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Poems On / About CHICAGO  12/19/2014 7:32:48 AM
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Best Poems About / On CHICAGO
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Snowy Owl - Lincoln Park Zoo

Call me one happy snowy owl,
Outside at the Lincoln Park Zoo,
As arctic sub zero winds howl,
Freezing Chicago through and through.
Perched on high in my habitat,
Warm in my snowy feathered cloak.
The lack of humans, I muse that
'Tis time for how cold is it joke.
'Too cold, too cold, ' humans complain.
'It is so cold, ' humans do shout.
And these words form an icy chain.
Each such complaint must be thawed out.

Come visit me when super cold.
Stop complaining - be super bold.
Ima Ryma

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Evening, Just Before Twilight

forty miles west of Chicago,
in a frozen field.
Snow spirits appear and disappear
as the North Wind howls
at the winter moon.
I light a cigar
and wish for a shot of tequila,
wish it were summer,
and I was pulling up
to the Baptist Mission in Texas
where my old man spoke the word
and the choir sang,
when I believed in tongues,
in heavenly utterances,
and the Holy Ghost was immense power
seething within,
and you the sacred vessel
I poured myself into.

My thoughts are of a time
when wind surfed the treetops
and apple blossoms swirled down
on an insouciant world and covered two beings
in its mystical cloak,
when I pressed you against earth
as it spun and traveled
around a star that moved
through space and time
to a point
that exalted you
and love
sacrificed self.

I wrap myself in a season
when I walked into the hullabaloo
of a day,
into the bell
of a lost Sunday,
when tulips were a lover's bed
and wild violets were a bouquet
arranged for you.
I remember a ruckus,
a riot
in my heart,
a hooligan love,
a rapture.

I recall
a time
as the North Wind howls
at the winter moon,
and the Big Dipper pours
into evening sky -

my thoughts are of you
as I follow the North Star home,
a thousand stars
lighting the way.
Esteban Arellano

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A Place With No Name

“They tell me you are wicked and I believe them…”
— Carl Sandburg, “Chicago”

This is place with no name,
an imagined ideal, nostalgia
wearing bib overalls, chewing
grass stems, herding cattle,
shearing creamy black-faced
lambs. We carry buckets full
of myths and great expectations.

She hungers for the flavor of buffalo, longs for fresh bones, cougar tracks, wolf dens, the scorch of rapid flames escorting one season into the next, total exchange of life for life, of death for hope.
This is neither fairytale nor ancient pastoral, neither romanticism nor barefoot babes—It is Kinsella’s antipastoral in America.
It is coyotes and coydogs lurking behind walls of fiery thistle, luring pups through horseweeds to razor sharp traps with whimpers and pledges of friendship.

I have seen the earth swallow her own children.
I have seen the sun drink until there was nothing left for the land, until the sunflowers hung their heads in shame and wept dry black tears.

I hear nightly incantations of this place, it howls sober songs—I hear the hollow sounds of owls that warn, the cry of cold winds that begin and end every year—
The indifferent frogs chorus through lightening and spring snow—they think only of their children.
I feel her opening up to swallow again—she baits the trap with illusions of splendor, with promises she will not keep—her hunger never satisfied.
She is my grandmother, my mother, your mother, our sister, the apparition from whom we can hide no better than the prince of Denmark. She speaks in a strange language. We lean in to listen—the bait.

This place still has no name.
The nostalgia rusts.
No one wears overalls anymore.
You must know what the owl means.

The old children throw their weapons to the surface in the wake of silver blades, in the bed of that ash which still remains, in the bed where life meets itself—the old women break their dishes against her surface.
The new children cast themselves into her arms—momentarily quench her thirst with tears—they wait for her to yawn.
Cattle are raised in muddy lots. Pigs never see the grass, never the sun, just grated floors and the pretentious hands that mock her grace.

I have seen the red of factories flow through creeks into ponds and wells. I have seen them celebrate their victories and she will not call out to them—she rejects their bitterness. They are sleeping pills, bad drugs.
I see a dead thing on the road. I know the ringed tail, the hoofed leg, the long snout, the white-gray fur, the domestication gone wrong. The vulture is grateful for our mistakes.

The indifferent frogs sing.
Still. The grass has cancer.
We only think of lambs on Easter.
These buckets are getting too heavy.
I cannot tell a lie.

I killed the tree, used it for books that I bought and never read, used it for walls I take for granted, for heat I could have lived without.
I ate the pig, fed the cattle to my children—we used their bodies for shoes, hats, manufactured food for feral cats and roaming hounds.
I leaned in to hear her faint voice whisper. I tried to kiss her, pulled away when she drew me near, stretched toward her again to hear a family secret.
I fed the vultures a skunk, a raccoon, an armadillo, and two cats that I threw into her long weeds.

I chew her poisonous stems, flirt with her cancer, taunt and dare it, engage it in a war where there can be no victor but her, in a battle I expect to win.

We carry buckets full of
myths and great expectations.
An imagined ideal, nostalgia
wearing bib overalls, chewing
grass stems, herding cattle,
shearing creamy black-faced lambs.
This is place with no name.
Jane L. Carman

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O'Leary, from Chicago, and a first-class fightin' man,
For his father was from Kerry, where the gentle art began:
Sergeant Dennis P. O'Leary, from somewhere on Archie Road,
Dodgin' shells and smellin' powder while the battle ebbed and flowed.

And the captain says: 'O'Leary, from your fightin' company
Pick a dozen fightin' Yankees and come skirmishin' with me;
Pick a dozen fightin' devils, and I know it's you who can.'
And O'Leary, he saluted like a first-class fightin' man.

O'Leary's eye was piercin' and O'Leary's voice was clear:
'Dimitri Georgoupoulos!' And Dimitri answered 'Here!'
Then 'Vladimir Slaminsky! Step three paces to the front,
For we're wantin' you to join us in a little Heinie hunt!'

'Garibaldi Ravioli!' Garibaldi was to share;
And 'Ole Axel Kettleson!' and 'Thomas Scalp-the-Bear!'
Who was Choctaw by inheritance, bred in the blood and bones,
But set down in army records by the name of Thomas Jones.

'Van Winkle Schuyler Stuyvesant!' Van Winkle was a bud
From the ancient tree of Stuyvesant and had it in his blood;
'Don Miguel de Colombo!' Don Miguel's next of kin
Were across the Rio Grande when Don Miguel went in.

'Ulysses Grant O'Sheridan!' Ulysses' sire, you see,
Had been at Appomattox near the famous apple-tree;
And 'Patrick Michael Casey!' Patrick Michael, you can tell,
Was a fightin' man by nature with three fightin' names as well.

'Joe Wheeler Lee!' And Joseph had a pair of fightin' eyes;
And his granddad was a Johnny, as perhaps you might surmise;
Then 'Robert Bruce MacPherson!' And the Yankee squad was done
With 'Isaac Abie Cohen!' once a lightweight champion.

Then O'Leary paced 'em forward and, says he: 'You Yanks, fall in!'
And he marched 'em to the captain. 'Let the skirmishin' begin.'
Says he, 'The Yanks are comin', and you beat 'em if you can!'
And saluted like a soldier and first-class fightin' man!
James W Foley

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Poems On / About CHICAGO