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Antino Art Sep 2018
Who draws strength
from watching the passage of time
after dark
blur against the windows
of a moving train bound
for ends uncertain.

Who walks most balanced
on the beams of empty tracks.

In the shuffle of strangers
at a crosswalk, who finds
direction.

Who sees
clearer through rain.

Who finds their place
in the limbo of airport terminals,
on delayed flights
between chapters,
over open roads that branch
into tales of cities unseen,
in the turn of pages unwritten.

Who can keep track of time
during the improvised chaos of jazz,
catching notes scattered
in the winds of horns.

Who understands
that wind moves
fastest through dark places like tunnels,
during storms in late August.

Who finds their center
hurled in flight,
always coming and going.
Storm flight trains movement
Ashley Chapman Sep 2018
In kisses showered,
through cupped hands,
you cross
from beryl eyes,
and rest in me!

Your tender face,
in mine
embodied!

An impression forms,
of no other,
none,
no boundary,
where neither I
begins,
nor ends!

I gasp,
as both the outer,
and the inner
a single eye
betwixt
engenders.
patty m May 2014
The train chugs into town, its smoke
rising over trees, black
against the setting sun's spread of
blue and tangerine.
And still the pale and exhausted clamor
aboard dust and soot covered,
until the train slides forward exhaling.



Golden hawk your broad circles stretch the moments
until your talons touch down,
while the train recedes into mountain's
violet haze.



Old Simon, a fisherman
from a neighboring town
rolls a cigarette and looks around
then proceeds to tell
one of his stories.

He tells them in segments,
holding each of us enthralled
as he puffs and blows smoke
in the eyes of gullible youngsters.

*

Smoky mountain sunset
the train of thought
comes rolling in,
no arrivals or departures
just miles of rail going nowhere,
clickety-clack clickety-clack.
Columbusphere Nov 2018
Train rides and trains fare
Hurling over hills and through fields
And we sit together, collectively
Calmly, reading, typing, talking
A train community

And the train jumps with apology
When your legs twitch or meet
Muttering sorry, barely lifting a head
To mark a general unease
At the close space we all paid to use

Seeming so personal to share a seat
With another who finds a song to choose
Over conversation with a stranger
Shared time
We share daydreaming
© 2018 Columbusphere All rights reserved
K Harris Jun 2018
being hit by a train is worse when you feel it coming
the tracks vibrating under your feet
     you didnt say i love you back
the whistle in the distance
you hope you didnt hear it correctly
      distancing yourself from me
but with the light in my eyes im frozen
     i asked "are we ok"
but the lights were in my eyes
barreling towards me like a storm
     "I really dont want to hurt you but..."
im struck
to see the train before hurts more than if you didnt
my body is fine
my heart was thrown under the tracks
just have to keep moving
just keep moving
What were you expecting for
that always thinking somebody shouts in the wind…
in an empty frame, there are eyes under sunglasses,
May be
sad…
Anxious
or
Untrue
Nobody knows what is the fact.
.
.
in the  train station where you stand for an appointment
mass mess violently.
and
trains run hastily in
front and back of your memories strange.
.
.
A message from
Somebody may  
Bright the morrow…
Or
lost dandelions may scatter everywhere.
things rarely happen.
things you are expecting and things make you not to stay in one place or mood
where
trains move hastily... and
nobody knows what will happen to future, what will happen to you. what will happen to ....?
and
what will happen.....again?
Kewayne Wadley Jul 2018
A woman sits on the train.
Watching, waiting for something to happen.
She rushes pass building after building lost in the sights.
The world flying by her window seat.
One track at a time.
Fixed between one common place to another.
She turns her head.
A man reads the paper.
Headline covered by the fold.
Presidential debate.
His hold is tight, side eyeing the woman beside him.
Her round face.
Randomly clicking on her phone.
Bored.
Social media sites.
Candy crush.
He views in full.
The air is cool.
Cool enough to put you to sleep.
She wonders if anyone notices her.
She yawns,
lips printed on the reflection of buildings.
She quickly looks away.
The train passes.
Overhead she sees a plane.
Never has she flown.
To see the sights above.
Would the experience be the same.
Travel size smile.
Hand bag at rest.
The train rushing faster and faster.
The buildings now out of sight.
The plane races on.
She turns her head.
Now she's asleep
red Aug 2018
raindrops slowly streaking sideways
of train cars splashing through wet train tracks
a blanket of black speckled with glimmers
and moonlit water puddles of the bleak winter rain

