chicago

i knew Chicago…her streets…boulevards…back-alleys…busted sidewalks…i knew her well…

she was a saint…a thief…a wife…a whore…drinking buddy…mensch… a worker on call…a loud talker… a friend who would never turn on ya’…not for a dollar…nor for a prize…the broad was true…

we walked the lakeshore in moon’s bliss…read books on trains at 3 in the morning as bars spilled into taco joints and 24 hour diners on Clark…and blacks questioned cops and cops questioned blacks and this kid got shot and that guy shot him and crack dens served crackheads and hospitals pronounced the dead and where were you on the night in question…..with my boys playin’ cards and drinkin’ 40’s…I got alibis…

i knew Chicago…i knew that lady who rolled through good and bad without a blush or pause…just the crossing of her legs perched upon a barstool lighting cigarette after cigarette and snappin’fingers to beats…rhythms…and poetry given out in large doses…soul was always ’round the corner…

she moved from Northside to Southside…covered every game …always lookin’ for action…in Polack joints at closing time…Lithuanian pool halls and Yugoslavian church basements…feelin’-up yuppies who’d made their dough for the day…talkin’ smack with spic chicks in Humboldt…running ’round town with the last of the Irish hoods…money made in the day-labor racket….a nigga workin’ for nothin’….some things never change…

saw her over in Jew town…but Jew town ain’t Jew town no more…and the blues ain’t the blues and all that was now went….gone like a ghost in the night…gone…

and the fat-man went south after linin’ his pockets…left Chicago behind…set-up shop in another town…sure ‘nough a poem’ll be written ’bout that too…wait…just wait…

i knew Chicago…I knew her well….where did she go…where did she go….ain’t nobody talkin’….

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