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Dont you worry little boy,
in the end
you will find
a substitute
for every **** thing.
Bad Luck Jul 2018
In a wakeful contradiction, it lays fact between my fiction,
Tangling subatomics, it unravels as its tricks spin
deeper toward the outward...
                                      it won’t let up, 'til I give in.

Over matter, lay my mind…
I tell a lie to pass the time...
But there’s no reason nor a rhyme --
                                            Less still, a purpose?
I search for something to remind my mind
                     that there’s truth that isn’t worthless…

But as always, failure appears;
                              in a sort-of amnesic continuity.
And my reality lies to my own mind
                              Just as well
                              as it succeeds in its futility.
With destruction as its manifest,
It tells me that I stand my tallest
                              Upon two buckled knees.

And just as faith will find one’s doubt --
                  a search within has left without.
It seems that an answer, once sought out,
                  will be left lacking its question.
My truth divides itself,
                   as a product of infinite misdirection.

I try to substitute a reason for a rhyme.
But with no lies left to pass the time...
                              I swallow a dose of ignorance.
It goes down smoother than the truth.

In a war that started with a truce,
This world betrayed my faith to show me:
                                 that I'm only tall enough
                                 Once I’ve been
                                                         cut
                                                             down
                                                                ­     slowly.

A pill too large to swallow,
                I think I’m choking on myself . . .
Or the irony of asking,
                     “How could I be so careless?”
Here I stand, Barely standing,
                   Consumed almost entirely
By my own dry-heaving self-awareness...

Left to fight the fears that my nightmares create;
I’m still running from my past,
                          yet, haunted by my fate.
They walk beside me always,
                          shadowing wholeheartedly —
Existing as a duality, both apart from,
                         and a part of me.

These ghosts have taught me very little...
                                    Aside from what I hate.
But, I've come to learn not to fear
                                    The forceful hands of fate.
For I shudder not at the thought of destiny,
                                    Or the inevitable in time...
Instead, I fear the eventuality of the choices
That were solely, and entirely, mine.

I fear that my will may be of enough influence, alone...
That fate itself may collapse beneath decisions like my own.
Or that I, myself, might be constructing
What destruction I will find
Among my shattered spirits and convictions,
In these depths to which I climb.

"Bad Luck: In a Wakeful Contradiction" is now available on Amazon in paperback!

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1691941182
Khoi-San Jul 2018
Extermination decapitation
Nocturnal obliteration
Armadillos anteater bafoon
Typhoon heatwave...
Grim Reaper
DON'T YOU KNOW?
No grave can keep Her...
Men march on as to heaven
Twenty four seven
Three Six five days
Ten different ways
Passionate professional
Daring sharing nurturing
Caring...Monsters within Minions
Amazing people aren't they
There is no substitute for hard work
Just observe Ants
There is no substitute for hardwork
Just observe ANTS not a lazy bone there
Imagine the Queen becoming A motivational Speaker?
onlylovepoetry Feb 2018
you can’t right the same poem twice

hell, yes I can
in pointy fact,
only got one,
which gets re-righted
morning noon and evening-tide

substitute a variant spelling
wright vs write vs right
and the meaning changes thrice

the only thing i can’t not duplicate is those **** love poems
each unique and writ for the woman specific,
each love one, custom jiggered,
each poem, crafted, to her pulse
each drafted, to her scent
none alike, and that’s why I believe
in the god who commanded "create him"
to make love poems in his way,
gave me millions of veins
of inspiration to pray to...
my heart altered, modified, daily


**** poems
**** love poems
**** love
2/2/2018   10:14pm
Nat Lipstadt Feb 2015
this is a very important poem to me,
about me, and how Obama slurred my people. and never apologized