streetlights glide through in rhythmic monotone
the distant neon lights of the city by the horizon
desolate and hollowed souls no longer going back
during the soulless night of the cold winter rain

of the mourning dusk and gloomy daybreak
final chapters of a favorite book worn down over time
a kaleidoscope of times—old and new—relived
in the back of my mind during the winter rain

bright neon lights, now like stars in the distant sky
from the train running through the winter rain
Every time the subway lights go off
I close my eyes and listen to my cart speeding over the rails
What was it that you said, about the velocity of life ?
The one that carries the immigrant, the bible belt strapped and the intermittent traveler through the woven passage of a history they can see in the molding of the land.

2. I can’t quite remember
why I live life so fast,
but I feel (it)
the hill and the turning of the tracks

3. The trains are quite quiet here,
and few people talk.
It’s as though the lights were still off .
patty m Feb 2015
Silly fools,
touching the planchette
as it invades the haunts of spirits and demons
their dangerous interaction
pointing to blackened letters
or the answers yes or no.

Open gateway something relentless creeps to the surface
unbeknownst to anyone.  
Do they think this is a game, this summoning?

Bluesman, playing his guitar
sings about a shadowy man
on a dark road and the bargains he makes.
Moonless skies and rumbling trains
a strange twisting in guts
as a crows caw spreading shiny wings.

Shadows, the long road is filled with shadow,
filigreed limbs darkening fleeting time and the trains with
their black smoky smudge muffling secrets.

A strange man turns up, like a carney in a traveling show
to show us a frightening future.
Spreading prophesies of horrible events along with the demise of millions, with demons gnawing human flesh.
Then too there was the promise of the dead rising;
exhumed bodies, an army of zombies marching.

Old men smoke their cigarettes, lungs crackling
in phlegmy coughs, rheumy eyes filled with pain
as they watch the children **** in frenzied dance
their heads spinning clockwise. . .  
The train chugs off in the distance
as the last illusion crumbles into a dark and rotting hole.

We no longer see the stranger.
as the song comes to an end,
yet disquieting things skitter on the edge of reason
as they slither through our fear.
Up ahead looms a fiery god staying
trajectories of doom and damnation,
while the Bluesman strums his old guitar
on a ghost train going nowhere.
The Iron Horse can still saddle this Coach,
Whose Extract nourishes the Children he trains:
One the Golden Girl; The Other a Hodge,
Transpose to the Miracle-Boy remains
Two-Scores-and-Four his Dedication baits,
Like Tunes based to emasculate them both
Here in the Pillow-Jungle Success does wait
Bending limbs into Sport; Then promotes their Growth
What Circus! Said the Lame Artist envine
Yet in Prayer begs him to join the Fray
He looked at his Pearls; And saw that they Shine
Which, suspend, trained his Boon-Dogs to obey.
Hence, to Devotion his Shoes retire
Partner and Career; In Big Thanks suspire.
#andybanksdive
Francie Lynch May 2014
There's a silence in the evening,
A silence most displeasing.
It's not the absence of mowers running,
Or bedsheets flapping, motors humming.
Trains still shunt, foghorns blast,
Where are the sounds
From our past?

It's not the sound of contrary laughing
Walking from a parent's lashing.
Something's missing,  sounds are gone,
Familiar sounds from our lawns.

