CHICAGO: Blue Sky Above the Freight Yards

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CHICAGO: Blue Sky Above the Freight Yards

Here we are beneath the crushing sky 
with the fathers and grandfathers of gangsters
following in the footsteps of the bright, white men 
who stole everything which wasn't nailed down, 
and they came back for that with crowbars. 

What bird is singing there to the sounds of the tracks, 
the train cars spraying sparks onto the wood and gravel, 
creating the music of steel spinning on steel. 

CHICAGO: Blue Sky Above the Freight Yards

The livestock coming to the city, 
not hoping for an education. 

That stream of blood pouring in 
from the countryside, the farmers wrestling 
with weather, pestilence, the prices leaping 
like locusts from the futures pits, 
the call and answer that is the do-si-do of wealth, 
the sudden swooping down of poverty, 
claws as sharp as the teeth of tigers. 

Roar that engine, roar that furnace, 
roar the crowd as a lightning left 
opens a cut above the eye. 

Blood streaming from the crown of thorns 
of having to make a living. 

Union men and women. Made in America. 

The bosses busted the dream, 
unhitched honor from an honest day of labor. 

Nothing left to make here! Move along. Nothing to make!

American power stacked in containers, 
our potential packed inside metal coffins 
shipped to near and distant shores 
like a nation of unfortunate Jonahs 
regurgitated according to the "will of God," 
the name for a capitalism as innocent 
as a small boy with a stick drumming on brass, 
punching through a window. 

A marching band plays itself off the stage, 
led by baton-twirling majorettes 
sporting five o'clock shadows, 
passing ruined factories too late padlocked 
behind ineffective fences, 
left to an act of nature to clean up, again, 
the many abandoned works of men. 

Rising from the concrete and steel, 
the remnants of our lives chopped into 
grains of sand, into powder as slick 
as the gray moon, its tidal forces 
that history bringing us together and apart, 
until nothing will remain but a thought 
rattling around in the emptiness 
like a note broadcast to the universe, 
representing everything which ever was 
on this planet, a museum of bones.