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laura Oct 2017
started wearing surgical face masks
in public to hide zits
i dig the tiny apartments and the drift
of tokyo skylines
i dig the anonymity, paper thin walls
you can hear a neighbor
playing his guitar
sometimes i wish i could fly back
and live there forever
quit living with an abusive boyfriend
but he rich tho
hope he crashes his bike tho
jee Nov 2018
sienna cities
sparkling saturn sunrises
sangria skyscrapers
sublime.

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

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

your color bleeds.

you boil
and no *** can hold you.

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

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

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

i’m hooked on your city glow
brighter than tokyo.
andromeda’s got nothing on you
Arshia Qasim Nov 2017
There is a certain romance of incomplete stories
and unrequited passion....
A certain heroism , in unfulfilled ambitions and sacrificed wants ...
(There is also
Selfishness in altruism,
Mockery in humility...
Fragility of pretenses,
Deception of senses,
Armors of sensitivities...
all those nitty gritties,
paradoxes that haunt
etc, but then...)

Sometimes this happens,
love stays and we go.

Sometimes this happens,
there is no beginning, nor end:
through “ifs” and “buts”
priorities distend
the space between, what is seen and what has been.

I picked your hopes with my eyelashes
and thatched together a shade for us
You caught my fall in the web of your thoughts,
softening for me, the landing, and thus,
we built a dream.  

Sometimes this happens
the stars are buried in the desert sands
the lines dissect though you’re holding hands
but for the heart that understands....

it’s all divine. Not yours nor mine.

Sometimes this happens
one understands, but it’s not enough
one knows, but accepting is still pretty rough

You may have all ingredients
but you still need a “here” and a “now”
no question of why? or what? or how...

Sometimes this happens
the wait becomes unbearable
so remember that you know....
time is deceptive
and it’s already tomorrow in Tokyo

Arshia.
Nov 26/27, 2017
the pictures all move in silent circles
forming messy representations of
thoughts, feelings, reality
turning mere images into
real art, like paintings
but it has taken over
everything around me
from a mile up,
peering from a window seat
lights of tokyo beneath us
and we're sat, soaring
amazing, isnt it?
like a looking glass
this little round window
on a way-too-big airplane
Stu Harley May 11
nobody
knows
where
the
bluebird of Tokyo
goes
to
sing
in
the
key of night
Your
wings
flutter
above
the
Breckenridge blue light
But it wouldn't hurt to send a Yakuza biker called Keyser Suzaki
as an agent of embracery, who'll hurt any justice nuts amongst
the jury, mow Magnacarta hardliners down doubly with his sports-
bike and his katana. For should goddess Pomeroy pointedly
forgot to blindfold prove totem like Diphoterine t'any o'
that 12, who should have been crying blind ( tho' their
intimidator was trained in Tokyo Road Rash Kendo,
not sprayin' Captor), then they'll send Deathreat Man
to deathrebtors' gaol in a blackmaria like Batman's campervan.
Steve May 2016
A Merry Widow I used to know
Went on a trip to Tokyo
She liked the idea of little men
And wrote down notes in a bright red pen
She made a list of all their charms
The colour of their skin and their short fat arms
She liked the way their eyes inclined
She loved raw fish and the way they dined
But what she put at the top of her list
Was the thing she found most hard to resist
Being over six feet tall
She loved the fact that they were small
She could pick them up two at a time
And hang them from the washing line
She liked to spread them over her knees
And hear them squeal in Japanese
But one night after drinking a few
She bit off more than she could chew
She rang for service and do you know
They sent her up a sumo
He swung her round above his head
Then laid her out on the bed
I c'can't breath she coughed and spluttered
You're c'crushing me was all she uttered
That's n'not what I ordered she weakly said
But it was time for her to s'squeal instead
*(After that she was going to cry
Cos next in line was a Samurai.)
Jane Doe Oct 2014
He misses me still, but that's old news.
He's missed me for so long now - he can do it in his sleep.

