the gaze of heavy bloodshot eyes. He looked upward as if to implore Allah to salve the bruises of daily life.

Bouazizi braced himself with the splash of a cold water slap to his face. He wiped his cheeks clean with the tail of his shirt. He dipped his toothbrush into a box of baking powder and scoured an aching back molar in need of a root canal. Bouazizi should see a dentist but it is a luxury he cannot afford so he packed an aspirin on top of the infected tooth. The dissolving aspirin invaded his mouth coating his tongue with a bitter effervescence.

Bouazizi liked the taste and was grateful for the expectation of a dulled pain. He smiled into the mirror to check his chipped front tooth while pinching a cigarette **** from an ashtray. The roach had one hit left in it. He lit it with a long hard drag that consumed a good part of the filter. Bouazizi’s first smoke of the day was more filter then tobacco but it shocked his lungs into the coughing flow of another day.

Bouazizi put on his jacket, slipped into his knockoff NB sneakers and reached for a green apple on a nearby table. He took a big bite and began to chew away the pain of his toothache.

Bouazizi stepped into the street to catch the sun rising over the rooftops. He believed that seeing the sunrise was a good omen that augured well for that day’s business. A sunbeam braking over a far distant wall bathed Bouazizi in a golden light and illumined the alley where he parked his cart holding his remaining stock of week old apples. He lifted the handles and backed his cart out into the street being extra mindful of the cracks in the cobblestone road. Bouazizi sprained his ankle a week ago and it was still tender. Bouazizi had to be careful not to aggravate it with a careless step. Having successfully navigated his cart into the road, Bouazizi made a skillful U Turn and headed up the street limping toward the market.

A winter chill gripped Bouazizi prompting him to zip his jacket up to his neck. The zipper pinched his Adam’s Apple and a few droplets of blood stained his green corduroy jacket. Though it was cold, Bouazizi sensed that spring would arrive early this year triggering a replay of a recurring daydream. Bouazizi imagined himself behind the wheel of a new van on his way to the market. Fresh air and sunshine pouring through the open windows with the cargo space overflowing with fresh vegetables and fruits.

It was a lifelong ambition of Bouazizi to own a van. He dreamed of buying a six cylinder Dodge Caravan. It would be painted red and he would call it The Red Flame. The Red Flame would be fast and powerful and sport chrome spinners. The Red Flame would be filled with music from a Blaupunkt sound system with kick *** speakers. Power windows, air conditioning, leather seats, a moonroof and plenty of space in the back for his produce would complete Bouazizi’s ride.

The Red Flame would be the vehicle Bouazizi required to expand his business beyond the market square. Bouazizi would sell his produce out of the back of the van, moving from neighborhood to neighborhood. No longer would he have to wait for customers to come to his stand in the market. Bouazizi would go to his customers. Bouazizi and the Red Flame would be known in all the neighborhoods throughout the district. Bouazizi shook his head and smiled thinking about all the girls who would like to take rides in the Red Flame. Bouazizi and his Red Flame would be a sight to be noticed and a force to be reckoned with.

“EEEEEYOWWW” a Mercedes horn angrily honked; jarring Bouazizi from the reverie of his daydream. A guy whipping around the corner like a silver streak stuck his head out the window blasting with music yelling, “Hey Mnayek, watch where you push that *******.”

The music faded as the Mercedes roared away. “Barra nikk okhtek” Bouazizi yelled, raising his ******* in the direction of the vanished car. “The big guys in the fancy cars think the road belongs to them”, Bouazizi mumbled to himself.

The insult ****** Bouazizi off, but he was accustomed to them and as he limped along pushing his cart he distracted himself with the amusement of the ascending sun chasing the fleeting shadows of the night, sending them scurrying down narrow alleyways.

