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From opposite sides
of the valley,
in straight rows
marching, the
brave lads came on,
flags unfurled and
fluttering, as bugles
and drums did sound,

The cannons roared
and smoke did shroud
the grassy killing field,

The boys cut down like
summer wheat in heaps
upon the ground.

Their Uniforms of Blue or
Grey becoming all the same,
turned to crimson Red upon
that lurid blood soaked field.
In respectful acknowledgement
of all the fallen. in all the far too
many wars, no matter the color
of the uniforms they wore.
Gettysburg; The Civil War
July 1863
Alan S Bailey Jul 2017
The past
It's always on my mind
The grassy backyard I grew up in
This and that-memories of
Halloween, rabbits, fall, you.
All the things that pass in time.
I pick up this notion that
One may recall what happened to
Them when they were a young kid.
The balloons touching the ceiling of
My pre-school, the quiet time when
We supposedly slept but never did.
Like the color yellow, how I loved it,
The '89 earthquake, being shocked by it.
Songs in Kindergarten. Art, pictures, music.
Summer camp, exploring the wild, love, light,
And wind. I remember my brother
And I playing tag as the sun went
Down in the first house I moved in.
Running along the fields in the day,
Swimming, or memories of the
Tumbleweeds performance,
Being In the play.
All of the times I would always
Watch the sun on the swing as it rose
In the morning. I remember the vast
Wheat fields, a sense of calm quiet,
As if there were no place more peaceful.
Climbing my favorite pine tree in my back yard.
But one thing I remember more than ever
Was being on a field of my own.
The sky is filled with clouds always
Floating off like they
Were from an endless world of tranquility,
This warm sun, this was and-I forever remember
It to be-my one true home.

But that is another story...
Well, at least I tried!
CK Baker Feb 2017
late night by the holland sill
white framed and frilled
alongside the meadow
down by the grand
where cat fish
and cow pies
and silly yellow bees
make their stay

there are swings now
and empty barns
(with quiet corners
and broken walls)
echoing chambers
that speak of the past
...and little dogs
not big ones

the plaster cracks
and wheat sways
from a warm west wind
it’s about time
for that late afternoon pour
you know how it cleans the soul
old percy would say

and flanders
(the holder of those pigs)
who fed us good
with sow and milk
as we plowed the
dusty fields
into the
hot summer sun

i can still hear the screams
of river dreams
the grand slams
and flints run dry
the barks
and breaks
and bends
a world past
with forbes
and dolls
and crab apple trees

think i’ll take a trip
up the back lane
they’ve cut the brush
and opened the line
-gabi p- Oct 2018
have you heard the legend of Calypso?
   doomed to live a century of solitude,
   until the cruel gods sent her
someone
   she couldn't help
            but
              love.
am i cursed like the daughter of a titan?

  do you know about the Fox?
  tamed by a golden-haired
    friend;
  untrusting of all other humans,
    only to have him go away.

and i can't help but
           cry
          a
         little
  when i hear the wind
   on the wheat-fields,
for they remind me of you.
we had such little time.
Ryan O'Leary Jun 16
Wheat is a composition
of What We Heat Eat.

Which is why flour is,
Our, Fortifier, & Lifesaver.

Thus meaning that bread is,
Brown, Rye, Ezekiel, Arepa, Dough.
King Panda Feb 2016
the good book says
one to tame
another to handle the whip
and groan at the horses
as they pull the
freedom carriage

freedom from what?

freedom from fields
of wheat and grass
freedom from
dirt and potatoes
freedom from the
bite of the whip
in the sweltering
Georgia pits

lord
this good book isn’t
very good at all
these horses can pull their own
but I am weak
tamed
invisible
I am a pipe cleaner
bent over and over
until it snaps
to quote
I don’t want to live on
this planet anymore
I don’t want to live at all

this is the sun breaking through
this is the vain bee trying to pollinate
this is my rose under glass

quake if you must
earth
I have been shattered already
Pat Broadbent Oct 2018
Planes streak across the wide October sky–
The sun is setting–
Contrails stream behind them,
glowing scars of the evening.

The highest ones, they exhale the day’s gold,
pure and sharp
like fields of August wheat,
dusty and late-summer charred.

Redder and lower ones hug the skyline,
No cloud to catch them,
Fall like meteorites,
the slow burn of a dwarf star

Memories never print so vividly,
slow burn sees fast death,
Reds, golds and what's between,
A brain is all catch-and-release


So afterwards what should be left of this?
Not but an umbra,
Impressionist beauty,

A mere relief of its source?