He does it while he eats alone at his desk,
while he runs for a train,
while the rain is coming down in sheets.
While a girl takes off her dress and he reaches for her,
his hands hesitate a decimal. He turns off the light,
and misses me.

It grows inside his chest, like a bonsai tree -
something natural but stunted.
Snipped and pruned carefully, but not allowed
to grow outside it's box. Not allowed to put down roots.

He hauled it off, across the sea.
Across China and the Middle East, he misses me.

Half a world apart, in Amsterdam I walk
with my eyes to the ground, all brown and grey.
Thinking of the planes and trains that bore him
away.
This has become second nature for me.

It's midnight in Tokyo, he sits at his desk
in the light from the street
thinking of trees, canals, red bricks, me
and when we sleep, he and I both,
it's with ghosts in the sheets.
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
F. Murray Abraham on Rye.
Sardines in Sardinia
with Stone Soup -
And Unrequited Stuff.
Like an Aperitif.

As Foolhardy as Love.

As Deep
as a Batch
Of In-Between.
with all
the Awkward
Silences.

II

We float where we float.
Our dazzling Oblivions
like a riot of tinsel
in the heat
of all Desire.

Like a Blind Kite

On an Island
that will eat a Dolphin
because “ Why Not? “

All Things being equal…
Why stop?

It’s Tokyo.
Robert Ronnow Sep 2015
Science can't save you, neither can religion,
at least Popper and Niebuhr, philosophers and poets,
are entertainers, which is why actors and athletes
are paid so much. Thanks for the summaries.
I was teaching Shakespeare's 92nd ridiculous sonnet
to my student who lays blacktop in the off season
Shakespeare bellyaching about dying without her love
a feeling foreign to a modern adolescent sensibility
although many teens are pretty far gone searching
for their mothers or fathers in their dazed lovers' eyes.
Which is why we call it "the wound that never heals."
Or the lesion that's always lengthening. And bleeding.

Muslim fundamentalists and their Christian counterparts
are a mystery to me. Pews and prayer rugs, the airless
indoor environment of religious worship, reading
scriptures, hypnotized by hymns and fainting from staring
at candles through stained glass windows, almost certain
the preacher is faking his certainty about the afterlife.
It's not my problem. A more immediate concern:
receding gums and tooth extractions, swollen joints,
poor lubrication and circulation, wave after wave
of viral infection, the occasional antibiotic-resistant
bacterial attack, usually urinary, and who knows
what internal organs are dividing and conquering
without mercy or cease, i.e. the wound that never heals.

It is wise not to overvalue your continued existence,
good not to be innumerate, unable to compare
a mere 80 years with say 6.0 x 109 or all of time
(to date) times the multiverse. Conversely,
it is interesting all of space and most of history is contained
in your little mind (realizing of course it's just a map
of the cosmos not the cosmos itself, or is it?). I'm
unable to wrestle free, tongue in that cavity
and locked in my memories, so separate and disparate
from the biomass in the crosswalks, even my spouse.
Alone, so alone, even your doctor can only devote
limited thought to your situational mortality through
the redress of poetry - also a wound that never heals.

Snow for eternity, that's what this February's been.
All to the good, for someone it's the final February
so enjoy it to the extent you can. By that I mean joy.
Joy at birth. Joy at death. All joy. All times. Anyway.
That was Shakespeare's message: even tragedies are comedies.
May, a Buddhist, chants each morning.
Her husband, Marc, who's Jewish, plays league tennis.
Their son, Aaron, will soon make Eagle scout.
How does it relate to your wound that never heals?
Luck runs out. For D.H. Lawrence in New Mexico
or Ulysses S. Grant in Ohio or Yasujiro Ozu in
Tokyo or Satyajit Ray in Bombay or Rabindranath
Tagore in Bangalore or at the Battle of the Atlantic in the Azores.

