A Portion of the Story of What Happened to Our Neighborhood

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Stockyard trucks rumbled
Up Wentworth Avenue
Across Garfield Boulevard
Down toward the slaughterhouses.
Cows, hogs—they called them livestock,
Penned, crashing in the truck.
We could smell hairy nostril-opening death
In the city that never slept.

Across from us
Bulldozers knocked out buildings
Like a prize fighter knocks out teeth.
For the longest time, unholy ground was all that was left.
Our side of the street stood stunned, in the city that never wept.

Then rabbits came
And snakes into the open field.
We played and dreamed of open spaces, caught rabbits there.
When someone broke into the cage and stole the rabbits
We were bereft
In the city that never slept.

They dug out a hole
In the heart of the city—
A cavern covering half our street. They poured in concrete.
They made the Dan Ryan Expressway.
Cars go by night and day, day and night, where noise keeps
Coming in this city that never sleeps.

Decades. The slow rumble of time.
Chicago should have been used to it.
Blank houses and emptied lots, more people poured out.
A pounding out of losses until we were deaf. Then the thieves
And body counts of children in this city that never weeps.

We cannot record the empty parts of ourselves.
Where memories never were
But were meant to be.
We toss and turn but cannot sleep.
Our eyes burn in this city that cannot bear to weep.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020