Posts tagged ‘chicago poetry’

January 4, 2011

a poem for no reason

by jhon baker

the old camera shop

I’ll never forget the furling flags
above fire escapes
outside the walk-ups
     of downtown Chicago.

it was on S. Wabash near the 623
     S. Wabash Columbia College building.
an old camera shop
across the street,

now gone, replaced by a warehouse liquors.
and other signs of
progress washing over
     my city, —

KFC
Subway
Pizza Hut
Dunkin Donuts
Baskin Robbins
open 24 hours
and a Tamarind
for the hip in the South Loop

but I’ll never forget the flags, furling,
above fire escapes 
outside the walk-ups
     of downtown Chicago.

– Hoc Scripsi

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July 13, 2010

poem for Chicago

by jhon baker

    for Carl, of course

I was gong to write about
my city,
barely to the east
an obstruction between Elgin
and the lake
but what is to capture that
Carl did not
still the cunning, devious
and proud mother, it is
still wicked, cruel and
brutal.
beautiful, but
no longer the hog butcher,
tool maker, or
stacker of wheat/
still having glad
handed politicians
painted women
and free killers.
tho, it’s beautiful
and the people who
bent and bend so far
twisted so much
now nearly inhuman
standing erect and/or
collapsed neatly street side
or on park benches
they are the true
beauty of the city,
reflected against the
far reaches of glass
buildings or deeper
through the broken
windows of public housing.
so , sorry Carl, your
poem is still neatly perfect,
it still is as we see
our city,
proud, tall with incredible
weight on our ever broadening
shoulders.
as a side note to Nelson,
if you be in Heaven with Carl,
yes yes yes, we are
still on the make.

 – Hoc Scripsi

July 9, 2010

I load my 30.06 to board the downtown train

by jhon baker

                             dedicated to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley

I load my thirty aught six to board the downtown train
walking invisible between the rows of seats unavailable to me
I load my thirty aught six to board the downtown train
ancient conductor asks for the ticket and punches it without a wink
I load my thirty aught six to board the downtown train
heading towards the art museums to view and mentally remark on
Van Gogh, Kline, Man Ray, Adam Brooks, Lichenstein,  James Roy, and others
I load my thirty aught six to board the downtown train
passing station after station, people herding on, off and back again
they are all the same as I am the same
never looking out or in to see occupation, feet or briefcases
I load my thirty aught six to board the downtown train
passing abandoned buildings, many more now, with squatters
looking  and ducking, smoking pot and never hurting anyone
hanging out on fire escapes where the American Flag still flies
I load my thirty aught six to board the downtown train
streets  filled with one way signs and homeless with distended bellies,
hungry stomachs, dirty fingernails asking for a quarter
and being obliged without notice to their clothes or faces
I load my thirty aught six to board the downtown train
thinking of Sandberg, Algren, Brooks, Rodgers
Stryk, Dickensen and others who have come before me
I load my thirty aught six to board the downtown train
MOMA, MCA, Art Institute, holocaust Museum, Museum of painted glass
artists individual studios open to whomever come who may
offering wiskey, raw whores, coffee and conversation
I load my thirty aught six to board the downtown train
policemen looking everywhere, looking nowhere, looking for
bearded men, homeless beggars, flower salesman and business girls
with tight skirts and blazers low cut displaying breasts and lockets
I load my thirty aught six to board the downtown train

 – Hoc Scripsi

This is the first part of a much longer poem that I’ve been working on for awhile. I think that this is about finished and the second part is getting there as well. I have decided to dedicate it to the Chicago City Mayor for reasons that are nationally known. I can illuminate if needed.
Some of the names, I am not sure how known these people are outside Chicago and a few I have chanced to know personally – how personally is up for debate.
I can only hope that this poem is read when I am finished with it – this one is close to the vest, It may be my Howl, who knows.
 – J.

April 11, 2010

Sunday, for a change

by jhon baker

Sunday,
for a change I am not writing about a death,
if one has happened I am unaware of it.

Early Morning – Chicago

I have trouble recognizing
     daffodils on mornings
     full of river hyacinth;
or rusted wheel barrows
     with flattened tires
 on mornings of daffodils.

 – Hoc Scripsi

February 3, 2010

this self

by jhon baker

I seek a world not tainted by
philosophy
not held by mans ambition.
I seek a world free
of delusion and description,
and of this self.

– J.

The poem posted yesterday got summarily rejected by an online journal upstart on it’s sixth issue. Not one to get upset by such things I was unmoved until I read the work that beat me out. One poet stood out, the rest are already forgotten. The stand out was Emily Kendall Frey, compelling work and can see why her work beat out my own.
As I also noted yesterday it was no longer a first run so I would have had to pull it from consideration had I remembered I submitted it.

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