The night is a poultice, winter or summer solstice.
My anonymity will not affect the anomie ghettoside
seeing for myself how season by season
vacations and accomplishments accumulate, late in life
and early on, sunrise over mountains or moonrise over Bronx.
Masturbator, prisoner of war. Hospice of the Holy Roman Empire.
Numerous blue notes: the 3 flat, 7 flat, 5 flat,
the 6 flat and the 2 flat too. I don't get
what Wallace Stevens means by imagination.
When groundhog shows up as a totem, there is opportunity
to explore the mystery of death without dying.
This then is the purpose of purposelessness (and of eating less)!
Now what about that wound that never heals.

The Skeptical Observer column in Scientific American
was somewhat alarming when he accepted a paranormal
explanation for how his wife's grandfather's inoperable
transistor radio played music from its hiding spot
in his sock drawer on, and only on, their wedding day.
Now I'll have to believe my father (or mother!) is watching me
perform private ****** acts with (or without) partners
or that they could even know my thoughts. Or aliens
are attending our committee meetings and making
perfectly reasonable decisions given the available information
and the world is rotating just fine without humans.
These possibilities - angels, ghosts, aliens - are better
than holocaust and genocide. In this way,
and only in this way, does doom become endurable.
The wound that never heals in the end is all you'll feel.
www.ronnowpoetry.com
Camilla Green Oct 2017
Every day the sun stretched over the songbird’s ivory tower.
Nighttime ivy ringlets caught and pulled, like taffy,
sunshine tendrils into rocky satellite white.
She swung sunbeams into starlight
And I thought it'd drone on forever.
//
Every dawn the sun stretched over the songbird’s ivory tower.
Nighttime ivy ringlets caught sunshine tendrils,
pulled them into rocky satellite white, like taffy.
She swung sunbeams into starlight,
And I thought it'd drone on forever until

I realized that sprinkled sugar cookies made hands numb flammable,
that you can't feel them again until they leave the powder blue locker room,
until they're in the car, worried they might melt the steering wheel, when they’re left to figure out why.

Now streetlights gassed with Canadian lypophrenia
make snowflakes float like stardust,
while splintered lilac fingertips trace meaningless constellations,
as they ponder whether daisies can tell
if someone loves you,
                                       or not.

With firefly breath, I wished on dandelion dust
for December's cruel weather to warm,
so we could sleep forever on the concrete floor
and it'd feel like Pennsylvania moss and twigged leaves.
We’d swing dance in the sidewalk cracks
drowning in footsteps and manhole steam.
Saturn would bloom to petal dust in your wake
and you would never feel small.

And I thought cocoa butter was our solace,
that you'd be drenched in chocolate wishes
that turn ribboned skin to soft smile scars.
The Earth would lay enveloped and confessed-
a dripping orb of love and light thrown against
the burning oblivion of the universe.
I pull in the horizon like a great fish net
So much life in its meshes!
I call in your soul to come and see.


With the spring equinox, four-leaf clovers withered and died,
still-lit birthday candles melted into oceans
and heads-up pennies piled into roadway castles,
unwanted, unneeded by someone who forgot who she was.
I thought, for a moment, that I'd been wrong.

Within that rim of rose, there is ungravity and life on Mars.
But this world is a rememory of drought and oil spills,
drowning you in a warm, sweet, malignant blanket
of braided brown hair and tokyo tickets.
To you, my whispering lips screamed for palmers-
for 13 ounces of memories that were never mine,
and still, you slathered it on.

Our streetlights set and the sun flickered out,
the pennies I never reached for, someone else had picked up,
and the clovers I ignored, I now ached for with all my heart.
Eyes streaming, I reached for a shooting star,
but the night does end, dawn always rises,
and my precious last chance melted in my desperate hands

because i fall in love with everyone
and my lips are never chapped
  so now i eat cinnamon toast
   and I paint the sun
    with blackberry juice

In apple-killing cold, stars fade in the amber glow of tiger's eyes,
gray clouds are still bursting with starlight,
willow trees will forever weep diamonds,
and daylilies still steal away sleep.
This one's for you,
I gaze into my crystal ball, discern amidst the haze
A world so far removed from that of now, it would amaze,
Where catapulting incidents collide like billiard *****
And sense defies belief as renaissance makes the calls.

