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Kara Jean May 2016
Tightly forcing her body against the clay
Scraping her tarnished skin, on its unforgiving stones
Determined
Unhinged, narrow thought became disturbed
Intention, soaking the soils energy
Becoming one with nature
Persuit, rapid decaying
No trail of life
Evidence faded
Secluded mountain peak
30 miles in, her only goal accomplished
Her pocket knife she holds over head
Pretending to cut the fluffy clouds in half
One fast Stab
She lays in her vanishing grave
Sam Bowden Dec 2018
Shucking oysters is a dangerous task.
Only skilled, determined hands may apply.
Why so dangerous a task you ask?
Well, let’s see?
There’s the salt, the grit, the unforgiving need...
the slips, the stabs, the you and the me.
Our boats rock along a forlorn sea.

Sitting on the dock of my mind,
the sun's rays slap me sober,
as it refuses to set for seven hundred thousand nights...

Patiently present in the moment, I am, totally attuned to the task at hand.

She's anything but simple,
this complexly succulent woman I've stumbled upon,
Unearthed I have, with my bare hands.
Rugged exterior, jagged edges,
a clear warning for all to see.
But a gorgeous glory awaits the determined, the brave, the patient,
I have faith...

I have faith in such a glory beyond legend,
in such beauty beyond reason.
Just because something feels like a miracle,
doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
For if jade kissed a pearl as it slipped into the sea,
it still wouldn't rival her beauty.

We are a meeting of minds that could unfurl for all time.
As she lines her eyes in paint,
and stains her lips like crimson art.
She's always ready for war,
launching a thousand ships in my heart.

Like the Greek Odysseus,
I've sailed upon contentment's shore,
sipping your wine and eating your grapes,
now I only want more.
Eros, the bittersweetness, is clawing at my door.
I want to live with you in the gap,
between consumption and desire,
between winter's ice and between summer's fire.

Unknowingly I have,
peeled the wall paper from her frame,
where ancient tapestries shown from beneath,
a secret no man could keep.
The scars cut deep into the fabric,
marks of carelessness in love.
The family ties that tear,
the tears of lovers once here,
now there.

Warmth gives way to wind,
and fire gives way to need.
She pulls me close,
then pushes me back,
rocking along a forlorn sea.

And like the sea,
she breathes life into me.
A great roiling tempest of the heart,
with a fury that blows reason from the mind.

Tame, tame, squeeze...    l e t   g o.
Give it...       t i m e.

Still though,
questions fray at the edges of her mind,
and yet,
with the passage of time,
the sea will settle,
the tide will recede.
I have faith in love.
And faith in me.   

Sure footed I am, even as we,
not yet a "we",
dodging rain drops,
dashing through the city,
hand-in-hand, we don't slip.
I think thoughts, but bite my lip.

And while I sip, I think;
“She's anything but simple,
this dandelion seed,
floating in the wind.
Walls up, head down,
a determined doctor,
a surgeon steeled for the journey,
thawing beneath me she is...”

“The most beautiful immigrant I've ever seen;
On the platform of her mind,
she longs for a home, leagues from her homeland,
while I scratch at the dirt of my own.
Do I belong here?
Does she? Do we?
Where is home? Security? Acceptance? Belonging?
Who knows what the futures holds?
Allahu alam, not you or me.”

Uncertain of answers,
is this a mirage or a dream?
I can’t know for sure,
So I take heart in the Unseen.

I crack the oyster open,
and swallow it inside.
I sip life's ambrosia,
and breathe in the sky.

I'll crack The Pearl of Persia,
one kiss at a time.
An ode to patience in love.
ryn Aug 2014
Hold my hand
And lead me through
Traverse this land
Together we two.

Over unknown terrains
Under weeping skies
Through unforgiving plains
Through pain and lies.

Between grieving mountains
And screaming valleys
Feeding fevered delusions
Fraught with delays and tarries.

Beyond the hills and knolls
Hopeful of salvation
Surviving pits and falls
Not knowing the destination.

My hand still in yours
An arduous odyssey
Must stay the course
Must complete this journey.

Bright skies up ahead
Or so they promise
Soon shall pass they said
Soon will come release.

Still in this; still walking
Not soon expecting the end
Still in this; still trudging
Round this obscured treacherous bend.

Doubtful mad endeavour
I dragged you with me
When this finally is over
We'll look back and see.

