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Steve Jun 2018
Tired of living in a false paradise of consumption,
suffering everyday our labored prostitution,
trade in your hours for a handful of scraps,
smile while your master puts the cigar out on your back,
this is the workers symphony,
aching joints, aching psyche,
smothered with whiskey to **** the pain,
our autonomous freedom we'll never regain,
slave till you die, laugh till it hurts, your meaning in life, to merely survive,
collect your checks week after week, creative minds stomped out, just smile and drink,
be a good slave except your fate,
it's just the way it is boy get back in your place,
we gravel in dispair, they spit in our face,
we waste our lives away,
on our hands and knees we just smile and drink,
thinking about breaking these chains,
it's punishable by law,
authority laughs when you die slow for your keep,
with your eyes wide shut,
don't wake your slumber,  
it's all a bad dream,
just go back to sleep,
and forget life's blunder
Sara Kellie Jul 2018
A Queen in waiting, a Princess no less.
Each day, a routine before being seen.
For some, a shadow and not of the eye.
The kind you'd find on that of a guy.
An army of pogonophobes in dysphoric confusion.
Each purging our wardrobes,
a repeated delusion.

A leading *******
from a pornographic circus.
The ***** under graduate from
a school of *** workers.
Your Hubby's vision in blue
is our secret down south,
'cause he wouldn't kiss you with
that ***** mouth.

So I'll stop you there Sizzle Chest,
with your cans of Stella
in your pristine white vest,
'cause this is real easy,
even for you Mr ******.

I used to be a Princess but
now I'm a Queen,
recently coronated
after all that I've seen.

Poetry by Kaydee.
Hazy musings from a land of candy pink
are the dreams of a Princess.
Proctor Ehrling Jul 2019
Shepherds, cobblers, carpenters and joiners of all creeds and worldly dreamers
You troubled souls, the brittle spirits drinking spirits cleaner
Taunted workers of yore, farmers gone and industries endowed
Disseminating futures, who's gonna build your ***** barrels now?
**** it, I'm going to work in a call center
Continuing clearing my notebooks. I think this one was supposed to be inspired by the death of coal industry and other types of jobs going extinct, but I am not sure anymore.
Ashley Chapman Sep 2017
Sandwiched in layers of liquid crystal display,
Encased in vats of plastic,
                          
                            we
Voyaging in data-spheres, plumes of digital play.

Mindless,
         In the soup of silicone,
                            
                            all
Myt­h-makers,
         Pouring over electro-spawned
         networks,
                            
                            fall
Workers,
          In the buzz of bits and bytes, of
          megabytes and terabytes,
                            
                            down
Everyone
          Far from the wood, the brine, the
          mud that caked us,
          In tighter and tighter
          digitised  projections,
                            
                            click!
‘Like me’,
‘Share me’,
‘Leave your comments.’

Messages smoothed out in polymers,
Beyond reproductions of ourselves,

                           enter:

Deeper, delving in the mire of dream-conscious,

Now a waking voice,
          Hardened, digitised, recorded in
          bubbles, in drives, in clouds:
                        
Numb numbers of numbers numb,
                          mirror.

          A platform slotted home:
The motherboard!
          To record the echo in the hollow
          of our Being.
Wrote this a while back. It was published in The Tunnel Magazine, which was great. Anyway, hope it gets a wider audience.
Macgyver Oct 2018
Ambitious bastions always tout
progressive plans when they're about
while within they hide and pout
from novel things that may prove out.

And while inventing goals to follow
their ancients habits hold them hollow
as in vain wary workers wallow
force fed lies and hooks to swallow.

They hunt for those who work past five,
that trudge to work, endure the drive
who will sacrifice their personal live
until ambition can't survive.

Yet if you strive, you're constant told
do not do more, do not be bold
just fill your seat, forever hold
your tongue until you're dead and cold.

To subsist we're forced to hide,
only in others can we confide,
all success pushed to the side
as managers act bona fide.

