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In the first place (early Chicago winter) November 9, 2016

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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There was a wind swirling, and I was caught up

and the night surrounded me in a cheesecloth shroud.

It wasn’t like a tornado but like a side street in Chicago’s Loop

when lake wind howls from the bowels of winter

and I am frozen in a place where scarf and gloves don’t matter.

Taking steps are like twenty-pound weights on my ankles

with pants stuck to my legs and coat heavy as cast iron.

All concentration is focused on the next El station

or shelter of a coffee house or deli with hot tea or cider

hoping there’s cinnamon scent hanging thick in the air

as windows fog over knowing they won’t be clear until Spring.

The whole idea of survival of the fittest takes a back seat to survival

by whatever means; whatever it takes to believe in the next breath.

Thinking of a cozy piano bar with a tall drink darts across my memory,

Maybe the Palmer House after hours with its eclectic crowd,

the warmth of that buzz may help me make it to the next corner

and make me reconsider what brought me out into this weather

In the first place –

Teetering in the gale.

In the first place –

Bracing against the cold.

In the first place –

Lacking merit or grace.

As I make my way across the Michigan Avenue bridge

the Chicago River is frozen and its Wendellas are docked.

And the furious wind pushes me from left to right

then back and forth and I wish for a warm seat on the

One-fifty-One Sheridan bus to whisk me off to Union Station

even if I have no need to be there – I have a reason to go.

I begin to feel as old as a buffalo nickel, tarnished and forlorn,

waiting for a kid to pick me up and bury me in his rucksack.

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