<•>

there are mornings when I wake up
in my nativity,
in my born/bred,
these struggling to be happy,
United States,
strangely hebrew-speaking,
Jamaican coffee
morning-thinking,
tallying up
what I am,
who I am,
commanded to be,
on this Earth

the labels that the
outward-looking apply,
the tags,
that you have caused
yourself to be defined,
been staked
to your claim,
in infamy and in fame,
that you have
by action and indeed,

have allow
to be presented
as entries on your
global entry passport,
with visas from the
lows and highs,
places where
your have sinned and saved,
all the acts accumulated,
and those,
in pain,
you have been a witness to

word titles that
tinge and suffuse,
summation of my presentation,
sampler of words
like
father, poet,
American,
even,
a for-real
community organizer,
and of course,
bien sûr,
a
Jew

the quality of all these life's papers,
which I grade myself,
I,
the harshest marker
of all

once a young man,
safely away in college,
under the fresh-air freedom of the
university's in loco parentis,
in the early years
spent quantifying oneself

nearly fifty years ago,
now he,
revealed and recalled
when
his college typed-letter,
lately uncovered amidst his,
recently passed mother's papers

"Don't know what kind of
Jew
I will be, but be assured,
that I will be a
Jew
all my life"

so here I am doing my post-sabbath,
top of the week,
right it down,
qualifying myself,
coffee enraged engaged,
a new Sunday tally

taking all my terms,
reordering,
re-prior-itizing,
what was prior, first,
is no longer

decades decay,
events sway,
simple words change me, stain me

nearing on five decades later,
when this
son of speakers,
son of humanists and 
son of
 writers,
son of proud
Jews
rewrites his list

today I write/substitute,
a new order,
a tag gladly taken,
a marker given,
some what in pride,
some in shame too,
first and foremost,
à la manière d'Lincoln
I am
of, by and for

"a bunch of folks in a deli"

proud member of them
that so identify,
for they are among those
that shall not perish from the Earth

those
happenstance-not,
bunch of folks in a deli,
I claim as
mine own,
as they would
have claimed me

no subtly professed,
a diminishment intended,
and now
an honorific taken,
Medal of Honor provoked and embraced,
proudly inscribed,
visible on my forehead,
in the black ink of mourning,
a Presidential Cain Citation,
a tattoo of letters,
not numbers,
now moves up to
head of the list,
I am
now and forever,
a member of that corps
(appreciate that double entendre)
I am
Je suis
JE JUIF

*"a bunch of folks in a deli"
Just google that phrase

Obama’s slur
Lizzy Oct 2014
helping myself
with the help of some helpful voices
helping me live
to breathe with some assistance

fill my lungs
the taste of your air
will serve as a substitute
until i can stand again

fill my ears with deafening sound
swim in my veins and fix me
cure me of malaise
soothe my aching bones

help me help myself
help me help myself
help me help the lonely
help me help the ones like me
i went to self help fest last night. it was ******* perfect
John Gallant Nov 2018
Behind crazed glass, a foreboding silhouette looms.
What new torment lurks beyond this trepidatious classroom door?
Flakes of milky green paint drop on logo-clad shuffling toes.
Bravery oozes from the pores of all who dare enter,
this oven-like torture chamber of enlightenment.

Fresh recipes of discovery, are being cooked-up within.
A pinch of sociology, a dash of economics, a few pounds of history,
all chucked in the bubbling cauldron.
"Students, take your seats.", reverberates sagging paper sheets,
that line these pin punched holey walls.

Dutiful pupils assume the learning position,
while screeching chalk strokes, and rubber sole squeals,
startle awake their absorbent minds.
Tasty seasoning, renders unappetizing information morsels palatable.
Flavorful data eased into hungry memory, and psyches.

Scholarly skills abound, within teachers lecture resound.
Though these lessons are no substitute for experience.
F White Dec 2015
Sometimes, looking at you in the light of the kitchen  I want
to run a finger
Down the length of your nose but
I know you'd wrinkle it, and shake your head citing a tickle, but kiss behind my shoulder as soon
As I turn away

When my feet make ice pools in the bed
Toes accidentally brushing your ankle and you **** abruptly, but upon hearing
My sigh, trap them back with your ankles til, martyr that you are, I'm engulfed in
Warmth at your
Expense.