Bouazizi imaged himself a character from his favorite movie. He was a giant Transformer, chasing the black shadows of evil away from the city into the desert. After battling evil and conquering the bad guys, he would transform himself back into the regular Bouazizi; selling his produce to the people as he patrolled the highways of Tunisia in the Red Flame, the music blasting out the windows, the chrome spinners flashing in the sunlight. Bouazizi would remain vigilant, always ready to transform the Red Flame to fight the evil doers.

The bumps and potholes in the road jostled Bouazizi’s load of apples. A few fell out of the wooden baskets and were rolling around in the open spaces of the cart. Bouazizi didn’t want to risk bruising them. Damaged merchandise can’t be sold so he was careful to secure his goods and arrange his cart to appeal to women customers. He made sure to display his prized electronic scale in the corner of the cart for all to see.

Bouazizi had a reputation as a fair and generous dealer who always gave good value to his customers. Bouazizi was also known for his kindness. He would give apples to hungry children and families who could not pay. Bouazizi knew the pain of hunger and it brought him great satisfaction to be able to alleviate it in others.

As a man who valued fairness, Bouazizi was particularly proud of his electronic scale. Bouazizi was certain the new measuring device assured all customers that Bouazizi sold just and correct portions. The electronic scale was Bouazizi’s shining lamp. He trusted it. He hung it from the corner post of his cart like it was the beacon of a lighthouse guiding shoppers through the treachery of an unscrupulous market. It would attract all customers who valued fairness to the safe harbor of Bouazizi’s cart.

The electronic scale is Bouazizi’s assurance to his customers that the weights and measures of electronic calculation layed beyond any cloud of doubt. It is a fair, impartial and objective arbiter for any dispute.

Bouazizi believed that the fairness of his scale would distinguish his stand from other produce vendors. Though its purchase put Bouazizi into deep debt, the scale was a source of pride for Bouazizi who believed that it would help his profits to increase and help him to achieve his goal of buying the Red Flame.

As Bouazizi pushed his cart toward the market, he mulled his plan over in his mind for the millionth time. He wasn't great in math but he was able to calculate his financial situation with a degree of precision. His estimations triggered worries that his growing debt to money lenders may be difficult to payoff.

Indebtedness pressed down on Bouazizi’s chest like a mounting pile of stones. It was the source of an ever present fear coercing Bouazizi to live in a constant state of anxiety. His business needed to grow for Bouazizi to get a measure of relief and ultimately prosper from all his hard work. Bouazizi was driven by urgency.

The morning roil of the street was coming alive. Bouazizi quickened his step to secure a good location for his cart at the market. Car horns, the spewing diesel from clunking trucks, the flatulent roar of accelerating buses mixed with the laughs and shrieks of children heading to school composed the rising crescendo of the city square.

As he pushed through the market, Bouazizi inhaled the aromatic eddies of roasting coffee floating on the air. It was a pleasantry Bouazizi looked forward to each morning. The delicious wafts of coffee mingling with the crisp aroma of baking bread instigated a growl from Bouazizi’s empty stomach. He needed to get something to eat. After he got money from his first sale he would by a coffee and some fried dough.

Activity in the market was vigorous, punctuated by the usual arguments of petty territorial disputes between vendors. The disagreements were always amicably resolved, burned away in rising billows of roasting meats and vegetables, the exchange of cigarettes and the plumes of tobacco smoke rising as emanations of peace.

Bouazizi skillfully maneuvered his cart through the market commotion. He slid into his usual space between Aaban and Aameen. His good friend Aaban sold candles, incense, oils and sometimes his wife would make cakes to sell. Aameen was the markets most notorious jokester. He sold hardware and just about anything else he could get his hands on.

Aaban was already burning a few sticks of jasmine incense. It helped to attract customers. The aroma defined the immediate space with the pleasant bouquet of a spring garden. Bouazizi liked the smell and appreciated the increased traffic it brought to his apple cart.

“Hey Basboosa#, do you have any cigarettes?“, Aameen asked as he pulled out a lighter. Bouazizi shook the tip of a Kent from an almost empty pack. Aameen grabbed the cigarette with his lips.

