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Traveler Oct 2013
So familiar these roads I travel
But where does reason lead
Now concrete which once was gravel
That's all that remains of my beliefs...

The mysterious remains as is
A ghost of a chance I may be right
There's more to ponder obsessively
Upon my bed late at night...
Use more then once

Traveler Tim
re to 03-19
Lizzy Jul 2014
Gotta stay high
To keep you off my mind
To keep my fears at bay
Keep them from pulling me away

If I stay high
Than I forget for a bit
I forget why I was crying
And I forget why I was dying

Only when I'm high
Can feel something
Do I feel alive
But I know that's a lie

You make my heart awaken
Shake off the dust and webs
You make my skin warm
Not like ice when I was dead
You give my lungs air
I'm amazed you gave me breath

I don't need to be high
I'd rather have you instead
Amanda Jul 2018
Before moon comes out to show
Lack of progress I think I'll get drunk
Could make better decisions
Life is easier to flunk

I look down, hide my shamefIul eyes
Heart lays in the dirt
Wrung out, tossed aside like trash
Can I run from this hurt?

I placed expectations high
In the wrong box, the wrong shelf
Cannot disentangle, stuck to my mistakes
Try but fail to fix myself

**** it, I am gonna get high
Life too short to live sober, full of sorrow
Rather die tonight with smoke in happy lungs
Than survive an endless number of substance free tomorrows
It is hard to live a morally sound life.
Silencer Jul 2018
In captivation I seated myself
Like that of a coaster ride
Leaving my morals and my sanity behind
The notion of such adventure led me blind
through wasted times I lost all purpose the sense to focus with open feelings floating in the surface
With earnest genuine of my excitement and my nervous
Night falls
Quicker than wood left burning in the furnace
Like the ashes of memories that once were, left to dissipate forever all across the ocean
Synchronized in motion you managed to reach shore
Whether unaware or inability to care you left me drowning in emotion
Sunk for years that I was
That your presence left me like an alcoholic that your absence kept me drunk
Swimming through barriers of heartaches to believe you were the one
And I was done..
searching through the abyss of all seas
Rising to new surfaces in hopes that I could breathe
Knowing that in you I'd never come to reach,
the finding to know love..
And I was done..
Äŧül Mar 16
I visited the same beach,
The beach of our sobriety,
It's there in my memories.

I touched & felt there the sands of time,
The time that we spent in togetherness,
It's a time in that recycle bin of the past.

I shall forget you forever, soon,
This tide of time will help me,
It's going to immerse that sand castle.

I let my ship find her angel,
The angel of my dreams,
It's not long before I touch her.

I see myself visiting her lands,
The lands of beauty and Bihu,
It's just that I realized ships must sail on.
My HP Poem #1738
©Atul Kaushal
One day at a time, I'll turn it o-ver.
Keeping it simple now, I'm just stay-ing so-ber,
taking what I need/leave all the rest.
My mind will fol-low my body in quest.

HALT!
To turn it o-ver...
...one day at a time, just keeping so-ber.
Taking what I need, leaving all the rest.
My body to fol-low my mind in quest.

One day at a time, I'll turn it over.
Keeping it simple now, I'm just stay-ing so-ber,
taking what I need/leave all the rest.
My mind will fol-low my body in quest.

HALT!
To turn it o-ver...
...one day at a time, just keeping so-ber.
Taking what I need, leaving all the rest.
My body to fol-low my mind in quest.

One day at a time, I'll turn it o-ver. . .
These are the tips for the 12-step AA program. I just put them together in a rhyme for a song.
refresh mesh Nov 2018
Obesity and malnourishment
from high tides of anxiety