Blueprints fresh from Internet supply the suitcase blast
Where the terrorist’s, simultaneously, ignite in cities cast
From Moscow to New York, Beijing to Berlin
*** Paree to London town then way out east again,
Budapest, Jerusalem Calcutta burning all
And Tokyo is levelled in a ghastly nuclear pall.

Kneejerk reaction triggers contrails in the blue
Crisscrossing all the continents obliterating through
An overkill so vicious that in seconds it is past
And the living cling in horror, bearing witness… aghast.

Restraints are erased as the opportunists dash
Flotillas from the Spratleys sprint to occupy and cash
In on the minerals, oil and potential food supplies
Of uncontaminated nations found beneath Pacific skies.
Hindi, Jew and Muslim settle scores bereft with years
Of resentment accrued in a flood of blood and tears.

A sudden realisation of immensity of loss
Curtails the destruction in retrenchment across
The habitable outposts, the dearth of supply
And the daunting prospects of a nuclear winter sky.
Global collapse of all electronic gear
No power, no phones, and no cars now…for years.
Electromagnetic impulse put paid to all that
And the day is as dark as the cold night is black.



And here all we sit, in the here and the now
On the verge of catastrophes’ teetering tower,
With a fools pudgy finger just inches above
The nuclear button…and all that we love.
……You fear the insanity, sense the insane
Knowing that people like this are holding the reign?
Knowing that volatility strikes
Like the shot of a gun and the ****** of a knife.

I don’t have the answers to hand
But someone out there, knows how…and can.
The sands of time are running low

URGENTLY needed a LEADER...to KNOW!

M.
Planet Earth
6 March 2019
Uriel and I play basketball
    Si, hablo un pequito Espanol
          Maybe one day you too to Tokyo ...

                       gracias, mi amigo
I flew to Tokyo on the wings of a story in my email today,
So to tell the author how magical it was,
I came to this place to tell them and say,
Thank you for doing the thing that thou does,
but to my chagrin, came 404 not found,
No name for the author,
so I send this notice around,
In the faint hope that they,
do notice this proffer,
So I may subscribe to their writings on offer.
Luthando Thomas Nov 2018
I **** emotion, to chase dreams
Only to wonder what success brings

Tokyo Ghoul with the mask steez
Facade design be hiding you cold fiends

******* heart as my thoughts bleed
I see you monger be that false king

Jezebel please let a man breath
Double beat left before my  soul leaves

Religious man I will never be
I'll never pay the pearly gates fee

Art please take this pain away
let a king dry for another day

For you who took the time to listen
let my art heal the wounds you've hidden
SJG Sep 29
Lose the space. Lose the moon.
Aspire to die drunk in late June.
As Tokyo spins itself out of a sigh.
As secrets fall before our sight.
As secrets fall fodder-like.
As secrets fall fodder-like before our sight.

Violent time. Violent place.
Conspire with a girl to hole up
In a motel by a Great Lake.
Ask her what lies by her side.
Ask her what lying is like.
Ask her what lies beyond our cold dense sight.

