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David Hart

''The South Side of Chicago'' by David Hart

''The South Side of Chicago'' by David Hart

The South Side of Chicago
Whence those childhood years were spent
Skip-walking upon grimacing cracked sidewalks
Hastening through filth floored garbage canned
flanked alleyways to-

The forlorn house-windows weeping chrystalline shards-
cascading glass tears
'Property Condemned' blared in scarlet on the door.

'Someone lives there' it was said,
'the man who gathers things from the garbage cans'

The pebble strewn church yard, where, in prickly winter,
scarved boys coerce the bell to toll with swift flung
snowballs catapaulted to a shivering bell tower.

The South Side of Chicago,
The year of the big church fire
That day it did burn and claw
At the hot black night sky.

People gathered, assembled in solemnity
Aghast, huddled and shoving to see
That hallowed place whose torrents
Of Sunday's serenities and dressups
Now would no longer be.

The South Side of Chicago
There, the swill darkened tavern
That nightly gulped down shadow faced spectres
A lad cries out, 'the bar, someone stabbed in the
head, come and see'.
'Not I', I said, 'not a sight I'd care to see',
as an acidic sadness enveloped me.

The boys came together wearing their
jackets and coats-symbols affixed, emblems
proudly donned-so they knew who they were.
'Wanna join? ' 'No thanks', I said, 'Glad to be
just solitary me'.

I watched them, fighting their rivals
With chains, steel pipes and knives
Fearing their bloody deeds.
Content to be alone
Alone and free

The South Side of Chicago
In cramped classrooms scented in
soap and sawdust
Mostly attentive I would be
Amidst tatterly clothed children
-waiting for recess, lunch or
time to go home.

At recess, the garbage men came
And roused a battalion of rats
That scattered pell-mell
Amidst little girl shrieks
and screams
Little boys chortling
Chased those rats frightened
Far away
On the South Side of Chicago

Submitted: Sunday, March 08, 2009

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