Since those of meager measure make
hope of meeting metrics fake
interloping leaders take
their toll until hard workers break.
Paul Hansford Jan 2018
Even from behind the glass,
you can smell the chemical
that keeps the moths away.
A vast mound of matted sheep’s wool
you would say, except (they assure you)
it is original, all two tons of it,
the human hair that was left
unused at the end.
The rest went for socks
to keep workers’ feet warm.
All grey now, sixty years on, it has aged
as those that owned it never did.
They went naked to the shower room,
clutching the soap
they would never use,
and then to the ovens.
A lorry’s engine drowned the screams,
and the Governor’s wife tended her flowers,
making a garden “like paradise.”
This is at least the fourth major re-write of this poem .  "A poem is never finished, only abandoned."
Cingyeng Vang Aug 2018
Workers of lawlessness, you think you know him
But you pray to a dead god; a god of fantasy
A false god of the pharisee
Thinking you'll be in a place that's heavenly
But he stops to tell you, "You don't know me."

You looked at the door, but there was never a knock
You thought your heart was flesh, but it was still a rock
You felt so Godly, but you follow the crooked path of the folly

Cause a wolf in the herd you still are
But still you don't know his name
When he called from afar
Only his sheep came.

Matthew 7:21-23
Being Christian is more than following rules, dead fishes can go with the flow too.
Ken Pepiton May 2018
Sunday, May 06, 2018
4:51 PM

Failing for lack of power is a fear crop.
A fear crop.
An odd thought.

Not the seed nor spore, but the fruit.

And fruits have seeds in themselves,
All men, I say again,
wombed and un, should know that by now.

Freedom of information act fact, informed
men know when to fight and when to sow and when
to reap the crops we've sown
in our mortal moment
gone with the wind.

Not mine.
The wind is in my inheritance,
True proverb.
I troubled my own house, fouled my nest
with all the rest o' youse ab-users of life
ignoring forever like that could never happen here.

It did.
The voices in your head are never all evil
if they use words.
In the total accounting of idle words
some significant percentage
may
carry meaning forsaken.
Such may be redeemed
much as one would redeem the time.

One of us.  One of our mortal kind.

Dear reader, we say again, we ain't Legion nor his kin.

We are words once spoken in jest among fools who repeated us
meaninglessly, oh my God, you know. Per se. No ****. **** happens.
All the ****** time,
and **** and God, those two get overtime of idle utterance instances.
Though a statistically measurable deme
does redeem a significant some of those two
in true beliver
dying breath
honesty. God, they say, and die.

By my leave, I say,
I am the definition of a free entity accepted in these books.
We are voices. Messengers.
Some of us were wicked, twisted as wicker
or wire bundles. Some of us were true pass words.
Some were true rest words,
rest rooms were so named
for that wonderunful feeling we all get
when **** happens

at just the right moment

in the book. Great ideas gravitate to clean rest rooms.

this is a new book right, this reader is
whadayacallit

Vetted.
What does that mean. You know right idle heard words are
meaning less
power less.
Vet me. Am I one of those ideas, good to the core, caught up in fairy
tales fed the T.V. generation, the Boom beyond the bomb?
After school freedom and duck and cover drills,
we watched cartoons, aimed twenty short years earlier
at the wanters and wishers and workers and worriers
of the thirties, not at us. W


e Boomers, as the media hipsters have always known us,
the off-spring, often unwanted and ill-begotten, of the Greatest Generation,
the one that won the contracts to build all the bombs in the world,
tax-free.

Those cartoons from the thirties with Entertainment Tonight plots and cameos of
Hollywood stars who were Grandma's age,
that Cowboy Bob on the local VHF
(unaffiliated or independent, hard to tell a diff)
showed to us, the first middle class latch key kids in centuries,
those cartoons were meaningless, prewar propaganda
unless we match adult laughing recoging the exaggerations,
The Betty Davis eyes and Frankly M'Dear bigears
"Grandpa, who is that guy with big ears and a skinny mustache?"
Clark Gable, wow.
Who knew the "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a ****" guy had jug-handle ears?
It was diversity in the desert. My big ears no longer made me bully bait.
I have superior hearing and star power.
From my kindergarten years I have known.
I am included, my flaws are not flaws at all.
That don't give a **** guy
and I have big ears to hear better with, so
we know more. Good fathers teach their big eared sons such facts of Nature.

Take care. Don't get puffed up. Knowing too much
will fill a head with hydrogen and the brain in it rots,
intrixically.