And Astral Weeks.
And the rest of space.
Don’t know who you are
But you seem to be doing well.
And the contrary feeling rings
Like an empty bell.
Don’t know your name but almost
Feel like I know you well.
This ghostly projection that lies.
This ghostly projection that lies by my side.
You know the one,
Everyone has one they think is out of their league.
*******, go for it, what’s she gonna do?
Smack ya upside the head and gleek on you?
The worst she’ll do is just say no,
But then it’s up to you to handle it like a pro.
So next time you see her, stop and say hello,
And maybe if you’re lucky, she won’t whip out a chainsaw, hack you to pieces, stuff your limbs into a garbage bag, toss them in a fireplace, sweep your ashes into a Dora lunchbox, and sprinkle them like a chef sprinkles salt, from Anaheim to Tokyo.
Yes, the girl that you like,
Maybe she likes you back,
Or maybe she’s just looking for her next snack.
If you never ask, you’ll never know,
That the girl you like is an all-American ******.
In honor of a girl that once used my head as a battering ram, turned around and said she loved me
Fidel Nov 2018
The world is so small babe,
I’m running through my life
All this cardio killing my vibe
I was high but now I’m low,
You’ve gone too far away from me,
All this distance, these miles I can’t take it no more,
Let’s go on a trip, I’ll buy you a flight to Tokyo, we’ll hit the dojo, I’ll show you my mojo,
We’ll walk around Yoyogi, I’ll show you all the arigato I learned just to impress you fondly,
I’ll rent the most expensive hotel room to make some love,
We’ll use it,
Trash
And break it,
I don’t care about money, besides, having you is priceless.
I’ll love you to Mars and Jupiter,
I’ll name some planets maybe make some up to pretend I’m a genius,
I’m definitely not the greatest,
But fake it til you make it, apply that to us, pretend you love me and I’ll kiss you softly.
My life has been broken, ripped and thrown, away in the trash but you pieced it with some voodoo,
Now let me pay back the favor back and say I love you,
Forever and ever I’ll text you at night,
I might miss a day but maybe I’m lost within my words all because you left me speechless,
Your body sculpted by Michelangelo,
Your smile painted by Picasso,
But don’t be mistaken you can do much better I’m just fighting to convince you I’m the one.
But even after all this time,
I regret not holding you, not kissing you not loving you,
I had you within my reach
Now I’m left apart from love and hope
But every text is like a take back, I scroll through our pictures and wonder, why we didn’t take more,
Maybe skinny dipping or giggling,
Don’t care never did, just need you back,
I’ll fly you back to, where paradise is set,
We’ll stop by LA, I’ll meet your friends I’ll buy some clothes to reach your level, maybe will even break a sweat ‘cause after all you are my: deepest love my queen so beautiful.
I’ll fly you to Texas, I’ll meet your family, introduce me as the super tall, ******, don’t care what you say ‘cause just driving you around is my pleasure and dreams I had of.
Don’t be mistaken, I loved swimming, within our convos, but maybe now we can settle down and agree that down down very deep down, I love you and maybe you love me,
Or maybe not I’m prolly just tripping, not in space but within your beauty, I want you, be mine,
Forever high,
On the clouds I’ll lie, I’ll lie lie lie, and I’ll say whatever childish line, comes out of my mouth, don’t be surprised if, I just freeze and stare, because every glance you ever gave, just now assure me you could be mine, but baby I’m sorry poor choice on my part,
Just let me make it up to you, I’ll take you to Lake Whitney, we’ll chill and read,
“I got this poetry book here,”
And I’ll pretend to know every line,
Understand every word,
Whatever it takes for you to be mine.
Tipon Mar 12
Music, I know you're not from around here. The size of

dark skies we live by in physical day light. Earth! Empty

driveway, a dream place of our own. The coming of home,

new scene. Cellulair senses, dual, men to women, vice

versa. A New age, flat screen Tokyo picture, panavision.
The millennium.
Megan Sherman Oct 2018
Dear Friend, it has been long, how do you do?
The season's turn, are lonely for you gone
No doubt you have some tales of Love, of fun
But distance turns my heart from red to blue

Lady, belle, beau babe, you are a light
Of majesty towards which I must fly
For you are dancing in a freer sky
Than that which cloaks me in the darkling night

The devil haunt and topple my sky which
Brilliant, bright with dreams, by tortures crushed
But when with you the memory of him hushed
For you bring Love, for you superior witch

For you I beget sweet and tender psalms
Would regale thee hours long with drams
Let's see the world from Tokyo to Amsterdam

Be forever happy, forever young
At Heart, never such a passion sung
By saints or angels from illustrious tongue
OnwardFlame Dec 2018
Fruits and enzymes nestle there
Toppled with a layer of blueberry syrup
Maybe some Jalapeño covered jams
1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4
It's like a never ending twirl
Ironed out white silk
A broken veil upon my head
I'm the invisible one.