“That's three cartons of Kents you owe me, you cheap *******.” Bouazizi answered half jokingly. Aameen mumbled a laugh through a grin tightly gripping the **** as he exhaled smoke from his nose like a fire breathing dragon. Bouazizi also took out a cigarette for himself.

“Aameem, give me a light”, Bouazizi asked.

Aameen tossed him the lighter.

“Keep it Basboosa. I got others.” Aameen smiled as he showed off a newly opened box of disposable lighters to sell on his stand.

“Made in China, Basboosa. They make everything cheap and colorful. I can make some money with these.”

Bouazizi lit his next to last cigarette. He inhaled deeply. The smoke chased away the cool air in Bouazizi’s lungs with a shot of a hot nicotine rush.

“Merci Aameen” Bouazizi answered. He put the lighter into the almost empty cigarette pack and put it into his hip pocket. The lighter would protect his last cigarette from being crushed.

The laughter and shouts of the bazaar, the harangue of radio voices shouting anxious verses of Imam’s exhorting the masses to submit and the piecing ramble of nondescript AM music flinging piercing unintelligible static surrounded Bouazizi and his cart as he waited for his first customers of the day.

Bouazizi sensed a nervous commotion rise along the line of vendors. A crowd of tourists and locals milling about parted as if to avoid a slithering asp making its way through their midst. The hoots of vendors and the cackle of the crowd made its way to Bouazizi’s knowing ear. He knew what was coming. It was nothing more then another shakedown by city officials acting as bagmen for petty municipal bureaucrats. They claim to be checking vendor licences but they’re just making the rounds collecting protection money from the vendors. Pocketing bribes and payoffs is the municipal authorities idea of good government. They are skilled at using the power of their office to extort tribute from the working poor.

Bouazizi made the mistake of making eye contact with Madame Hamdi. As the municipal authority in charge of vendors and taxis Madame Hamdi held sway over the lives of the street vendors. She relished the power she had over the men who make a meager living selling goods in the square; and this morning she was moving through the market like a bloodhound hot on the trail of an escaped convict. Two burly henchmen lead the way before her. Bouazizi knew Madame Hamdi’s hounds were coming for him.

Bouazizi knew he was ******. Having just made a payment to his money lender, Bouazizi had no extra dinars to grease the palm of Madame Hamdi. He grabbed the handle bars of his cart to make an escape; but Madame Hamdi cut him off and got right into into Bouazizi’s face.

“Ah little Basboosa where are you going? she asked with the tone of playful contempt.

“I suppose you still have no license to sell, ah Basboosa?” Madame Hamdi questioned with the air of a soulless inquisitor.

“You know Madame Hamdi, cart vendors do not need a license.” Bouazizi feebly protested, not daring to look into her eyes.

“Basboosa, you know we can overlook your violations with a small fine for your laxity” a dismissive Madame Hamdi offered.

Bouazizi’s sense of guilt would not permit him to lift his eyes. His head remained bowed. Bouazizi stood convicted of being one of the impoverished.

“I have no spare dinars to offer Madame Hamdi, My pockets are empty, full of holes. My money falls into everyone’s palm but my own. I’m sorry Madame Hamdi. I’ll take my cart home”. He lifted the handlebars in an attempt to escape. One of Madame Hamdi’s henchmen stepped in front of his cart while the other pushed Bouazizi away from it.

“Either you pay me a vendor tax for a license or I will confiscate your goods Basboosa”, Madame Hamdi warned as she lifted Bouazizi’s scale off its hook.

“This will be the first to go”, she said grinning as she examined the scale. “We’ll just keep this.”
Like a mother lion protecting a defenseless cub from the snapping jaws of a pack of ravenous hyenas, Bouazizi lunged to retrieve his prized scale from the clutches of Madame Hamdi. Reaching for it, he touched the scale with his fingertips just as Madame Hamdi delivered a vicious slap to Bouazizi’s cheek. It halted him like a thunderbolt from Zeus.