The sound of rope slapping cement,
Fantasy games kids invent.
An echoing slapshot before, "Car!"
These missing sounds are so bizarre.

Those yestergames we played in jest,
Like Hide and Seek at dusk was best.
But outside games gave way to screens,
I'd rather hear childish screams.
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
Lilli Sutton Apr 4
1.
I spent most of the day on the train from Boston –
writing poems and thinking
of how to undo the mess. I still haven’t found the answer.
My uncle takes me to the Met for the first time –
so much art and so much time
forever onward. Upstairs
modern art canvases, big plain swatches
of bright color. I want to stare for hours
get lost in blues and greens, but it’s closing time
so we get dinner and go back to the apartment.
Beneath the red light and behind curtains
of the same color, I blow up the air mattress
but I don’t fall asleep for hours.

2.
I’m supposed to make breakfast
but they shut the water off. Left
to my own devices, I go to Union Square
and duck in and out of stores all day,
no one to keep me company. Bitter wind skims
off the pavement. I can’t even open my eyes
long enough to see the faces in the park.
Tuesday, when I came home early after cheap dinner
and felt guilty for not doing more. I tried to get ice cream -
one whole hour just to circle a few streets.
I realized – the only day we’ve gone without speaking
in over a year. It feels so good. Maybe it’s cheating
if you reach out and I just don’t respond. But the wound bleeds
every time I open it, and just once I want to give it time to heal.

3.
The long morning where we talk about silence
from people we used to love. Except it’s not sad –
I couldn’t be happier. You’re not joining the army
and I’m not staying in West Virginia. I make hardboiled eggs
before going to Chelsea. I spend hours alone in a museum
but this time I don’t hear the music. I overhear conversations
and write them down for safekeeping. Better than words
getting lost forever. We get pizza and ice cream
and talk about the past. Dad’s in the hospital – has been for a week,
no one told me. Suddenly the ice cream is sour instead of sweet.
Later I hear his voice and he sounds okay. We make plans for the weekend.
I break the silence after one day. Nothing’s changed – it’s worse now.
Whatever – we don’t have to talk. I get wine drunk in a basement
and laugh because everything is so absurd. We get dumplings
and I ride the wrong subway back, the one that makes too many stops.
I’m still trying to figure out the balance
between avoidance and acceptance. One day
I’ll get there. I feel like I’ve been dipped in boiling water,
skinned and left raw. Tomorrow I’m going home
and there’s not enough time. For what I’m not sure –
ever since I stopped wearing the watch on my wrist
it feels like the world is moving so fast I can’t notice,
an illusion of stillness. I shouldn’t have sent that last text –
I always say too much at the end. Always teaching myself
to trip over my own words.

4.
Mornings have become slow and still here.
I never used to linger like this, but maybe it’s a blessing.
Now I can take things in. Old haunts in a city
where part of me grew up. I make grocery lists
for the people I love. Maybe there’s a better way
to care for someone – but I like narrow aisles
and neon lights and people getting what they want.
If I’m alone I can do anything I want. Walk to Central Park
and sit in the sun. Or look at old books. So much time
looking and not reading – does it matter
if I never see the words inside? I wish I was a ***** fish
living in the gutters. I’d swim and swim until I lost my eyes.
I miss the simple landscapes of being home. But I’ll be back
soon. Trains like bookends. Movement like blinking.
Before I leave my uncle asks what I learned and I say
“that I’m capable.” He doesn’t ask of what –
I don’t have an answer. It’s like I used to say –
roll with the punches, or with the trains,
or just roll home.
03.14.19.
avalon Mar 2018
i am sitting and pressing green paint in misshapen swollen dots on my nail beds and thinking what if i **** this up? i am notoriously bad at fingernail painting and i ruin it and i am also afraid i will ruin myself by loving you.

