summer's almost gone

we got the rails, but they got the goombas?

I spent last weekend wandering aimlessly around Manhattan. People are prettier there than here in Chicago, probably because they actually walk from place to place. Chicagoans are stubborn to the point of obesity when it comes to driving versus taking public transit (13 percent of Chicagoans use it as opposed to 50 percent of New Yorkers). This is most disheartening, as it seems out system is more navigable and inclusive than theirs, but I suppose it's hard to keep your whipped cream Frappucino from spilling whilst being jostled about on the el.

But, really, it seems the beautiful-to-not-so-beautiful quotient between here and there is quite a chasm. Perhaps it's because the better looking ladies in Chicago avert their eyes from any and all contact, thus making themselves seem distant, or at least frigid. But what do I care, I am off the so-called 'market' and we have better food.

my feet show it

This past weekend I read at C.J. Laity's Chicago Poetry Festival. C.J. puts on great events and this is only the latest of several in which I have participated. This particular event is a two-day affair, with the first day being an open-air, "all ages" reading and the second day an "adults-only" shindig at Weeds, complete with free-flowing tequila and rowdy audience participation. I was slated to read at the boozer, which is always fine with me. After all, Charles Dickens used to walk 10 or 20 miles just to get to his favorite boozer.

Day one was a rainy and cold ordeal but folks showed up and toughed it out. Had it been sunny, we may have seen a larger audience, but it was a good show and some of us actually sold a couple books. I sold a chapbook to Susie, who owns the Book Cellar on Lincoln, and one to Wayne Allen Jones, who I could have sworn already had a copy. Wayne looked to be nodding off at the Weeds reading the next day, so I rolled off an impromptu couplet about it and it seemed to garner some laughter. I hope Wayne isn't angry with me. My old friend and co-worker, Brad, showed up there and the two of us and Nyla ordered a round of tequila (Sergio promptly poured us two rounds) right before my 7 minutes. We wound up leaving to get tacos some time before a fistfight supposedly broke out. So much for poets being herb-tea quaffing pacifists. I can't wait for next year's.


an east end ode

I had a friend named Annie waited
tables at the Cage
on Forbes just E. of Murray, autumn
’02 when, burned out on 14 hours
6 days a week after
2 years for a cause in which I once

I’d escape my office to work at NY Times
crosswords w/her & talk shit
about the cord-clad University guys who
drank there weekends, would introduce themselves as
"doctor." She was pretty, bobbed brunette, eyes like lacquered

or coffee, grew up in the South Hills, was the
subject, arguably, of a short story by M.
Chabon years back, his Lawrencian pinings
not yet honed into now-
famous drivel catalogued

even on film. My longings were more
real, I like to think, or at least

tangible. I don’t know. I was still married to politics
& unable to think in the teenage terms
I revert to now when so smitten. We went once

to Homestead thrifting
for winter clothes, the Mon Valley still
splashed in the red-orange and browns of October. The

Steelers won a lot that season & Sundays were all
dollar slices of pizza, Yeungling beer, warm sidewalk
conversation w/strangers & sunset
walks alone on Panther Hollow. A nice place to live, I thought,
if I had the time to. I left my career that

winter, returned to Ohio to wait out my grandmother’s
dying, moved back to Chicago, reunited my band &
attempted poetry, which I’d
made my major yrs. before & now Pittsburgh
is past like that I also
left only to return.


how about a new piece ...

driving poetry

where I go w/this
is only predetermined in my own
knowledge I will get there, but

where? how? when? to

venture mapless only poses
peril when no sense

of road, direction,
destination (ask the old

explorers). This

is what it
is, is always what
it ever
is. Mind

the heavens, your