Are we powerless? If you say so? No.
I am in control, graciously demands
no load un-bearable with Gen-you-wine Joy Juice,
Kick-a-poo Joy Juice.

(Note: not fire water white lightning. This is
Gen-you-wine Joy Juice,
Kick-a-poo Joy Juice. Al Capp's
Personal Stash of Greatest Gen Synthetic Absynthe.
Used to **** hippie wanna-bees in farm country,
Like DDT for apple worms and skeeters,
Atom bombs for all colors of thinkin' right (but white),
Gen-you-wine Joy Juice,
Kick-a-poo Joy Juice revived many a faintin' pilgrim
follerin' John Wayne down the dusty trail,

Play me one o' them somebody done somebody right
songs,
there must be a million lying idle in blue puddles o' all kinds
of imaginary
ref-use.

Referee.
Job's Daysman betwixt us, we win. His call, not mine. I thought I lost for sure.

I was powerless, let me testify.

No. We think different here. If you are not stupid,
you are not powerless. If you are stupid, then you are powerless,
but but but
If you think you are powerless, you are not stupid. God knows, right?
Stupid people seldom see themselves powerless past the standing
under peace that's beyond understanding meat-mind-wise.

Dunning-Krueger. Again.
Feedback please, this is one of many in the theme of redeeming idle words, for fun and profit.
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
Bus Poet Stop Sep 2017
the bus poets

we are the modern day chimney sweeps,
the ***** black faced coal miners of the city,
digging up its grit, toasted with its spit,
the gone and forgotten elevator operators,
the anonymous substitutable,
still yet glimpsed occasionally,
grunts of urbanity
provoking a surprised
whaddya know!

once like the bison and the buffalo,
we were thousands,
word workers roaming the cities,
the intercity rural routes and the lithe greyhounds
across the land of the brave,
free in ways the
founders wanted us to be
us, the stubs and stuff,
harder working poor and lower cases

we were the bus poets,
sitting always in the back of the bus,
where the engines growls loudest,
seated in the - the most overheated
in winter time, so much so
we nearly disrobed,
and then come the summer,
we were blasted with a joking
hot reverie from the vents,
but vent, no, we did not!

no - we wrote and wrote of all we heard,
passion overheated by currents within and without,
recording and ordering the
snatches and the soliloquies of the passengers,
into poem swatches;
the goings on passing by,
the overheard histories,
glimpsed in milliseconds, eternity preserved,
inscribed in a cheap blue lined five & dime notebook,
for all eternity what the eyes
sighed and saw

books ever passed
onto the next generation in boxes from the supermarket,
attic labeled, then forgotten beside the outgrown toys
with our names writ indelible with the magic of
black markers

if you stumble upon a breathing scripter,
let them be, just observe,
as they, you,
these movers and bus shakers,
as they, observe you

tell your children,
you knew one in your youth,
then take them to the attic
retrieve your mother's and father's,
teach your children
how to read, how to see,
the ways of their forefathers,
the forsaken,
the bus poets.
dedication: for them, for us, for me
Ron Gavalik Dec 2019
When the proles see in reds,
the rich lose their heads.
Bathed in the blood of villains,
workers dance and laugh,
they **** and love.
****** are redeemed.
Books are embraced.
Drink is consumed.
The blue-green Earth,
after such a long abuse,
is finally reclaimed.
Nico Julleza Jul 2017
∙∙∙◦◦•◎•◦◦∙∙∙
A little bit of summer
a little bit of breeze
in the days of warmer
love has so much-
to bring, come let us sing

A little bit of freesia
a little bit of lilac
never can resist a scent
-of Ms. Narine
Ogles, a morning scene

A little bit of sunshine
a little bit of eventide
caress upon the shores
-of such imagery,
passions of immortality

A little bit of cosmos
a little bit of crocus
in a glebe-like galaxy
stars white as daphne
from a garden of syzygy

A little bit of cerulean
a little bit of vermilion
shimmers the lucid lake
with trout's and doves
Golly! autumn is awake

A little bit of plowing
a little bit of sow
the hard workers of
-those pumpkins
reaps a stewful of zin

A little bit of snow
a little bit of flail
fly away as butterflies
hibernate as snails
Forging! a winters gale

A little bit of details
a little bit of trail
from dew drops of-
a frozen rose, icicles on
a drowsy bear’s nose

A little bit of sleeping
a little bit of wait
till the sun comes up  
gray clouds strew away
spring is here to stay

A little bit of sprout
a little bit of grow
And can it be, on thee
an Epiphany shows
the Lords glorious prose
#sing #flowers #seasons #nature #God #colors

Thank-you soo much for all the great poet who red, liked, and commented on this poem.