Gargling on plastic-filled saline
trapped by ancient propriety

Stuffed into a submissive pit
deprived of real variety

Our vices clearly failing
while we ridicule sobriety

This hunger's for the birds
because we live in a society
Priyam May 23
Welcome to our society
Where we live in anxiety
They will judge you for being drunk
And some will for your sobriety
The lowlifes that inhibit it
Come in all varieties
They divide you in the name of religion
To pray the same deity
So I welcome you all to our society
Where we live in anxiety
Amanda Feb 23
Cravings for a hit
Hints of sin begin within
Winning bit by bit
Cravings are the worst
Kelsey Feb 18
What happened to the days
When I could be
Unapologetically me
Liquid confidence and *******
Not afraid
Of anybody’s judgements
Numbing the pain
And now I’m sober and
I’m stuck with just myself
Can’t break free from the discomfort
Of being trapped in my own skin
Insecurities and inhibition
Flowing through me like
A toxic injection
But I’m healthy and
My ****’s in line
Why can’t I give
Credit where it’s deserved
Instead I focus on the
Road that lies ahead
Rather than
How far I’ve trudged
Uncertainty trembles with
Every word
So ******* awkward
And everyone heard
Obsess about it for
Hours on end
As if this cycle of thought
Can somehow change
The way things happened
I tell myself
That nothing could be worse
Than being slave
To a substance
But something’s gotta change
Someone, somewhere
Teach me how to be sane
Or I’ll pick up that shovel
And start digging again
The Dybbuk Jan 13
It's hard to live without *******,
Tied to powder by a chain.
"Help," I say, but no one knows:
I'm bleeding lifeblood from my nose.

It's hard to live without some *****,
Liqueur up and start to cruise.
"I want to die." I flip a penny,
Rev the car and hit one-twenty.

It's hard to live without some shrooms,
I liked my life as a cartoon.
"I'm broken inside," I tell my friends,
They laugh along, the world bends.

It's hard to live without some ****,
It helps to balance out the speed,
"I'm in danger," no one cares,
Buried under thoughts and prayers.

It's hard to live with conscious mind,
I need poison, make me blind.
Roll me, smoke me, snort me up,
Pipe, spoon, ****, or cup.
It's two weeks sober tomorrow.
Paul Hansford Feb 2016
My poems are my children, more or less.
I care about them, want them to go far,
would like the world to love them as they are.
Or would it help if I could maybe dress
them in fancy words, improve their accent? Yes,
though a judicious measure of sobriety
might give my work commendable variety.
Alas, they're disadvantaged from the start,
these single-parent children of my art,
and I can't blame their failings on Society.
The décima is a Spanish form of ten lines (hence the name).  See my Youth and Age for more details.
Austin Sessoms May 2012
here's to a package of
Marlboro Reds
in the hands of
someone other than
the Marlboro Man
standing in
for those slack-jawed outlaws
my heroes now lack jaws
tongues
lungs

I swear it's been too long
since I inhaled manhood
The Great Darrell Winfield
rolled
packed
and filtered
into the only thing I know
that makes a man a man
the essence of
cowboy boots and farmer's tan
in every drag

see, I inhale my heroes
all the dusty red-necked
cowboys
Darrell Winfield
and my dad
men whose lives
went up in smoke
to coat my throat
in my own self-righteousness
I'm frightened this
is all that I'll have left
of him
lung cancer
and the lingering stench
of cigarettes

he always smelled
of cigarettes

he'd pull me into these
firm embraces
he held so long
that he'd suffocate me
in tacky business
and cigarette smoke
masked only
faintly
by a poor man's
cologne
still I breathed him in
until I'd start to choke
it was too much man to handle

my grandpa told me
“smoking doesn't send you
straight to Hell,
but it sure does make you smell
like you've already been there”
he was
a grown man
cursing
crying
lying
dying by himself
trying to drown out the inferno
with a case of beer
but sobriety finds you sometime
and I'd rather suffocate in cigarettes
than lose him altogether

and even if he smells like Hell
at least that means he made it back
Brandon Conway Sep 2018

Got jumped going down the alley
by a couple of bottles and a card game
Got my portrait painted finally,
hands hidden by the fancy frame

"Immortalized Sobriety"
that's what I'll call it,
immortalized sobriety
and not alcoholic

I'll tell my friends
I'll never drink again
We both know that's
not ******* happenin'

I'll tell my friends
I'll never lie again
We both know that's
maybe gonna happenin'

Am I losing my mind?
No, no just one more drink
am I perfectly fine?
No, no just let me think

My mind is soaked
in fermented brine
this page is soaked
with blotchy
                         i
                            n
                              ­k
                                  -


-ling of a remembrance
woke up in the backseat
of a taxi cab repentance
aftertaste so bittersweet
declare me in-dependance

I'll tell my friends
I'll never drink again
We both know that's
not ******* happenin'

I'll tell my friends
I'll never lie again
We both know that's
already happened

Am I losing my **** mind?
No, no just one more **** drink
am I just ******' blind?
No, no just let me ******' think

I think I might need,
I think I might need,
I think I might need
you.
King Panda Nov 2017
my orchid now blooms
twelve to match
the bird pecking at
midnight

the yellow tongues
of blushed cheeks
become fans for
soft, white petals

inner honeycombs
turn red when
you say
(in perfect sobriety)
how beautiful I am

and for a moment
there are orchids blooming
in the diner
Unmotivated by society,
Bored of this sobriety.
Let's go eye to eye and see,
Every single side of me.
Because without some thorough inspection,  
Emotion goes by
without detection.
Forgive and forget,
All that you can.
For without you,
I feel like I'm ******.
A forgotten man,
In a desolate land.
Has only one want
And that's to be yours,
Sometime
Within this life span.
Marla Feb 15
Tempest-tossed and out of bounds,
My youthful vigor marches on.
Exiled thrice on different scales:
First from my homeland,
Then the place I called home,
And now,
What used to be our world.
Why?