Sometimes the last trickle of milk is mine, for the coffee,
Silent with your eyes smiling fondly, you look on as I sip, resolutely stirring powdered
Dead baby souls into mug as substitute.

Even damp smelly socks
Greasy hair
Neurotic tears and
Intellectual rambling epiphanies

Even childish blunders, fudging the
Budget or burning the toast

You still call me fond Things.

And love Me.
The most.
Copyright fhw, 2015
Traveler Feb 2017
In the events of
Hell
Choose sanity
And hold on
Beware the quickness
Of the loaded gun

Turn down
Replace
Escape
Substitute a better fate

Leave such alone
Obsession spinning
Out of control

Survive to live
Another day
When these evens of Hell
Finally fade
....
Traveler Tim
re po
Left Foot Poet Jun 2017
I, (Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself)


how I would, honor this with ecstasy joy effervescent,
the simplest of methodologies, if only I,
reasoned how one safely permits  
to love myself, if only I,
knew how to love an
I

to self love well,
not a university course,
no simple answers like thirst, yet how I thirst,
hunger, burst, curse for this peculiar wisdom, please,
instinct me to navigate murderous shoals of take but give
I

who teaches this to the children?

I, parents, teachers, not ****** or pastors or
TV the great substitute for all of the above,
myself is not a selfie, no glorying got in I,
I, burdensome, never comprehended,
love thy neighbor better, love actually, no mere pretense,
if well executed, perhaps is when the trapeze line is at last

cleanly indistinguishable,

your I, my I,
both wicks will be joined, brighter lit for it,
one flame, one godlike burning, fusing,
with neither consumed, wax fusing,
but teaching easy loving
to explode the
I,


~

9:24am EST
6/2/17
airborne over the Western US of A
see I, published May 31
Axion Prelude Feb 2018
I dreamt of you the other day

Such sweet resonance with your presence, it echoed a calm I only experience with you; awoken, and sound

You caught me in a time of plight, pulled me forth in valiant fervor

Your smile shined upon me, and I felt safe; feverishly exposing your excitement to explore the horizon

We drove into the fog; your warmth was tangible, even in my subconscious dwelling

Next to you, I simply felt good; a place I can not substitute

I felt calm, as if all qualms and scores of darkness simply melted away; you seemed happier than I had ever seen when I had not declined your beckoning

I felt home, and you seemed content to feel the same with me by you

If ever that could be true when I awake for this, life would forever be a dream

I dreamt for peace, and you were there; simplicity, two threads cut from the same cloth, bound together

I hope to bring you the same light
of what is a love poem
for me, to me was

always cyclical
first noun
then pronoun
then nothing

noun loves me,
pronoun loves me not

noun loved me last week
prounoun loves me not this week

noun will love me evermore,
pronoun, poe-no, nevermore

a name is a noun
a pronoun is a substitute

for matters of love I announce forevermore
only call me by name
no substitutions


even cycles must end,
only call me by noun-name,
forevermore
Lucius Furius Jul 2017
I would have given you a perfect faith,
belief, unassailable and absolute;
joy's well-spring.
  
I offer only a substitute -- these poems,
disparate, contradictory,
tempered in truest love and despair.
Use them.
Hear Lucius/Jerry read the poem: humanist-art.org/old-site/audio/SoF_004_son.MP3 .
for Lori, Riley and Kendrick

the questioning words jump off the page,
into two hands transforming,
words shape shifting into
multicolored ink stained fingers,
now, all a chokehold on my brain,
my throaty gasps rasping from
a simplistic convolution -
single questioning deserving an answer

what are you made of?