Don't you just sigh when Seasons Sing...?

(NCJ)POETRYProductions. ©2017
sweet jesus
life is outrageous
listless alligators
try to upstage this
drift from forms
to formless sages
residual wages
furnishing your cages
threadbare leather workers
raid our refrigerators
rage is impulsive
sullen lisps and swollen lips
frame our faceless daughters
in their water glasses
houses of hunted howling
hourglasses
dreamcatchers and dancers
humongous lanterns
burning pages
place-mats
on your dinner tables
why do they feel so out of place
is it the way we are made
have you any
doubts about your origins
what is the worst
thing you’ve ever faced
are you exposed
to typos regularly
tokens of penmanship
and fraternity hazings
hostelries and banquets
growth is dependent
only on intangible quotients
Krysel Anson Sep 2018
Metal bones dropped over another
clashing sounds across the night of smoky denials
in a city of thieves, paupers and scholars.

Worn down and without memory, someone's father
brushes off the dust of a young person's tombstone.
The oblivious student bends over information
into another alarm bell of insatiable chases.

Huddled in a street corner
like sprites of another dark jungle,
workers in uniform and hard hats share
stories and spare time as if nothing else matters
but this fading incomplete point in time.

Overhead looms the impending bright dangers
and dim warnings being built
From metals and soil into another giant promise
trying to excuse itself as it rips through
the city lungs, calmly abiding
and seeming always ready to die or live through.
Jeff Gaines Sep 2018
A headless man
in a ******* bar,
see's **** and ***
and thinks its a star.

“She can cook my meals
and **** my socks …
and give me all her money
as our bed rocks.”

“I'll do her friends,
whether they want me to or not.
She'll never leave me,
I'm all that she's got.”

“She deserved that black eye …
God, she never shuts up!
I about died laughing when she told the cops
that the bathroom door beat her up!”

“Those things her Uncle did to her?
Well, I'll do them too.
Who gives a crap about her feelings?
She's just here to *****.”

“And when I'm done with her,
I'll just head right back to the bar …
A little loot, a little blow, a perfect net …
to catch another falling star.”

To him a woman is an object …
No soul, no life, no heart.
And like a spoiled kid with some fancy toy …
He just wants to take her apart.

He really can't help it.
According to science, he was born this way.
And just as some new girl takes to the pole …
there's another like him, and he's destined to find her one day.

Those mirrors everywhere? They aren't there to help you see …
They've a much more evil job.
They're there so she can see and witness herself taking dollars …
from some old, pervy slob.

They cover those walls so the dancers are forced to watch …
what was once, Daddy's little girl.
To convince her she is now worthless on a downward descent …
and falling deeper with every twirl.

Oddly, eventually … she accepts this new self …
in what seems like soft, shiny skin.
The pounding music and the flashing lights …
all there to help her win.

She soon revels in this adoration …
from men she once would never speak to.
*** and drugs and rivers of whiskey …
All there to see her through.

One day she wakes and looks in the mirror …
Thinning hair, crows feet and bruises on her arms.
Daddy's little girl has long gone away …
replaced with a *****'s worldly charms.

"Who have I become?"
"What have I done?"
"I was only looking for a little excitement …
extra money and maybe some fun."

"How did I waste my life away …
and from it, nothing to show?"
"I never saw it coming, all so easy to do …"
A trap … sprung long ago.

A trap so intoxicating … brainwashed without a clue.
She ponders “Who would want me now?”  … Just another fallen star.
She puts on her makeup … and packs her bag …
and heads on back to the bar.

The cheers, the money, the lights, the ***** …
have now become her vows.
The greedy owner, ***** bouncers and catty co-workers …
they are her family now.

Soon enough, it will come to an end.
If not with her dead on the floor cold …
then replaced by a much younger model …
a new, unsuspecting 18 year-old.