A henchman overturned Bouazizi’s cart, scatter
Three years ago today Muhammad Bouazizi set himself on fire igniting the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia sparking the Arab Spring Uprisings of 2011.
Emma Liang Mar 2012
I bounce a volleyball as I walk to my dorm
just to hear that delightful sound, that satisfying, clean thud off the cement.

look up, see you in that grey hoodie that gives me bad dreams
and curse under my breath, eyes darting like a cornered fox,
            there is nowhere to hide.
we almost exchange eye contact, I almost taste blood in my mouth
            I hate how familiar you are.
you look down, cough;
I murmur a dusty hello-goodbye into the ground, hold my volleyball tighter
against my chest –
and hurry on, court sneakers straining on the pavement, trying too hard to forget your cracked smiles.

--

I remember how we used to pass for hours
no sound but the volleyball slapping against our forearms,
brushing off our fingertips,
echoing through that Choate gymnasium, that cold spring;

My head had barely reached the middle of the net,
but you were tall and brave and handsome, my Prince Charming, and
I was a freshman girl with her heart on her sleeve, who
hugged a warm volleyball to her heart and smiled,

thinking herself lucky.

--

Spring thawed your heart, eventually,
and you let me hold your hand;
you had long fingers, cold to the touch.
you taught me how to set, complimented my hands,
trained me to cradle the ball with my thumbs like it was made of glass,
your hands around mine.

I was braver than you were,
because everything felt fresh and exciting to me, like the
smell of crushed pine needles in the air;
you kissed me (I kissed you?) on that night
and I leaned forward, curious and eager, and wrapped my arms
around your neck.

--

The days melted into one another,
and we became
like chalk drawings blurring after rain,
like floor burns from sliding to save a falling ball –
but missing it, all the effort gone to waste;
the burns will still burn and still scar, for nothing.

May to June, June to July,
I hugged you and laughed, but my eyes
were cold; you said I love you
And I tried to say it back, but I couldn’t without
sticking a used to before the love –
            the honey words stuck in my throat.

Our kisses were routine, stale
like the crackers I left out the night before;
I tapped my foot and
tossed the volleyball quickly behind my back with nimble fingers
and counted the seconds before it was acceptable to pull back;
I had homework and volleyball practice and quizzes to study for, you know – I tried to smile but
it felt so wrong, I stopped –
you asked what was wrong, I shook my head, there are no answers for some questions.

--

It’s been four years since we’ve spoken,
shared secret moments under solemn oak trees, behind library bookshelves
that promised to keep us away from prying eyes,
smiled into each other’s lips,
blinked stories into each other’s eyes.
It’s been four years since people have teased you for not
hitting the ball when we passed – you gentleman, you –

I will not say I miss you, because I refuse to lie for your sake;
but sometimes as I set a ball perfectly to a hitter
I think of you for a split second, wonder where you are and if you remember as much
as I do, which is, honestly
not very much.

--

she writes letters to him and then burns them all, the smell of smoke fills the room.
It’s as if she is stealing the fury of the sun, which is cooling down, melting into lava at the horizon –
it will be another cold winter, there is already frost in the grass, the air smells chilly.

Dear you,

I broke up with you as nicely as I could –
there was no reason I fell out of love, the same way
there is no reason people fall in love.

you have no right ******* me out on the internet the way you did.
Every time I hit a volleyball I imagine your face on my palm, and I hit harder.
I will never forgive you for the things you wrote,
and I don’t know if I ever loved you at all,
because you are despicable.

Goodbye,
the girl of your dreams.


--

it’s the beginning of the end of July, everything is so hot.
the pavement is baking, the volleyballs are flat,
her arms feel weak and limp like overcooked noodles.

it’s hard to think straight. She can hardly remember
her own name before remembering that she has a boyfriend.
He calls, he says I love you and she tries to choke out that well-rehearsed lie –
what was it again? something like I love you too?