the obvious answers left in the slow lane,
bone, tissue, rivers and arteries of blue bloods,
just oil and fuel of a containership,
but the cargo carried, that’s the real stuff

you have insight inside that cannot be seen,
self-survival instincts that morph into morals,
our shared air affects you differently,
a sense of defending, caring,
costless  and costliest simultaneously,
spaghetti strands strong sinewed intertwining,
into a better human than most

to call you hero is wrongly insufficient,
but the thesaurus lends me no substitute,
weep, I do,
as the spring and summer blushing green
will not be seen by you at all, and by me,
seen now so differently,
when thinking of
soil-born courage instinctual that has no name,
but grows only in nature

what are you made of?

we know now, but knew not well,
that thing that makes you leap first,
was all you, the entirety of the best,
that exists, existed, as reminders to us,
to mine it, wear it,
medal it upon our fabric

you three,
breathe it back, exhale it from where ever you are,
that trace chemical odor in our atmosphere,
of life-giving sweetness, a rebirthing chlorophyll freedom
that we humans all desperately need,
even just to know it exists,
and inform us


what we need to be made of
——
“As shots fired inside a synagogue outside San Diego last month, Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, put herself in between the shooter and the rabbi and died as a result.
Riley Howell, 21, charged a gunman who burst last week into a University of North Carolina-Charlotte lecture room carrying a pistol. He too lost his life to save others.
And Tuesday inside a STEM school in Denver, Kendrick Castillo, 18, lunged at a fellow student who had pulled a gun in class, giving his classmates time to take cover. He was the lone student killed in the attack.”
Success can Never be a Substitute to Values .

Value is an Original Entity
A Keepsakes until Eternity.

©Mrunalini.D.Nimbalkar
Four #lines #stanza #quantrian# 28.04.2019
Harry Feb 2015
When we're older,
I'd like us to live by the hills.
Away from the silly thrills of the bustle of buses
and the rustle of wallets.
Away from those so desperate to be happy
but so increasingly aware of how not to hold onto it.
I want to be able to sit in silence on a Saturday -
That might seem like a simple thing to ask for but
here in the city, there's little room to think.
A seat surrounded by chaos is no substitute for the
whisper of the wind as it dances with the daisies
and prances with the daily ease of the hillside's treasures.
You deserve the freshest air and nothing less,
a sea-breeze seen too far from here
for your hair to run right through it.
Anyway, I've been rambling.
I hope one day we'll live back home,
but for now, I'll continue to slowly wipe away your duvet'd haze,
gently seeping sunlight through the cracks in your eyes.
This is always my favourite part of the day;
A beautifully brief moment of limbo between your dreams my mind.
Your gradual recognition of reality
is met by my delight
in response to your gradual smile

And once this brief moment is over,
I can begin to live,
day by day
with only you.
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
Negra Jan 2016
If I crossed the street I would've been in the district with all the black kids
I begged my mom to take me there.
If I crossed the street I wouldn't have gotten IB
I wouldn't have gotten the prestige
That I thought everyone deserved
Saving me almost a year of college
And money like a scholarship.
If I crossed the street I wouldn't, as much, question my identity.
I wouldn't be single and question my beauty through white eyes
I would learn how to answer questions in class without feeling my white peers lying their eyes on me to see if the black girl could get it.
If I crossed the street I wouldn't be the only black girl in my classes.
If I crossed the street I wouldn't have to feel like MLK day was my job to announce according to my substitute teacher.
Because you know what week it is! Well of course you know girl.
If I crossed the street I would've been with my black brothers and sisters
Rather than trying to find my black experience in my white friends
But I didn't cross the street.
Maybe it took a bit longer to learn to love my black because of that.
But today I love myself
No matter what border I reach
And who disclaims or proclaims my authenticity.
I love my black self.
Maybe I wasn't supposed to cross the street
Wk kortas Feb 2018
Once (not that long ago, perhaps, though we likely know better)
The summers were languid, liquid things without end
Each day fully equipped with a high sky,
The blue so all-encompassing, so all consuming,
That lazy fly ***** seemed to disappear
As if God had scooped them up like so many routine grounders.
We played, in a field long since abandoned
To crownvetch and scrub grass,
Twenty one--five points for those *****
The celestial powers had bobbled
And we were able to catch on the fly,
Three points if we took it on the hop,
One if we safely trapped it before it rolled stone dead,
And so our Julys and Augusts fluttered by,
Every bit lazy and aimless as butterflies or knuckleballs,
With the exception of the de riguer tribunals
In which the assembled debated and determined
Where bounce ended and roll began,
Where shoestring catch was reduced to single-point trap.