And so the cycle starts again …
Through the door comes the man with no head.
In no time at all, the mirrors will do their job …
and she'll end up in his bed.

A dream in a blindfold or a nightmare she refused to wake up from?
It matters not in this instance.
Either path, a dance off a cliff …
A distinction without a difference.
(I wanna start by saying how sorry I am for being gone for so long. Summer is almost done and I promise to be back to read all my followers and fans. This came to me the other day and I wanted to post it.)

I'm not sure what it is about Virgo's and I … Several of my best buds are Virgos and I've had several Virgo girlfriends as well. Whatever the reason, I have many birthdays to keep up with in September. One of them is really sad though. I met her in the Bottle Club that I was spinning at and was immediately smitten. Tall, brunette, HUGE blue eyes and a smile that could stop a train.

It didn't take long for me to figure out that she was there with a group of strippers. That's commonplace at bottle club's. Where else can working gals go after work when the bars are all closed? We were always jammed with bar and restaurant types. The dancers came in droves as well. But she was different. Most all the dancers came wearing … well … lets just say “slinky” clothes. Tight, revealing dresses. Tall, spike heels. Plunging necklines and … oh, you get the idea. But she was different. She had on a red sweater and jeans … and a really cool pair of black and white checkered Converse high-tops.

I thought maybe … just maybe she was a waitress or bartender at their club … not a dancer.

But I was wrong. She came to the booth to make a request (after she caught me staring from the booth at her and the gals dancing). She even smiled on one occasion and I winked at her then played aloof and turned to pull my next record. That did the trick and there she was, chatting with me. After a few minutes, I grabbed her hand and helped her up into the DJ booth. She seemed a bit surprised and her face lit up. She stayed in that booth for an hour. Her co-workers came by one at a time and made goofy faces at her that we were “hitting it off”. I learned much about her in that hour …

She was a feature dancer and traveled to New York, Miami, Vegas, San Francisco, Dallas, Tampa, Orlando, Key West, and even Toronto and Vancouver performing in huge strip clubs. She had every costume you could think of … Nurse, Police Woman, Construction Worker, Jungle Girl (*complete with a “vine” rope to swing on), Mermaid, Nun (YES, NUN!), Cheerleader, Space Girl, Vampire and, if the venue had the rigging for it … she had a real swing to go along with her Southern Belle outfit. This included an authentic hoop dress with a 5 foot hoop at the hem, a silk and lace parasol and a huge Kentucky Derby-style “Bonnet”.  After we got together, I got to see all of them, either as she performed … or as she performed for me in private. She was really amazing. These venues thought so too, apparently. They would fly her in, put her up in a hotel AND pay her to perform. Of course, she also got to keep all her tips as well. She made insane money at this.

Normally, I bypassed the dancers that came to party where I worked. Too much trouble. Too much drama or partying that was too overboard, even for me (trust me, that's BAD!). But she was different. She wasn't a wild, party-crazed girl out of control. She was really smart. Very articulate, mild-mannered and seemed to have quite a head on her shoulders. Her story was different too. She danced to put herself through college. She had a degree in business. But when she went into the real world to start her career, she learned she couldn't make near the money as she had been making. So, she made a decision to just stay put and ramp up her income by becoming a feature dancer and earn a name for herself. She did just that and owned her own new car and really nice condo … outright. Very impressive to say the least. Eventually, I was at her condo so much, I practically lived there. Sometimes, I'd be out at the pool hall with my bud's and find $100 bills hidden in my watch pocket or stuck in my buttoned shirt pocket. She LOVED doing this, no matter how many times I'd begged her not to. “Just takin' care of my man” she'd say with a grin.

She never fell into the usual trappings of that world and kept herself distanced from it. I was so blown away by all this I started to fall in love with her. My poem titled "Every Day", (See it on my page, a link won't work now for some reason) was written for/about her. We had a blast together. She was really amazing in every way. Her place was a constant flow of folks from that world and I witnessed some reeeeeally freaky voodoo over the next few years. One thing I saw that troubled me though, was a young “new girl” and her “transformation”. I have to say that it really bothered me. I watched this innocent young girl, go from being quiet and even blushing at the behavior witnessed at one of our party's, to being a complete horn-dog freak … loud and drunk most all the time … and this took less than 6 months!