Beauty’s slow fade is not the tragedy,
–rather the reverse–
That we fade to beauty,
To never hold it in full.
Beauty and whatnot
Logan Robertson Jul 2018
A black crow's darting eyes
spans the wheat field
and an orange pumpkin patch.
She sees
tall grasses of brown
seedlings,
bristling in the wind,
soon to be bushels of grain
and a pumpkin pie that she never savored.
She sits, atop her tree perch,
at times warm and storybook,
hidden by tree branches,
and at times out of harm's way
and infamy.
Her friends, the sun, and clouds in concert,
dancing along.
Her other friends bring alms and smiles.
Life is so good at times.
Down the road sits a mill
next to a waterfall
and a cabin,
with reindeer horns
hanging above the doorway.
She is in her element, happy,
carrying for her nestlings.
Back and forth her parental eyes dart
the hilly fields, a smoked filled chimney, and her babies,
all crawling with sustenance and awe.
Storybook.
A mother feeding a worm to her baby.
Storybook.
Off to her side is not a blind eye
watching her,
scary stick figures of
straw tucked under red shirts and hats,
with a tied tinfoil strips dotting
her eyes and tease.
Scarecrows, cease.
At times life is good nature, hand in hand,
knock on wood.
If only life could be circumspect.
Than darkness filling the light
and a stutter of life.
For a sad page is turned,
pause
... tears.
Then, feathers fall.
Hers.
The sound of a thud.
Silence and tears of her friend's swelling.
A baby's cry, missing her mother.
More orphaned tears.
Who would be this despicable?
On that rogue day.
A kick of a donkey,
an ***,
one bad rock on her path,
breaks the air,
as three little elementary kids were walking along
to school.
One, me, with a rock in his hand,
taking aim at her perch
and the death of the black crow's pages.
I confess.
... Bless me, Father, for I have sinned
it has been fifty years since
my last confession ...
a Tom Sawyer-like childhood gone worse.
I repent.
Some fifty years later I think of those first cairns,
including stealing the reindeer horns and milling
my brother and sister's storybook.
Waterfalls
stream tears, and a sorry boat
rowed downstream
sadly
thereafter.

Logan Robertson

7/25/2018
KiraLili Aug 2015
Combines start there turns
Morning mist covers ripe wheat
Red rimmed sun rises
Northern Saskatchewan Harvest in the Battlefords
Alyssa Underwood Sep 2017
Perilous times are foretold for the end
When the one who betrays might as soon be a friend
When he who walked with you in the midst of God's throng
Proves a broken-off reed who didn't belong
When the crowd turns away from the truth they once knew
To embrace a strange fire of the enemy's brew
When the mystic is favored much more than the teacher
And intolerant is the name reserved for the preacher

For myriads have tasted of the heavenly gifts
Then at some unknown point the set compass shifts
And they show by the fact that they do not endure
That they never knew the One Whose salvation is sure
For He's promised He cannot lose one of His own
Yet His wheat grows with tares that His enemy's sown
So these goats dressed as sheep might say all the right words
But pasted-on wings do not turn moles to birds

They learn the same Scriptures and enjoy the same songs
But haven't yet come to the cross for their wrongs
Haven't taken it up and followed the Lord
Have never been born of His Spirit Who is poured
Into all whom the Father has chosen for His Son
Those predestined before the world had begun
So among the elect in the pews sit the dead
Unregenerate men taking up masks instead

And some will sit thus for the rest of their life
While others walk away overcome by the strife
Of their trials, distractions, desires or greed
Rather trusting the world to provide all that they need
For discipleship costs and most think it too high
A price now to pay of their self who must die
Most are tripped by the weight of that covenant walk
Which accompanies a faith that goes past mere talk

It is God's grace alone which grants genuine belief
And with it repentance for proud or for thief
While the course remains bumpy until dying day
The saved may fall down, but they can't fall away
For salvation from first to the last is of the Lord
And His Spirit within is what keeps saints secured
It's our duty and privilege to obey and abide
Yet how could we without His power inside?

Now besides a new fuel we receive a new nature
The old man is dead, we are made a new creature
One that's being conformed to the image of Jesus
So we live to please Him now and not to please us
But because of this switch the world is enraged
For when light shines in darkness its evil's front stage
They hate us the same as they hated our Master
And as time nears its close their fury swells faster

Persecution's been promised for all who are godly
Could be mocking, rejection or harm that is ******
It cannot compare though to what's been exchanged
In the gift of redemption for our souls long-deranged
So we dare not forget when the blows are received
That those doing the punching are still dead and deceived
Still locked in the grip of the enemy's force
Still blinded by sin, still enslaved to its course

Just judgment will come if they do not repent
If they keep on rejecting God's Lamb Who was sent
So it's best left to Him to defend us against
The disdain and discord of a world that's incensed
For they're already judged who refuse to believe
And we would be too but for mercy's reprieve
Being saved from God's wrath that is soon to be poured
Out full strength onto those who His truths have ignored