yes, yes i hear you like a train. my head is all railroads and oceans, but i hear you puffing and whistling he does not love you, he would not love you, he loves her. long hair hazel eye i am not her i cannot be that girl i do not want to be his girl

but i want him to want me
oceans
trains
Jordan Rowan Jan 2016
The night sounds of fallen angels
Building stairways back to home
And the radio plays softly
Like a crooner left alone
As the night falls into the velvet shades
And beats down the bedroom door
Of all the visions that come to me
It's of one I'm hoping for

The postman closes up the station
And the buses get cleaned with rain
The asylum rests and barely breathes
As the countryside goes insane
Prophets speak of peace
On the dim hue of TV screens
Of all the moments that seem real
I still wait to watch my dreams

Imposed upon the westward wall
Are the silhouettes of weeping oaks
Swaying in the wind that talks
But they only tell me jokes
Swept beneath the silver stars
Sleeping on blanket clouds
Of all the space above me
I feel as if I can't get out

Headlights and passing trains
Sound like time passing by
Gone are the hearts inside
Like the years beyond my eyes
Sounds from the suburb city
Blow like sirens in my mind
Of all the thoughts within me
Only one freezes time
Emma Nov 2018
A train station is like a second home to me.
It’s where I last saw you, as you walked away
For a train that would take you so far astray.
Tell me, did you ever look back
to see me standing there on that platform?
Did you ever have a last glance, my friend?

I did not realise then that that would be the last time
That I would see you, my friend.
Even though you exist still,
You’re not at home anymore.
You are not my friend that got on that train.
Does my friend exist at all?

Since you turned away to that train,
The world has changed you, my friend.
You’re no longer the innocent one
That once held my hand through it all.
The world has turned you as cold as an icy winter
Since I last saw you, my friend.

Train stations are now a familiar echo to me.
I travel to them,
One after the other,
Searching for the person that I once knew.
They do not spare me of the knowledge
That you are long since gone, aren’t you my friend?

Standing on the platform so that I could watch you go,
I could never have imagined how much
The world would change us.
You no longer exist in the sweet hue of my memories,
But instead, lie in the barren desert
Of my depleting mentality, as you’re no longer my friend.
bones Dec 2015
And who then would have told  
of this end anyway ?
Not you, you leapt first and furthest
always, and recklessly that last time;

few enough I think remember now,
but I knew you when
we were skywide open and
kin to the blowing wind;

we were brothers you and I,
two of a different kind, we ran
and we jumped like suicides, leaving
dust trails like others leave wealth,

there were days I believed
boxes were built only to be
strung together as freight trains,  
god knows we rode all those that were;

but lately I see them used
by people frightened of
freedom also, for to
hide their worried lives inside...
Brian Oarr Jul 2012
"And then taking from his wallet
an old schedule of trains, he'll say
I told you when I came I was a stranger
I told you when I came I was a stranger."
                                        --- Leonard Cohen

