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Poems On / About CHICAGO  7/10/2014 4:43:46 PM
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Marlowe Between the Lions

Imagine reading between the lions?
I mean the two standing stony vigil outside
the Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Avenue.

A novel by Raymond Chandler and paintings by
Edward Hopper are celebrated within -
laconic detective and barren cityscapes
set the theme of big city angst and anomie

I checked through The Big Sleep -
*He sat behind a desk, a middle-aged plump
man with clear blue eyes
He puffed evenly and stared at me level-eyed,
a funny little hard guy
His neat well-kept face looked as if it had been shaved
within the hour
A small man in a big man's world
He looked ready for a fight*

Look closely at Hopper's oils-
*Night Shadows* *Nighthawks*
*Night Windows* *Empty Room*

Then I lit a cigarette and downed a good slug
of booze. The 38 Special nested snugly in its
holster. That night I felt like a big tough guy
ready for a fight within the hour.
Sure, I got big baby blues
and a swinging dick
like Marlowe!
Michael Pruchnicki

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The way home for me was eastbound
on the Northern Pacific from California
riding coach (pillow furnished for a fee)
and reading paperback books -

everything from Robinson Jeffers
'...stones have stood for a thousand years,
and pained thoughts found the honey
of peace in old poems.'

to Denise Levertov's Illustrious Ancestors
'...poems direct as what the birds said,
hard as a floor, sound as a bench,
mysterious as the silence when the tailor
would pause with his needle in the air.'

even the obscure Ray Durem
'...I cannot find those mild and gracious words
to clothe the carnage.'

I got off when the train reached Chicago
a soldier home from the war
Michael Pruchnicki

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a chat with a friend whose name you need not know

well she starts with hello how are you
i say, i am fine how about you?

she is not, perhaps, she has a quarrel
with her boyfriend
and they will soon be married this september
then to be changed this june

is she confused? i ask myself as i type
my messages, she says, maybe,

then we shifted to movies,
wings, chicago, as good as it gets,
the corny titanic, and i recommended

il postino, i tell her, watch it tonight
and you will like neruda
and this postman and this love

how a poet makes love
more open and visible and
to the lips of a seasick man in an island
that does not move with time

slow, and almost forgotten
until, the son of a dead man
who thanked the poet
talks to him

his father gone
but the love still lingers
in the island
where some poems were born
one must love
and be loved and the poems must give the tongue

for that expression.

Read more poems from RIC S. BASTASA >>>



With thoughts provoked, how time swiftly flies

Thoughts and feelings, they all come
Like undaunted memories
When you face them there will
Be lots of hugging and pleasantries
Exchanged, like long lost friends
Meeting in a cafe, some even
Shout with joy, tap some shoulders,
The usual gimmefives, the
Lighter and lighter conversations,
Like how you are doing now,
Where have you been all these
Years, I have seen Rose and Dave
In Chicago, while we were going
For a cruise, and so on and so
Forth, it was still morning, thoughts
Of friends, and long years, so well
Provoked, some coffees do get
Cold, not sipped at all, and you look at
Your watch, it is dark, and
We have done nothing but talk
And get so excited still at all these
Thoughts and feelings, & what we
All used to say, we all miss you
Yes, time swiftly passes us by.

time, time, swiftly flies, and
we still do not have the wings.

Read more poems from RIC S. BASTASA >>>
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Poems On / About CHICAGO