But it’s too hot, and she
can’t do it anymore –

she swallows hard and grips her volleyball tighter,
her hands sweating against the weathered sphere that has been through so much with her
as she prepares to say goodbye.
Nicole Alyssia Oct 2016
i just can't seem to understand

why

every time i tie up my sneakers
and attempt to go for a run

it starts to rain.
Sometimes there's no use in analyzing. You accept the cards you're dealt and keep it moving
judy smith Apr 2015
Fashion show finales follow a familiar rhythm: after the models march along the catwalk for a last hurrah, the designer comes out to take a bow. Their demeanour is often telling, an indicator of their attitude to the collection they've shown – are they a bag of nerves, or grinning from ear to ear?

Also noteworthy is the look they choose to take their bow in. Are they even wearing their own work? One of the most celebrated designers of our time never wears his own designs. Karl Lagerfeld may create the occasional menswear look at Chanel and he designs a whole men's collection for his eponymous label but he has long been a customer elsewhere: Dior Homme.

Lagerfeld started wearing Dior Homme when he was in his late 60s, shedding 41 kilograms to fit into the skinny styles of the label's then designer, Hedi Slimane. Lagerfeld has stayed loyal to the brand ever since, even after Slimane, now creative director of Saint Laurent, quit in 2006. And although the label is known for its emphasis on youth, Lagerfeld, now in his 80s, remains one of Dior Homme's most visible clients.

Raf Simons, meanwhile, Dior's creative director of womenswear, is partial to Prada: his presence in the documentary film Dior & I (2014) is most clearly announced via his distinctive studded Prada sneakers and he often takes his catwalk bow in a head-to-toe Prada look. For his first Christian Dior ready-to-wear show he wore a vintage denim jacket with red stripes by Austrian designer Helmut Lang.

And yet many designers do wear their own work, especially if the brand carries their surname. Editors scan the wardrobe of Miuccia Prada for clues to her latest collection: is she feeling utilitarian, elegant or purposefully off-kilter? When Donatella Versace takes her bow, she often wears a look from the collection she's just shown – for autumn/winter 2015, it was a pinstriped, flared pantsuit. And even Simons has worn pieces from his own label collaboration with Sterling Ruby.

So if the name is on the label, does it mean the clothes will always be on the designer's back? Not necessarily. "I've never been into wearing clothing with my own brand name inside," says Jonathan Anderson, designer behind JW Anderson and now creative director of Loewe. "I find it odd and arrogant."

UNIFORM DRESSING

Anderson's own wardrobe is a familiar uniform: crewneck sweater, faded blue jeans, Nike sneakers. It's entirely opposite to the menswear looks he creates for his own label's catwalk presentations, which have included bandeau tops and frilled shorts. He seems to favour a clean-palette approach: keeping himself neutral so as to not deflect from his experimentation elsewhere.

This kind of wardrobe is common among fashion designers. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler appear to have no desire to create menswear for themselves or others, dressing instead in a similar style to Anderson: crewnecks, polo shirts or button-downs, usually with jeans and sneakers.

Mary Katrantzou, meanwhile, recent winner of the 2015 BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, may have built her business on print and embellishment but she is usually found in a black knit dress by Azzedine Alaïa. Alaïa himself has perhaps the ultimate clean-palette wardrobe: for decades he has worn black cotton Chinese pyjamas, fastened by simple floral buttoning.

Each of these designers has a successful business with its own clear signature. So maybe it doesn't matter if they don't wear their own clothes. And yet when designers do, it can be so seductive. Men buy Tom Ford because they want to be like Tom Ford. Women buy Céline because they want to look like Phoebe Philo. Stefano Pilati, creative director of Ermenegildo Zegna Couture, is often said to be his own best model; Rick Owens, in his long draped vests and baggy shorts, is the perfect ambassador for his own alternate universe of otherness.