When I speak and think on the life
I was born into
I see it whistle among the bark
Where insects with fairytale like wings surrender.

I stroke your face when I see you
Because I don't know how long I'll get to
And the arrogant side of me
Thinks I wanna be special and nourish you
In all the ways the ones before didn't.

Tokyo gleams from far away
With strobe lights sliding to and from
Neon ecstatic hibernating in a bright place
Harajuku girls echo from the window sill
Of every building I enter and exit
We enter and exit.

It's true
That I just need a little bit of cherishing
Words of affirmation from you
Just everyday
It's true
That I need solid communication
It's true
That in the tango we dance
Side by side
I share, a well of flies surrounding my honey ***
Your honeycomb
I'm oozing flavors of sensuality
But I buzz the loudest for you.

It's almost really frustrating
Because I've got the snouts and mouthes
Of men around me
But yet I still reach the hardest for you.

I know you must see
That I buzz among them
When I need to feel freedom.

My words, watch them now
No ugliness meant
But somewhere in the light
I visualize and green and blue
Hitting your face the morning you held me
And said so closely to my eyes
"Next time, and then next time after that"
Tumbling in and out, I could have sat up
Straight into the sunlight
You came in like a hurricane
And I've always identified with hurricanes.

Something about home
Maybe it's in the way that every little interaction
With the past
Or my brothers and I bickering
Because there is an acute loss in our hearts
We have to leap over
Like the peacocks and chickens
We watched move and glide all around us
Today.

I was taking off on a big plane this time last year
I fell in love and almost got killed while I was there
Late in the graffiti, the rain pouring loudly all around me
I've never known such self-possession
I've never known such trust in strangers
And in moments it swung like a pendulum
Right or left
In the rain drenched streets of Vienna
Where I loved myself.

My love for myself has felt drained lately
Sometimes I think I'm such a self-important *****
Standing in glitter and gold
Holding a microphone
There she is: The Little Southern Girl That Could.

It's in the heat of that self loathing
That sometimes I dream up the best worlds.

I have to get ready now baby.
Butter my lips, my thighs
To sit and feign a smile all night
And watch my father
Walk the other way
At the end of the night.

I fear betrayal
Abandonment I've gotten to know well
And I know you lie awake late into the night
Buzzing, buzzing the loudest
I see you and have gotten to where I can sense
How your spirit contemplates
Or rests on it's side
I never want to be demanding, selfish
I text back
But the truth is,
I am.

I am all of those things
Selfless, incredibly generous
And sometimes I just want and need
Words of love
Looks from your eyes
And I think
We are chipping away at all this work
This relationship we have
And I spin away from my own reflection.

The truth is--
I've got the words tattooed to the inside of my arm
And I hope some time
You'll stop and take the time to read it
Without me even noticing.

I think perhaps you know it well
But is in the words I write
That I think and hope
I get to show you a piece of myself
I otherwise may--
Could not.
And that's why I always long for words back
From you
Because I need to see the naked parts
The selfless, incredibly generous
Selfish
Parts of you too.

But lastly,
In this mound of letters I brought you
I wanna say that I'm glad
That for whatever reason
You stand strong
And intrigued
To twirl right with me
Even if my veil is broken.
Mara Oct 2018
Is it raining in Tokyo
is it sunny in Sydney

I haven't asked
where you are
in a far away country
or a closeby city

don't let me disappear
love me
touch me
I don't want to vanish

wherever you are
I'll wait

there's no forever

stop walking with your head down
the chains wrapped around you
lay you down inside a puddle

I created a place
with
forever rain

I'm your hero

clouds inside my bedroom
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