I told my girlfriend that it really troubled me and her and I spoke about it at length. That's how I learned all about the world of professional stripping. She told me all about the mirrors and how they make you see yourself as a stripper and not only make you fall deeper down the hole as you accept yourself like this, but that it also keeps you there as well. She also described to me, at length about the “men” in these girls lives as well as the staff that worked in these types of places. ***, of any sort, attracts ne'er-do-wells, sociopaths, people with all sorts of issues … and pervs. So that's the only choices some girls take. Mostly because they don't give them grief about being dancers. The problem is all the other grief these types bring and the fact that these types of men only see them as objects to be owned and used.

I never went to those places after going a few times after I turned 18. It just wasn't my thing. I don't see women as objects. Being someone who studied Psychology and Behavioral Science, I had more fun watching and studying the people in the place, than the dancers. I never had a problem meeting women … I didn't need to pay for one to pretend to like me. Yet another reason I avoided those gals at the bottle club.

As time went on though … the “little” bit of partying my gal did eventually began to be a problem. I was horrified to discover one day, that the “line here and line there” of sniffs she had always done had descended to her using needles! She would wear these finger-less lace gloves. They were VERY **** at first … But one day, she joined me in the shower with them on … I noticed this and tried to take them off of her … she fought me … laughing at first, but then as I pressed it, she got angry. I thought she had gotten a tattoo … but that was not the case … I laughingly wrestled one off to see the “tattoo” and found track marks on the back of her hand. The argument that ensued in that bathroom could be heard down by the condo pool.

I spent the next few weeks trying to talk her off of it. But all that did was make her try and hide it more while swearing sobriety. After finding yet another needle rig, hidden in the bathroom trash can … I moved out. She tried to commit suicide and blamed it on ME in her note. Thankfully she failed, but because I was named as the “problem”, I wasn't allowed to see her. Even her family snubbed me without ever knowing the real truth. There was nothing I could do. A few weeks later I went by the condo. Her car wasn't there and there was a for sale sign in the window. I looked in the windows and the place was empty. She had moved away and that was that.

A few months later … I was awakened, at 7 am on a Sunday WITH a hangover, by a young coworker of mine. I answered the door with gritted teeth and told him “This BETTER be GOOD!”

He had a VHS tape in his hand and reeked of *****. I let him in and he told me that he had stolen this tape from a party he was at because he knew that I would want to see it. I looked at the label as I loaded it into my VCR and could tell by the title that it was a **** tape. I rolled my eyes, turned on the TV and plopped on the couch to humor him. The video opened with a big, white Cadillac convertible going down a wide, palm-lined Hollywood/L.A. Street. There was a football- player-sized black man driving and a beautiful girl with dark red lips, over-sized sunglasses and a silk scarf on her head riding along.

I didn't recognize her at all.

But in the next scene, she had removed the glasses and scarf … it was her … she was blowing him … and on both her hands … were finger-less, lace gloves. I jumped up and ejected the tape. He said “Sorry, Dude … I just figured you would want to know … don't hate the messenger.”

I assured him that I wasn't mad. I asked him to just go and even thanked him so that he wouldn't feel I was angry with him. I asked him to never tell anyone and he never did. I went in the kitchen and destroyed the tape with my bare hands, cramming it all into the bin and cutting myself in the process. There was blood all over the counter, fridge and floor. I cleaned up myself and just went for the **** and my water bed. My roomy woke me up several hours later, a bit upset, and asking about the blood. I told him what had happened and he knew it was tearing me up inside.

He said “So sorry to hear that Bro, I know what she meant to you.”

I told him that it was all good and thanked him for his concern. I told him I'd clean up the ****** mess when I got up. When I finally did get out of bed, I saw that he had cleaned up all my blood and he never said a word about that … or her … ever again. Bless his heart.

Day-before-yesterday was her birthday. I got to thinking about her while riding the lawnmower and our conversation about the “biz” came flooding back … I guess that made this poem come to me. I had to stop and come inside to write it, dripping sweat all over the den. Still … I'm glad I did. If just ONE of those girls reads this somewhere, somehow and it makes her open her eyes … then I have accomplished something. Thanks for the read.
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