The style of Roksanda Ilincic is synonymous with her own brand. "I create pieces that embrace the female form," she says of her bold colour palette and silhouette. "Being a woman means I'm able to feel and test those things on a personal level … I tend to favour long hemlines and nipped-in waists, with interesting shades and textures, pared down with simple basics and outerwear." Does she ever wear anyone else? "Of course! Black polo necks from Wolford are an absolute staple and in winter I am rarely without my favourite black cashmere coat by Prada, which is on permanent loan from my husband."

It seems like an industry divided between designers who wear their own work and those who don't. But sometimes things change. Backstage at Loewe earlier this season, Anderson said: "With Loewe, I have a detachment. I wear a lot of it. Now I'm more, 'Does this work?' I've got a bit of a love back for fashion."

Two months on, his interest in wearing his own designs has grown still further. He is the cover star of the new issue of menswear biannual magazine Fantastic Man, posing in a slash-fronted sweater and leather tie trousers. The pieces are both his work from current season Loewe. Womenswear. In for a penny, in for a pound.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-2015 | www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses
MacKenzie Turner Dec 2011
The water in your blood
was once in the blood of dinosaurs,
the blood of bears, the blood of wolves.
Your father came and took you,
dipped your feet into the river,
when you were only two weeks old.
And I am nothing of a carpenter
and even less an engineer
but If I were I'd take a hammer
and I would build a bridge to Canada
New windows for our broken homes
a pathway winding westward from
the wailing ocean tide.
Alyson Lie Oct 2015
The way a devoted fan
refuses to wash the hand
touched by the one they admire,

I recoil at the thought
of thoughts that may interfere
with our most recent talk,

close my eyes so no new images hide
the sight of your smile, your lips
pursed in thought, your thin fingers
brushing the wind-blown hair
from your face, your leopard print
sneakers, your hands in mine....
Or was it mine in yours?

This is the dreaded foretaste
of suffering. We both know
what harm can come
from holding on too tightly.
We have learned by now
that all things are impermanent.
Nothing, not even this,
should be clung to.

We have wisdom
on our side, you and I,
and this is why we
should survive this unsettling
flood of love we feel.
We join together for:          We together fight          We together walk          We together winTo champion a causeTo inspire each otherTo defeat cancerIn honor of          our mothers          our sisters          our friends          ourselvesWe don't do this because we have toWe do this because we are inspired toWe band together, a sisterhoodOvercoming what we mustTo give what we canWe ask only this of you:          See us - Cheer along our route          Join us - Donate to our cause          Be us - Walk these 60 milesThese 60 miles, walked by my sistersSoon to be walked by meWill touch the hearts and lives of          Those we love          Those we join          Those we meet                                     YOUWe call ourselves "The Sisterhood of Pink Sneakers"We walk the greatest distance we can to fight breast cancerSee what we are all about: The3day.org
Reposted from: http://deannaoaks3day.blogspot.com/
(with permission)
bike's rusted chain
against the walls of my childhood
a new family lives inside
but what they don't see
are the notes of cardamom and burnt orange
rolls of film that my parents and I left behind
capturing sneakers over gravel
along the east river
toward the steel Hell Gate
as dad jogged beside me
his caramel skin
against the sycamores
my first time learning how to ride
they don't feel the bruises and scrapes nor
taste the paella we shared for dinner that evening
they only see what we gave them,
an empty house with matte finish
glass can Jun 2013
There are many limitations sometimes. Of course these are only restrictions we place on ourselves, but we groom certain communities to fulfill a certain appearance and dismiss the breakers of unspoken rules. Don't drop the status quo.

Paradigm.

I want to write and not write about things. I don't know.
No, I do know. I want to write without the stigma that these topics bring.

I want to write a poem about Facebook. See how much appreciation that gets.
Poetry about Facebook won't be liked often.

Write about how it ****** me off that your ex boyfriend (that I dumped, by the way) has a new girlfriend with better taste and better photography skills than me. Remember how I made fun of his ex's for that? They're doing that about me now, I stomped on his heart. I teem with insecurity thinking about it. ******* selfish, I feel like a *****.

