Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Is Real
What is real is almost
a homeless man running for office
until Midwestern conservatives shake
their heads and their forefingers
spitting as they speak about verifiable
addresses and the illegitimacy of state
if they let such an outlandish thing occur.
But politics are already stolen
or stealthily bought by the highest bidder
the best-looking romantic in the city,
the shiniest cuff links but the cheapest education
the most reputable reputation for the most crooked
state in the union.
The man you lock eyes with
on the way to work each blurry morning
with the blankets piled upon his chest
three different shades of blue to protect
him from the violent Chicago wind
the broken window panes smashed in the street
the puddles at his feet not draining
along Ashland Avenue on the start of a spring morning.
Yes, there is your city official. He knows, already,
about the death of the cityscape the depth
of sadness, the leaps of boredom, hoping
maybe, this next passerby will be a rabbi, a monk,
someone more important than weak-hearted mongers
like yourself and the three people in nice shoes
who just outran you.
He coughs loudly into his elbow
and the sun is shining over a Wrigley billboard
directly onto his forehead, into his doorway haven
onto his pile of shoes, his basket of books,
his youth seeping from his wrinkled upper lip. Children
gone now, to the playground, the next state line,
the shelter, the hospital, the office building, the jail.
But this doorway is promising. It’s been three weeks now,
no policemen waking him with a baton to the skull,
no ice storms, no sleet puddles, no party buses or accidents.
What is real is remapping bus routes
so kids don’t have to cross gang lines
to get to school on time, so they can wear their own clothes
in their own way in their own streets with their heads up.
Real is cow milk in your coffee cup and football players
on your TV; crack house turned condo building thanks to
camera lens atop street lamps. Real is slicing
a drill bit through your thumbnail and riding the train
to the hospital. Real is you’re too late Chicago,
you’ve changed me.

Laura Jo Hess


If you couldn't give me your love, attention or even your friendship
The least you could do
Is give me a box of chocolates
And a long-stemmed rose

Laura Murphy
Board the beast

Post me up and whisper to
my ear of how the wild wooden vessels of yesteryear
have murder on their breath.

And of how they wish to sickly suck
the blood from the curves
bequeathed unto me by
the lapping of the listless lull of history.

Soon I will whisper back of
barnacles and the unchanged beating of
my siren's chest and
how his beard cuts into
the softened flesh of my barrenness.

by Kendra Lea Hull


I , too, wear dead mens' clothes,


           walk in borrowed   shoes.

tom milligan


"I know, Myself" by Jim Joyce
My friends, if in the past weeks I’ve been cruel or disingenuous
It’s only to anticipate pending evils, those attacks against my wellbeing
By the electric man, spring showers, and Lent’s palmy grip.
If the opportunity decides to arrive, I would not deny myself the joy
of kicking one of their vertebra, clouds, or censers “out of joint”
To assure that the softness
             Of my delicate heart
Stays safe for our later enjoyment during these times of violence
Directed against me, my friends.  


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