Saturday, November 5, 2011


the tenements i lived in all looked the same
skeletal remains of crumbling stairs
painted in greasy, battleship gray
hiding years of neglect
and inside were the sounds of arguments
of paychecks mispent at delorto's bar on 63rd street
of affairs with local trollops
of dreams unrealized or untried for
the heat of the summer
the freeze of the winter
the barren backyards sprouting weeds
and dirt rising from my feet
as i kicked an abused ball
me of skinned knees
and dirty face
with a full head of hair on my head
blonde, tan, young, and full of expectations
not knowing we were poor
eating plenty of noodles
not much meat
never any extras
sleeping in one room with my brother and sister
the dreams of youth we shared
thinking we were kings of the world
the innocence of it all
not knowing the dread to come
on urban streets
where we would join the cast
and play our parts
in the horror show
of the late 50's in chicago
but it made us street smart
aching for our breaks
as the more-well-off got lazy
and two of us knew success
and one commited suicide
and all became alcoholic
just like our father and our uncles
because the urban streets
were only palatable
on a seat in delorto's bar
on 63rd street

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