Glad that we were together
Glad that together we came
Never cease from being near
Keep holding my hand, just the same.
Paul Hansford Aug 2018
.
This lived-in face has seen the years go by
at such a wild and unforgiving pace.
My powers are weak, though my aims may be high,
and troubles are all bound to leave their trace.


And while I always feel the need to brace
myself against life's storms, I know that I
can never win. Death always plays his ace.
This lived-in face has seen the years go by.

It's little help to know the rules apply
to every member of the human race.
Dark clouds are growing in my evening sky
at such a wild and unforgiving pace.

In this vast universe I have my place,
but can my thoughts outlast me when I die?
or speak to those in other time or space?
My powers are weak, though my aims may be high.

Yet while dark thoughts of gloom may multiply,
to let them win would be a sad disgrace,
though many things may make me want to cry,
and troubles are all bound to leave their trace.

Yes, my mortality I must embrace,
not waste my time in always asking why,
or fearing not to do things just in case."
I'll dry those tears. There's no point to deny
this lived-in face.
.
If you looked up the rules for this form, you wouldn't find them telling you to repeat the first half-line in a way that rhymes with anything, but since my first one, where it came out that way by accident, I do them like this, and it's only a little more difficult.
Jackie G Aug 2018
Sin
Temptation at its finest
Bad decisions, like they're mindless
As i look at all the blindness
Living life like it's timeless
Some shout yolo, others think nobody could see them

If i were them I'd be COMBATING all those demons-even start praying more!!!
WE ARE NOT KIDS
THIS IS FOR REAL
THIS IS FOR SURE
Good intentions are always first
But next comes PAIN or should i say hurt
then your trapped doing dirt
Or should i say"pay backs"
Very unforgiving
Trapped in sin

Hurting no-one but self.
Trapped in sin
I wonder if they know
With pain comes power
But you hand it over
When you're trapped in sin

It's foul, it's *****, it's sneaky, it's deceiving, it's spiteful,it slanders
It's hurting others, it's nasty, it's unforgiving, it's lustful
It's sin!
Release yourself of it.
We are not perfect but we are able to become new and regenerated wash yourself of bad things in your life so you can get what your heart desires
Lizzy Jan 2014
I fell too hard
Too fast.
Now I'm left with this haunting emptiness.
You filled every crack in my bones
And every dark corner of my being
Until I was finally whole.
For the first time in my life.
And that has terrified me to no end.
I won't let myself be fooled by your
Unforgiving love.
So I'll throw it away
Before you can take it back.
It seems illogical
But to hurt myself won't be nearly as bad
As you hurting me.
Maybe I just need distance
Maybe I just need time.
Because I've never had a love like this
So true and terrifying.
My head doesn't know what to think.
The only thing I can do is
Run.
Lizzy May 2015
Cold, unforgiving.
My soul froze in time.
I gave love its last chance,
And clocks stopped.

The big hand contorted,
To mock my closing veins.
The small just pointed
And laughed in my face.

So I shattered all the timepieces,
Forbidding me to count the seconds alone.
In an hourless world,
I lost faith in hope.

The walls as my best friend.
My bed the only lover.
I'm content in waiting
For my torturous life to be over.

But you found me
Wrapped in passing seconds.
Prisoner to tic tic
Pacing in my head.

Where my skin
Tasted of decay.
And my claws retired
From scratching at the gates.

Given up on fighting,
Satisfied with thousand pound lungs.
A half timed beating,
Beneath my hollow ribs.

My souls began to thaw,
Clocks began to move.
All from your touch,
All from your air.

The big hand straightens.
And the small silences itself.
Opening my veins.
No more comically mocking my pain.

Your gentle hands piece together,
All the pieces I shattered.
Back to counting
All the seconds I'm alive.

My walls become acquaintances.
You replace my bed.
I'm not waiting,
This life won't end.

No longer bound
By the song of passing time.
Free from "tic toc",
It's a little less crowded in my head.

Warmth returns to my skin.
My hands click awake.
Not ready to scratch,
But to create.

There is no fight to give up.
Air quickly lifts my lungs.
There's a full paced beating,
Inside my glowing chest.