Because I'm different.
Not radically so, but just enough
To have me pushed away.
It seems the fascists aren't dead
After all;
They just hide in the people
You love until they come out for-

Forget it;
Thoughts like those don't help.
Me and you have to think
Of ourselves.
Day after day,
We're led on and told we're wrong.
Truth is,
We are the emboldened ones;
Gallant and strong-
The might of light within us all.

So stand tall, my humble friends,
Our call to arms is but a prayer
Cast down to us
For the sobriety of our good nature.

Love is the answer;
For if you love all
As if all loved you,
You'll eventually find that it does.
bradlynn Jul 2017
it begins about mid-evening,
the edges of the rug being pulled
ever so gently.
intoxicated feet
do not notice a room slipping
beneath them.

it hastens nearer to morning;
as the magic carpet ride is
coming to a close
we begin to pat our bodies
& notice the things that fell from us.
sobriety. clothes. drugs. money....
ego   walls   pain

After inventory is taken,
the day starts without waiting for
your tired eyes.
oh, the saddest meeting of eyes,
with the swiftest passing of friends, drugs, memories, laughter
evening abliss.

I am dropped,
center stage -- reality.
at the same moment the drugs wear off. the last quarter is spent. the first rays of the sun peek through
and the last meeting of eyes
as the last glimpse of a shoe
disappears at the door's edge.

the rug has been pulled
reality
and the curtains have been drawn
slumber.
I spent too many evenings getting ****** up in hotels and trying to run from everything. this is my declaration of an old cycle
MNDFL Jan 19
Sobriety has never been your friend.
Friends for you may have come, gone, and returned,
But "Sobriety" isn't a word you even recognize.
You might as well be staring into
A swirling whirlpool of
Lies,
Misspelled words,
Languages you never bothered to learn,
And unspoken truths
Whenever you take a look at the word
Trying to find your unknown meaning.
Maybe you're just not meant to be clean.
And that's okay.
You're just like
She was
Before the end.
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
Jack Jenkins Mar 11
Rejection is a wound nobody is immune to
Its taste is sour and bitter
It makes your gums bleed

Rejection is always by your side
But never is a friend
But never is a lover

Rejection chases away sobriety
Looking to stop the pain
Looking to fill the void

Rejection pushes trust out of your life
Whispers that she's all you'll need
& makes you go deaf to the world
//On love//
CK Baker Nov 2017
The feds are making headway
(generously passing out their treats!)
while the whistle blower
and his boon companion
hit the 22nd floor

fiscal plans
are tidily falling into place
and the suits are all busy
chasing their dimes
dancing around the spire
full of wine and cheer
(seems the demand side imbalance
has got everyone doing the same old shimmy!)

they’re all studying their bollinger bands
MACD's, and treasuries
just like the good old days
santali would say
while capitol hill is busy
with its own pleasantries;
repatriate that currency
hold those rates
bring the boys back home!

the affirmations are robust
and filled with glee!

conspiracy thinkers
are busy in their own back rooms
initiating the trade
and building their counter claims
as pork bellies
and soybeans
continue to soar
(looks like eddy and the margin men
are at it again!)

what happened to that bear masquerade anyways?
they really were a band of brothers
colourful clowns
with big painted smiles
ready to lead in any parade
but they met with the resistance
a horned wall
satan’s horsemen riding high
with bags hung heavy
under dark squinting eyes

are we near an end?
the undertakers will say
it's only a blink of an eye
to the thin red line
where risk takers and front men
all jump ship
debt addiction is crippling
and hell breaks loose
when entitlements are out
and towels are thrown in

there’s a center piece here
those pugnacious statesmen
with invigorating tales
have had their place
time to clip them at the limbs
and pull the punch from the bowl
(sobriety has its merits you know)
let’s head to the commission
and throw darts to the board ~
seems the moral blueprints have faded
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