In the meantime the Father's maturing His children
Forging character depth through both trials and discipline
So let's not lose hope in the face of our sorrow
But rejoice that He's working it out for tomorrow
Since we have a sure treasure stored for us in heaven
And we'll soon be set free from all sin-staining leaven
Let's press on toward Christ's likeness worked in us by grace
And look hard for first moments our eyes see His face!
~~~

"'However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.'"  
~ Acts 20:24
Alyssa Underwood Feb 2016
Perilous times are foretold for the end
When the one who betrays might as soon be a friend
When he who walked with you in the midst of God's throng
Proves a broken-off reed who didn't belong
When the crowd turns away from the truth they once knew
To embrace a strange fire of the enemy's brew
When the mystic is favored much more than the teacher
And intolerant is the name reserved for the preacher

For myriads have tasted of the heavenly gifts
Then at some unknown point the set compass shifts
And they show by the fact that they do not endure
That they never knew the One Whose salvation is sure
For He's promised He cannot lose one of His own
Yet His wheat grows with tares that His enemy's sown
So these goats dressed as sheep might say all the right words
But pasted-on wings do not turn moles to birds

They learn the same Scriptures and enjoy the same songs
But haven't yet come to the cross for their wrongs
Haven't taken it up and followed the Lord
Have never been born of His Spirit Who is poured
Into all whom the Father has chosen for His Son
Those predestined before the world had begun
So among the elect in the pews sit the dead
Unregenerate men taking up masks instead

And some will sit thus for the rest of their life
While others walk away overcome by the strife
Of their trials, distractions, desires or greed
Rather trusting the world to provide all that they need
For discipleship costs and most think it too high
A price now to pay of their self who must die
Most are tripped by the weight of that covenant walk
Which accompanies a faith that goes past mere talk

It is God's grace alone which grants genuine belief
And with it repentance for proud or for thief
While the course remains bumpy until dying day
The saved may fall down, but they can't fall away
For salvation from first to the last is of the Lord
And His Spirit within is what keeps saints secured
It's our duty and privilege to obey and abide
Yet how could we without His power inside?

Now besides a new fuel we receive a new nature
The old man is dead, we are made a new creature
One that's being conformed to the image of Jesus
So we live to please Him now and not to please us
But because of this switch the world is enraged
For when light shines in darkness its evil's front stage
They hate us the same as they hated our Master
And as time nears its close their fury swells faster

Persecution's been promised for all who are godly
Could be mocking, rejection or harm that is ******
It cannot compare though to what's been exchanged
In the gift of redemption for our souls long-deranged
So we dare not forget when the blows are received
That those doing the punching are still dead and deceived
Still locked in the grip of the enemy's force
Still blinded by sin, still enslaved to its course

Just judgment will come if they do not repent
If they keep on rejecting God's Lamb Who was sent
So it's best left to Him to defend us against
The disdain and discord of a world that's incensed
For they're already judged who refuse to believe
And we would be too but for mercy's reprieve
Being saved from God's wrath that is soon to be poured
Out full strength onto those who His truths have ignored

In the meantime the Father's maturing His children
Forging character depth through both trials and discipline
So let's not lose hope in the face of our sorrow
But rejoice that He's working it out for tomorrow
Since we have a sure treasure stored for us in heaven
And we'll soon be set free from all sin-staining leaven
Let's press on toward Christ's likeness worked in us by grace
And look hard for first moments our eyes see His face!
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."  Acts 20:24

Thank you Melissa Pagano, Eddie Starr, Lidi Minuet, my Soul Survivor sister Catherine and many others for your examples of boldness to proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! You are true inspirations to me!!
King Panda Mar 2016
spirit stone
the emotion caught
in your embrace
where my body
melts into yours
the perfect blend
of masculine
and feminine
bathing in a river
of marble
the waves are
disquieting
the ring is lost

spirit stone
don’t deceive me
with other women
don’t trick me with
the old man
at your feet
I do not give up
I slave away
I work morning
and night

spirit stone
everything has been
cut
hay, wheat, stone
the interlude in
the fields
the moment when
the ring is found
dawn and thought
watch me
dawn and thought
wear on my
countenance

spirit stone
the moving echo
of my own past
the waltz to come
the hidden
atelier
the moment when
the king falls in love
with his wife
with his child

spirit stone
I am muse
I am artist
I am caught like
a fly
an agnostic
queen who found
the ring
to fall in the arms
of man

spirit stone*
if you keep your
promise
we will grow
with the sky
if you keep your
promise
we will be in
paradise
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
Aaron Combs Dec 2018
This, this letter I made you, let it pierce your heart,