I'm the most surprised person on the planet.
Your coming to see me off at the airport
has my mind scratching glass seeking words.
Why is it that in this relationship,
you seem to have gotten all the speaking parts?
You're well aware that I have loved you
for the better part of two years,
bottling that emotion, afraid to pop the cork.
Your eyes implore mine, rotating like
a searchlight over Baghdad seeking
the stealth laying carnage to your heart.
Twice in the last week you've made it evident,
the Grail was mine, but for the drinking ---
That and finding a shorthand for adultry.
I'm guilty courting the love of a married woman,
made worse, you're here at my departure
telling me we aren't free to choose who we love.
I know my desire must die of thirst,
so I turn, boarding pass in hand,
the last words I ever hear from you,
Write me! --- Thirty-five years later I have.
Chloë Fuller Oct 2016
i've shut down
like a factory building typewriters or VCRs
you left a rotten tingling in my mouth
pepper-flavored rubbing alcohol
slap me like you check yourself out in the mirror
maybe that will set my brain back into motion
sparks and blue soda
i gave you too many chances to ruin my life
bald spots on my head
lungs black because you made me start smoking again
turn around
the back of your head is the only part that doesn't make me cry anymore
and yet it still does
build me up like legos and take me apart piece by piece
we had brooklyn and bagels and trains and hangovers and sheets
religious conversion was avoided
i just realized how unhappy i was with you
all of you
all of what you gave me
which was nothing
taker.
taker.
Grace Jul 2018
I walk into the mirror box again and it’s as if my life
really is just an extension of my own metaphors.
I’m caught in the mirror maze, searching for something
in the mirrors at angles, but all I can see is myself,
my sad, stupid self, stretching on and on forever
with the same boring face, the same boring feelings,
again and again until I stop being able to make out the details.
Am I looking back at myself or am I looking forwards to the future?
Will it always be the same or has it merely been
the same since forever? I stare into the mirror tunnel
at all these selves repeating themselves,
forcing the years, the weeks, the days into the same strict patterns,
merely following the self that came before them, merely mirroring
the feelings, only doing it worse and worse with each new rendition.
It’s just me, I think, in the mirror box, caught up in myself
because I am selfish and horrible.
I’m selfish and horrible
and I want to turn my back on myself but
how can I possibly do that in the mirror box?
I meet myself over and over, and it’s just me,
in all this vast, repetitive vagueness, just me in
this long stretch of lonely unsettledness that surely doesn’t end.
I want to smash my own face in, so I close my eyes
and try to think, maybe, maybe, maybe, because I don’t
want to be this grey-cloud self forever. I can’t be, and so maybe,
just maybe, somewhere beyond all these selves
there’ll be a day when I’m down on the shore
and the sea will be calm and the sky will be
faded purple. Love will not sink down into nothingness
because in the cool evening air,  my heart will be full
instead of gaping and my mind will be at ease
instead dwelling on it’s own boringness
or entangling itself in own self-created sadness.
And maybe, I’ll have abandoned my book
and its pages will be dry because I won’t have been crying into it.
They’ll be no mirrors, just the ocean,
glinting like an amethyst cluster in the half light
and I’ll rest my head on the shoulder of the girlfriend
I'll meet someday and I’ll smile in this beautiful liminal moment
and nothing will be tainted by the dread of returning home.
We’ll kiss – on the shore – and rewrite it forever and
maybe the stars will fall out of the sky when I shake it and
all my trains will run on time and all the wounds
in the world will heal simultaneously.
It’s a moment surely stolen from someone else’s poetry,
but I’ve got to cling to something to avoid becoming
lost entirely in all this dark, intangible vagueness.
There’s got to be at least one imaginary moment
that isn’t just me, reflected over and over.
There’s got to be one moment that doesn’t stare
back at me from inside the mirror box.
here's another poem the same as all my others, just more mirrors and me, me, me but this time, there's some stupid, happy fantasy about a shore that will surely never happen :) might delete it, probably won't. anyway, thanks for reading - it means a lot :)
Nico Julleza Dec 2017
∙∙∙◦◦•◎•◦◦∙∙∙
Every year to me, now and then
Families and hollies filled with merriment
Only steps away of the outside snow
Sprawling emotions underneath the mistletoe

Glisten, the pavement covered in hue
Journey of a thousand crystals falling anew
The icicle dew at the gutter lines in row
Constellation tales upon the sky-light glow

Enchant pines adored by ornaments
Treasured memories flew like a firmament
Wreaths to every door, signs of triumph & joy
Bringing glad tidings from God's little boy

Trains in and out of the winter-night
Gifts and glory offered with endless blithe
Hymns from a choir trailing every post
Greetings to an old friend even to the unknown
#Christmas #Holidays #ChristOurLord #Joy # Glory

Merry Christmas Poets and Have A Glorious new Year. Hope I'm not late..
The inspiration just came to me, and this is to be my very first Holiday poem. Inspired with many traditions and observation all around during holidays.

(NCJ)POETRYProductions. ©2017
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.
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