All because you touched me.
You kissed me.
With a calm fear,
You woke me from my sleep.
Kathleen M Oct 2018
little white envelope
sealed with a promise
just like the others
open to find means to a better end
no bitter ends will you let begin
colourful notes meant to read
i love you
words not easily spoken
through clenched teeth
jaws locked
rusted with time
years spent unhinged
uncontrolled
spoiled words spoken between lips
unforgiving winds
their destruction still left to rebuild
tension releases by passing annum
moments spent in silence
make way for healing
and days left to heal with you are unknown
days left are precious
words are simple
beholden to their potential
barriers thin but exist nonetheless
not in contempt
but in habit
detox made easier by bullet holes
ghosts
of past attempts to infiltrate
your kingdom
of fatherhood
Daiene Sep 2018
her touch was rough
and unforgiving.
the burn of fire
hence, the sting of ice.
a ballerina gliding along the
calloused parchment
of her journal-
and with that i knew that she was beautiful.

her soul and poetry like a fairy and his bunny
so brooding and enchanting.
she was the symbol of
melancholy and grace,
epitome of the beauty of autumn
euphoria
and chills of a cold winter night
spent in halls
with loud cheers
and lonely slumber.

a beautiful disaster, they said
lovely, i replied.
You
you reminded me of the night sky
cold and unforgiving and yet
I find it peaceful and enthralling.
I am mesmerized by your beauty
like the countless stars that glistens at night
like the bewitching moon, you shine bright
I adore you, and i am in love with you
Cristina Dec 2018
Behind your soft warm brown eyes
your soul is cold and jagged
Underneath your perfect blonde hair
Your brain is cruel and unforgiving
Under your snug flannel
Your heart is rock hard and freezing
Naomi Dec 2018
You are
A beautiful soul
Trapped in a tormented mind
Living in an unforgiving world
Obassi Bholai Dec 2018
I tend to do this unforgiving
method of maddness when it comes to writing
I'll start and stop, repeating onto new work
unfinishing the last.

incomplete as each piece may be,
the brain is scattered
lost and afraid, it'll never feel the same way.
connected to what new beginnings
may be.
Kitt Jul 2017
The Wheel of Time continues on
the damning repetition of a spindling Journey
slaving away on the Wheel's unforgiving madness
caught on the Spokes of Eternity,
just a piece
an arc hardly arching in the grandness
hardly varying in the vastness of forever
your entire Existence contained in a Segment
of the Wheel that drives us
forward.
Tammy M Darby Jul 2017
Thoughts fester and wallow in retrospection
Regret reclines upon your left shoulder
Gloom unforgiving sits upon your right
Prodigious and ever bolder
Attired in the colors of the night

Vacant is the once brilliant soul
It's path freely chosen
Ah unwelcoming heart bloodless and morose
Once pulsating with love and life now infinitely frozen

Indeed it becomes you
As glittering tomorrows metamorphose into yesterdays
Anger devours the futile effort
To unburden one's self of taunting shades
No words of this world shall relay to that which awaits
The unwavering constant confusion
When the moon grows dark on the wane

When Regret at leisure sits upon your left hand
Gloom hushed and brooding
Convenes with melancholy upon your right
Come the watching murmuring somber shadows
Provoking madness in the mind.

All Rights Reserved @ Tammy M. Darby July 27, 2017.
Timothy Oct 2018
No swelling anthems do I offer thee,
     Gone are those words that came so quick by day,
     And in whose mind they seem'd to swell and sway,
And leave just as another came to me.
I merely have a simple, "Thank thee," see?
     A poor reflection of those flow'rs of May
     An unforgiving nagging in mine lay
'Pray render more and more about the lea.'

     O mine good friend, now take a look at this,
These words art meant for thee, for thee art penn'd!
Thou didst arise, like Byrons rolling sea,
     To shake an Ode for me—how great that bliss!
Now for thee, Tryst, these poor lines here do wend,
Across that mighty ocean to bless thee!
A thank thee to Tryst for those lovely words!
© Timothy 14 October 2018
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
Emma Sep 2016
My Drunk Buddy,

Do you remember when we first made that pact?
I was at my uncle's, you were back at home.
It was around 1am I believe,
When you and I became our own.
I will keep you out of trouble,
You will keep me in my pants,
We'll even take turns being sober.
To have someone to stop us,
When we're smashed
That night/morning I knew I loved you,
And I know you realized you love me too.
I trusted you, you became my best friend.
You trusted me with no end.
I felt it wrong when you didn't tell me,
How you and she broke up.
I knew then we had problems,
But I didn't know to what end.
You had made a promise to me
So I could ensure you would be happy.
You broke that promise along with my trust.
My heart in pieces, and your head in your hands,
You knew you ******* up and I don't care.
I'm way too stressed with out this,
But I am broken so don't come around.
I will still love you always,
I just can't see you right now;
But if you need me I'll be here.
I really miss you, I do,
But I can no longer trust you.

Your Unforgiving Best Friend
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