from the train window I saw the old me and my friends
who are ghosts. this is the haunting season
come devour me, ghouls.
then stepping out of the station, the cold wind like ghoul’s
teeth nipping, whipping
my bottle-red hair around my face so when I went to light
a nasty habit
I almost set myself on fire.
and whiskey burning from my flask down into my throat,
the deep south side
the Chinatown bars
photobooths, soul food, hipster music
the politics of fuck Rahm Emanuel, I don’t want to
Build a New Chicago, I want the old one back.
the politics of broken hearts.
we found a park
statues of stern men with fantasy novel names watched us
as we walked the gold-lit pathway that led
toward downtown, and the brick circle like a portal.
I wondered, if I lay my tobacco, zines, tallboy, notebook
on the four directions, would it unlock and open
the city of ten, fifteen years ago? all it opened was
the politics of cheap-as-hell burritos.
the politics of walking ‘til your feet hurt.
and I wept, whiskey n’ beer tears for the politics
of not touching.
the politics of staying Up All Nite
wanting to wander the streets but instead lying wide-eyed,
listening to the pitter-pat of rain.
the morning was bleary-eyed, wet-cold, grey.
they couldn’t find a cab for me, the bus kept stopping for shift
switches, road construction, no reason
the city making it hard for me to leave.
I passed by the past, by the old places, old days. the library
with its Gotham gargoyles.
I crossed that burnt bridge, breathed in the dank riverwater and
wafts of dark chocolate from Blommer’s.
a man played saxophone
“If You’re Happy And You Know It”
“The Politics Of I Wish I Had A Drink”
the politics of loving the joint for keeps
it can never love me.”
-Jessie Lynn McMains (Rust Belt Jessie), "Building A New Chicago"