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Friday, April 17, 2009

OH CHICAGO! Suite White City, Rewrite

Suite White City, Rewrite

Chicago I see you,
Though to be there I must tap root scenes,
Now, very long ago, what I share
Might be more dream, fiction,
Than actual, history event, my life enfolds,
I see it in pictures,
Lake-front parking, a lover’s lane,
Way down at east end of Foster,
The time I and my son’s mother,
A woman who in future becomes my first,
The one, my one and only wife,
From whom, today, I count,
Almost thirty years, divorced.

That fellow came out from within the bushes,
With a great length of metal, gaffing hook,
Then a big overhead swing,
He punctured the hood on my Dad’s Chevrolet,
Brand-new, 1960, four-door, hard-top, white,
And we survived the attack,
Intact, secure behind the doors and car in reverse,
We were lucky, I guess.

That time in the high rise, near North Side,
Where up on the 18th floor, my buddy and I,
That cop, yea, she was fine.
Oh, Chicago, I remember her, what fond delight!

I liked her 9MM slept with us,
(She placed it under the pillow)
And her uniform with its badges,
Leather belt and boots, both when she wore them,
Or when they were thrown, scattered and heaped,
All her garments, I remember well.
They looked good on the rug of the bedroom floor.

Later, in the back seat, police cruiser unit,
I joined the convergence, while she drove
And her partner sat shotgun, chased the culprit,
Down the alleys, fast, 30mph,
Galvanized cans popping, their lids flying like saucers,
Garbage was raining all over the concrete.

Riverview Park, my first high school,
Down the block from the Ferris Wheel,
Reader excuse the free thinking,
I leap here to insight and meaning,
Back to the time my great grandfather,
All the way from LaSalle, came to see the lights,
The white city, magic, and when he returned, home,
Told tales about the city, twenty-years after the Fire.

He, my great grandfather, he returned home,
And when he told the family about alternating current,
How white the city in the middle of the night,
He ignited my grandmother’s lust, she wanted a part,
She sought the grandeur, she sold her soul,
Oh darkness, the narrow, women’s common lot,
The drudgery of hand laundry, the knowledge
She frequently lamented, “Yes, I was born too soon.”

Ironing with implement heated on the stove,
Early to bed, early to arise, the great bore,
Small town life, it was said she bed the devil,
And many claimed she had, when she married
My grandfather, an iterant painter,
Who went from town to town painting church murals,
And following the grand cliché,
He drank his liquor as others might milk from a jar,
And to add to his cocktail’s already heady mix,
The family’s romance says, he had bad habit,
To moistened the stylist between his lips;
And we know, the paint his day had lead for base.

He promised her life, incandescent, a large role
In Illinois history, remember,
The new town rose up from the old, up from ashes,
And was there not real truth,
Behind the story, the Whites, the miracle,
How they had been rescued at Fort Dearborn?

She sought energy, electric, the moment
She wanted city burning, burning bright, resplendent.
Oh, Chicago, it is from you that I have my life!

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