How I'm tired of being self-depricating because I don't want to seem like an *******. I've come a long way as a person and I'm not allowed to brag about it. I'm barely allowed to take a compliment or I'll look like I'm preening.

Write about how I'm tired of being kinda ugly sometimes.

Write about how I had *** with someone, how when I told someone else, I could see them and society drawing a big "****" crown of judgement, and how that's ******. I wish we could all grow up.

I wish I could explain that my apathy is, to a certain degree, purposeful. Because looking at feminism articles every day made me feel like ****. I felt like a victim constantly, and I alienated myself from making friends with normal people because I was an extremist. I got tired of constant misery and misinformation. The feminist community was cannibalistic too, and I don't think I wanted to make friends with such hyper-aggressive people.

Write about how I want to be a writer and how I can only write three sentences and then I look at the screen hopelessly. How lame.

I'M SO ******* NAIVE BECAUSE
I want so badly to be different in a better way, but I know I'm just the same.
I want to be able to change the world and I know I can't,
it doesn't matter anyway.

I haven't been able to cry in three months. I'm tired of trying to find my brand of catharsis.
I'm doing okay. I wish I was doing better, but I don't think I'm depressed.
Today,
I washed my sneakers
With a Mr. Clean
Magic Eraser.

With it,
I erased the evidence
Of where my treads
Had led me.

Mud cleared from
Inbetween the grains
On the soles of my shoes,
I feel lighter.

With a blank canvas
On which
To write tomorrow's story,
Tonight I spraypaint my sneakers black.

Magic Erasers Are ******* Expensive.
Lady Francis Jan 2014
One in the chamber

Two in the clip

Only a split second

Before your sanity slips

Street Dreams

Road Warriors

Lost causes rebel

Rob,steal,****,****...

They will

Trying to prove they are strong

Just to belong

That's not gangsta!

Your pants hangin off you

Make *****,burly convicts

Wanna rub up against you

Hydrofried and twisted

A walking statistic

Confident and content with failure

Same path passed on

You'll leave your fatherless children to cry

When your dead and gone

New sneakers,fresh cut, crisp clothes

But inside you **** like a black hole!
Moonsocket Oct 2016
You said you needed my soup

But I present my best and your faces melted onto my sneakers

I only had the pair so I now walk barefoot

I soon realized my predicament

This was an unknown land and I lacked public transportation

My space phone broke when I dropped the sky pool

So I chain smoke for signals
hoping for a reasonable excuse

Thumbs would be out but I have trouble trusting strangers

I make my way

Three fields of concrete
train track trance
Overalls with the greasy gloves
cold metal exposure

Finally I see an outlet mall horizon

Ten shops
two in working order

Past the thrift store with it's deceiving Lego sets

Reminding me of infinite childhood disappointment

Because the crucial pieces were always absent

Sneaker shop with the cross
Annoyed reception
See my ***** feet and gasp

Give me shoes I cry your Jesus demands it

My lack of religion horrified the shoe salesman

Who swore I would never wear his sandals

I say gods don't dictate kindness people do

I am acutely aware of my own hypocrisy

I laugh with the rest when presented with crocks

I hear their edible but a chew and a tooth goes flying

They throw me out the door saying I'm my own problem now

Now there's food for thought

As long as it comes fried and delicious I will hear myself out

I am an American after all
Abby Sanderson Nov 2011
Outside my window I see a kite,
red as a cherry right before its prime,
flying against a grey sky.
It's struggling to escape, relentless like a dog on a leash,
tugging and stretching until its tongue hangs out.
A boy with clumsy sneakers and a curious smile,
with skinny legs like knobby branches,
and a freckled, sun-burned, smiling face,
feels its tugging and stretching,
but decides with great determination,
to never let it get away.
Giorgi Khasaia Jan 2013
My friend's Mother sent me a pair of sneakers from America
last summer. White sneakers with red laces.
She is living and working in NYC
She is from a poor, poor country.
And when I put on my white senakers with red  laces
I imagine I'm walking in NYC
To clarify, I'm standing  on NYC
To clarify,  I put on NYC
I know it would make Eduard Limonov happy
but I'm not Edichka,
it's me, Giorgi.