It all came to an end, of course;
At some point, we crossed a line
(Undelineated but firmly established nonetheless)
Where it was no longer advisable to attempt this at home,
Mere joy no longer an acceptable substitute for proficiency.
Find something else to do, kid, we were told,
And the bats went to the back of the closet,
The gloves and ***** consigned to a spot
(Where we would surely remember to find them)
Behind some canned tuna and Christmas lights,
The fastball blurring by us now,
The field a warren of subdevelopments and cul-de-sacs.

And so you’d forgotten,
Or perhaps just suppressed, the whole notion;
There were, after all, a gaggle of coupon books
With return addresses from an ever-changing confusion of banks,
Sales on pasta and milk, other fees and foundations
Politely requesting ones attention,
So you couldn’t be sure
That it was really the crack of an old thick-handled Adirondack,
Or the comforting thwick of the ball landing squarely
In the pocket of a Wilson A-2000,
Yet when you wandered to the window and peered out,
There they were, looking straight up at you,
Waving their hands like childlike Prosperos
Gesturing to reveal some fairytale glen.  
Come on back, they are saying, and you go down,
Powerless to resist, even if you had wanted to,
Returned instantly, seamlessly to a time and place
Where a shout of I got it! I got it!
Was all the prerequisite or vitae that was required,
And you are unable to bring even mock-edginess to your voice
When you insist I got that cleanly on the hop.  That’s three points.
The Great American Game is back in Florida and Arizona--not that it ever actually left.
False prophets, you dig our graves with sinister divinations,
Bestow unrepentant indignation, and neglect to hide your shallowness.
Cast condescending shadows from high upon your sanctimonious mount, but
We wear our pride; our faith and love, our shrouds, and we will not be buried in the night.
Oh, I say woe unto them that call evil good and substitute darkness for light.
Oh, weary we may be, but forsaken we are not. Tread lightly when with lust and greed you choose to cast your lots.
Written for First Baptist Church of Worcester Poetry Fest Challenge 1: Acrostic – FBCWOO.
Nat Lipstadt Jan 2018
based on the essay below received from Liz Balise**

all poems and their accompaniment sauces begin with onions
start by fouling the air, bringing forth only unrestricted tearings
then...

the slow cooking elicits the sugars hid within,
the unpleasant odor, refined into something
minted new sweet and savory.

so too, the poem must simmer, slow cooked,
harmonizing the caramelizing,
even if some ingredients
claim the first born birthright of the eldest first essential,
despite the collective harmonizing.

the ripened color of the blood red tomatoes,
the ruddy cheery sanguinity of
certain words in each poem,
are the coloration of its entirety -
the ones your never forgive for never letting you forget them!

what matters not but how, the daring to substitute the new how,
how you chef see it and color it with the crazy way how
you beckon us over one by one to the big *** for a tasting
accepting critiques and suggestions, a thousand pinches
of your salty sweet essences.

and the recipe is dog stained and pointy corner ear-edged,
cause you cannot exactly write it down, and you bend the corner
for every substitution and variation,
cause every poem
made to taste the how of us,
each one a subtle different.

everyone understands metaphor,
even the society of the reticent ones in the back row,
just say the “trapdoor of depression” and they’ll nod knowingly,
so say to them a poem is a metaphor for you,
and spaghetti sauce is how you see, recreate in words,
how you need to add an ingredient of yourself
to this one,
a word, a phrase, becomes you in it, in you,
you in it are both poet and poem
and a simmering new and different
————————————————————————-


