When Suburbs were born

As I continue to gather my research on why
normal people tend to crinkle their noses
at poetry and what, if anything, can be done
about that, I’m sticking to the plan of having
Poetry Wednesday.

Last Sunday, Mother’s Day, we were prompted
to travel back emotionally to our home towns.


“When Suburbs were born”

Sweet home Chicago, I singeth not
of you but your sprawled tentacles
far-reaching along the Northwestern

rail line, the conductor bellowing for
tickets, his clickers chewing like mad
magpies, snatching prey before the
next stop.

We time our walk to school by these
oil-stench trains. If we pass Baby Park
by 7:54, cross the street to avoid the DOM
(dirty old man,) by 7:56, don’t stop to

gape into the knot holes in the abandoned
barn searching for dead cows by 8:01.

If we bypass the sweet temptations of
the Cake Box, the cigar store with the
swinging saloon doors where we buy
baseball cards with the pink Bazooka
Joe gum inside,

then hurry by Muriel’s where I bought
my first bra, then eyes to the pavement,
our worn shoes scurrying passed

Bar one,
Bar two,
Bar three

where early commuters catch one more
before their chase for their train, slowing
us up as they decide which door to go in.

If we get passed all that by 8:07, we can
reach the station and avoid the three-minute
wait for stops at the crossing gate, and we

can safely trip over the four-rail gravelly
train highway just in time for the red light
at Northwest Highway. This rush of road

that leads the clan of commuter trains into
the big city,

toward Sear’s Tower, and the lions in front of
the Field Museum, Wrigley Field, Comiskey

Mayor Daly,
de dems,
de do’s,
de El,
de Loop,

Navy Pier, Lake Michigan where the fancy
ladies shop along The Magnificent Mile
but we don’t because we live on the south

side of the tracks, the tracks we have to cross
to get to school every day, where we have to
meet up with the fancy north-siders who do.


3 thoughts on “When Suburbs were born

Speak to me of thoughts unspoken.

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