David Chikhladze told me
NYC is not America
NYC is a dream of suiciders
but I trust in maps
more than David.

Now, writing this poem
I have my red laced white sneakers on
I always  put them on, when I read or translate
Allen Ginsberg's poems.
Give me your ear NEW-YORK
I want to tell you something.
Cadence Musick Feb 2014
you screamed into the highway
tunnel
streets lined
with cracked glass
and broken people
without homes
said you wanted the dark
filled shame
in unwashed sheets-type-days
with dingy motel rooms
and coin laundry.
i don't want
the clean clipped sunday school
smiles
and the sunshine should be
a cold,
phosphorescent,
so i know
that i'm not
being lied to.
with laces that were as tangled
as the words that slipped from my lips
when I tried to tell you how I felt.
pin Sep 2015
Niacin formal chat night
She dont wanna hear about her grudges moving through the mud
In a crowded dinning hall
Shoves her platform sneakers between the path way
Locked ankles with the smite
You only ever bring in the neighbors dogs, if you only ever toss your cats in the trash
Hiro was such a clever guy.
he always said the funniest little jokes, even when he was Hiro-chan, to me.
he used to act like a cat when he was frustrated and, and-
remember what he said to the mailman that day, in like june?
about how he looked like an angry Hotei-osho?
we all laughed and that mailman, that man’s face went radish red.

he was such a good lawyer, Hiro.
i mean, he wasn’t rich and powerful, no
but he did good things, though.
like Sayotoma’s lease –
without Hiro, he would’ve lost the store!
and then where would we get our tempura? huh?


oh, Hiro, you are so much fun to talk about.
and i hate that all i have of you now is smoldering incense and an expired passport.
i poured a cup of water on your grave today, you know.
it was a hurting kind of hot under summer’s sun – it’s august, after all.
some steam came off, and it sounded like you sighing
and i said more loudly than i cared no problem, Hiro
and my wife looked at me, with a misting eye,
while my son kept flicking matches
from that cheap matchbook we got at Sayotama’s place.

all the failed matches collected between his sneakers
and i thought that i wish Sayotama didn’t make all his matches
so **** fragile.
they burst and blacken in a second,
and you don’t have the chance to really light something,
and they just end up falling between the sneakers
of some kid who can’t even remember you,
Hiro.
© David Clifford Turner, 2010

For more scrawls, head to: www.ramblingbastard.blogspot.com
Danny Hefer Sep 2014
The shiny, glossy shoes you wear to go outside,
and show the world how shiny, glossy your feel.
They are the shoes others will use,
to walk a mile in your life.

However bumpy, however ***** the road,
they won't feel the bumps and dirt,
wearing your glossy, shiny shoes.

Those old, everyday sneakers, they're not that bad,
the inside, shaped to your feet, years after years,
the outside a bit scarred, a bit battered.

Lend them, too, for a mile or two,
so all can feel how strong are your fee
willowmacdonald Jun 2014
you who stand
in the shadows
what makes you think
    for
               a
       second
that what you're doing is okay?

you do not gain power
over me
        her
        him
        anyone
by standing in the shadows
calling to those
who walk the streets

what we wear
does not affect you
...surprised?
the fact that I wore a  dress
skirt
shorts
jeans
sweatpants
heels
sneakers
CLOTHING
does not
give you the right
to comment on my legs
       ***
       stomach
         chest
      BODY
because all you are
is a voice in the shadows

so do not whisper
     yell
     grab
     touch
    OUR BODIES

for in the shadows
is where you are meant to stay.

— The End —