A Well Written Essay— The Spaghetti Sauce Method
As a teacher and a learner, I have always wanted to see the "nuts and bolts" of everything. Yes, it slows the process down, but the learning is more complete, and a person becomes capable of making endless connections of understanding, branching to other  creative possibilities. Writing like dancing, and all that is worth learning, deserves all of the pieces and steps of the process.
I remember telling my students every year that grammar could indeed be a dry bone, but necessary in the process of good communication. Told them that I would teach writing by the "spaghetti sauce method" (Visualize their perplexed faces here.). "A well-written essay should be like a really good sauce-- smooth, fine textured, with a complete harmony of meat, sweet, tomato, and seasonings-- not one overpowering the others, but all in marvelous union of great flavor and aroma."
I continued, giving the example of my mother's
(God rest 'er) Irish spaghetti sauce" as a contrast. "Mama would throw in onions, peppers (if she had ‘em), hamburger, salt and pepper, fry it all in corn oil, and mix with two cans of plain tomato sauce. This was all okay with me," I went on,“ till I experienced the epiphany of garlic, basil, oregano, pork neck bones and a cup of wine; in the kitchen of an Italian neighbor, who walked me through the process and ingredients of real Italian sauce that was simmered for hours."
I continued to nudge them with the comparison: "Excellent writing is more than talent and passion, otherwise a tirade of curses, knotted ideas, and copied paragraphs of someone else would always do.” "No," I went on, "It is clear thought, captured, slow-cooked in the labor of mind and understanding— and in good time, expressed, in a way that others can comprehend -- with great attention to the cardinal rule: It is not as much WHAT you say-- but HOW you say it."
Through the year I focused on one or two aspects of better writing at a time for each paper. It was an uphill battle, often teaching against the mediocrity of the expectations in the PA State Standards of Assessment. It would add ten hours to my work week to grade and comment on a set of a 115 papers.
Let me tell you life is a game
Play it to win by its magic
And you'll win the war.

Eliminate to win
Substitute to win
And keep your poise in victory.

You are only a dullard
When you refuse to put
In your dollar of chance.


It takes courage to substitute
It takes bravery​ to eliminate

Tell me, who can win life's battle
Without bravery and courage?

In the heart of life's battle
Lies the treasure of victory
For those who can explore
And exploit life in wisdom.
Carter Ginter Sep 2018
The savior
The perfect partner
The dominant
The free spirit
The fiancé
The parental substitute
The anarchist
The sweetheart
The nice guy
All of these aspects of myself
Yet none of them are fully me
These are the roles I've fallen into
In order to match my various partners
And though all of these may be
Different components of me
None of them feels quite whole
I do not feel whole

All of these personalities
Exist on a spectrum of time and space
None interacting with any others
Each signifies a distinct point in life
Each has its own home
It's own experiences
Attitudes and viewpoints
Behaviors and habits

Yet what do I do when
Two of my contextualized selves
Decide to overlap?
When my ex who knew the fiancé
Moves back to town where I live
As does my person
Who's heard stories of the others
But who only knows the nice guy

How do I begin to heal when
I do not understand what is real
And what existed solely for others?
How do I continue to grow
When the fiancé is fighting restraints
And the nice guy is exhausted
The sweetheart does not exist
And the anarchist screams for revolution?

They seem to be fighting each other
Just to have a chance to breathe
A chance to take the wheel
A chance to control "me"
Yet who even am I?
Are all of these selves fabricated
Or are they hyperbolized aspects of me
Connectable like puzzle pieces
Into one beautiful picture?

The problem is
The picture I see is not beautiful
I'm trying to be nice to myself
But all I see and feel is darkness
I am an abomination
An evil person who cannot be trusted
A dark soul inhabiting an empty body
A person who is not a person
A human with a lack of self
It's almost like I'm not even alive
But even death would be a relief
So I can finally end the confusion
And stop hurting people along the way
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