Building A New Chicago

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,

belly, toes

the deep south side

the Chinatown bars

photobooths, soul food, hipster music

and politics

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

yet knowing

it can never love me.”

-Jessie Lynn McMains (Rust Belt Jessie), "Building A New Chicago"

#rustbeltjessie #jessielynnmcmains #mywriting #poetry #indielit #chicago #memory #nostalgia #ghosts

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