like the silver moon earrings, I gave you,

Let me hold you on high.
Let me hold you on high.

Like the Kansas fields that outnumber the stars,
let's walk on the wheat fields of gold, for even
if I can't forgive you, my heart will freely love you.

Over and over,

like red Georgia Peaches,  like Florida Beaches
let me be the one for you.

Everything passes on,  so let not the venom of angels,
whisper us away ,

Now like Chicago, let me sing you into fame
until every knows your name, let me sing, let me sing.

Embrace me, like a California dream, pretend it's just me,
like the ring on your finger, let me be, let me be,
the one and only, like your silver moon earrings.

For if you harden your heart, lets go back to one,
let me be like your silver moon earrings,

let me hold you on high.
let me hold you on high.
For her
King Panda Jan 2017
wheat in color
a tan adobe
almost red
a genderless
bone
hollow and
ossified
I donate this
day to you
I enmesh
my soul
into the air
the harvest
all the while
standing
still
Sophia Apr 2018
there was a sparkle in her eyes
I saw it
I saw it
no one else paid her any attention
and only I noticed the apple cores of her hands
unfulfilled
starving
hysterical
barren
barred

so she resorted to magic
the crazy stuff of existence
like the wheat she stashed in her sandbag heart
and when it found her not
despair shook the earth
around her sorrowful body
permeating disillusion
confusion
immersion in nothingness nothingness nothing

lonely lonely
and bottle caps launched from her fingernails
from the spiraling stems of madness that rampaged through her bulging pulse
with piercing shards of nothingness nothingness nothing
splitting her glowing veins

and sweetening her ever-kind
clueless
knowledgeable
brain brain brain

and where was the world?
patty m May 2014
Fertility
you are the life giving goddess
let me fertilize your expectation,
emptying my seed while cupping your richness
and soon your pregnant furrows begin to swell
lush and green.

Feast of dreams, sustenance of my people
your body is a temple giving and giving again.
And when the harvest leaves you barren,
I will let you stretch fallow and rest before
ravishing you and spilling seed once again,
my fingers in your moist darkness,
touching and loving your unselfish giving,
your womb's splendid infusion,  corn and wheat
in breezes blowing.   You breathe life into the child
with fierce *******, your mounds of nourishment.  

I bow to your naked purpose proclaiming my servitude,
tenderly reaping your glorious bounty.
Poetoftheway Jul 2018
Ilion gray
poet extraordinary
is away
learning the codes hidden in raindrops

no reason for surprise;

for the mountains of Brooklyn, the Manhattan caverns of Sunhenge^, corridors of narrow focus for trapping the declining sun rays,

neither high enough, narrow blinding,
to keep a good man from doing good things that life provides as opportunities
to do the right thing

he muses that it took five years for the other poets to understand our
poem-dreams;
avant-garde he says,
but I laugh,
never felt more misunderstood
and reply take care, be
en garde!

no matter for he is learning a new language,
the codes hidden in raindrops in a land of wheat
once called Indian Territory and eager
await his return so we may
walk along the Brooklyn shoreline,
beginning from under the Brooklyn Bridge
where Washington’s men escaped a British trap

and he can decode for me the whispery thunderous noises of
NY
showers that come up so sudden,  so roughened, but right now,
the seductive sun blinks in Manhattan windowed towers reflecting back on to our East River as golden blinks of nature

We will walk lost in the absorption of our
different commonalities, holding the hands of
his young son, and my Wendy,
both of them equal in possession of round saucer eyes
that give us poems

He calls me me friend,
I call him brother, teacher, master, better than the best,
well recalling a late night message that bred
a five year conversation ongoing

not everything need be coded
what you read here
it is not coded,
for the raindrops come clear and clean
and the poems land on our tongues
bounce on the foreheads and eyes of the babes, all stored and saved for the future blessings spoken in a single tongue

7/18/18



^https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattanhenge
#Ilion codes brooklyn by NY
sharpcastuser Nov 2011
Dark sky with amber stains
Sinking sun casts shadows over the plain
Fields of wheat redden for each strand of grain
Dark sky with amber stains
Wild horses sleep as their wanderings refrain
Full moon reigns over the terrain
Dark sky with amber stains
Sinking sun casts shadows over the plain

© 2004 - Pres  Hello-Poetry.com - All Rights Reserved
King Panda Mar 2016
how could I have known
when I received that
final kiss
I would end up here
in the country side
the soul of
you
my sister

every morning I walk
through the wheat
hands grazing over
the bearded kernels
my heart, light
my body, transcended
the leaves inside
turning

oh! the joy it brings
to tell you
dear sister
that what lies beyond
isn’t made of
marble
but pure light
dancing
in its finest
colors

if only you were here
with me
I could save you
from the moment
I fell
I could teach you to
sculpt autumn
dear sister
I could teach you
to sculpt love as it is
without
clay
Spenser Bennett Mar 2016
Petals like pages telling stories of the light
Roots buried deep, hidden in the night
Settle your rages and speak
Truth is found steeped among the wheat
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