From Whence I Came

The station at LaSalle and Van Buren

The station at LaSalle and Van Buren

This, too, is a compiled re-post of things-I-put-on-Facebook-that-didn’t-belong. 

I’m a Chicagoland native.  I spent the first twenty-seven years of my life in the city and various surrounding suburbs; this is where my roots are.  In that twenty-seventh year, I fell into infatuation with a man from Western Kentucky, and I moved south to be with him.  While the relationship only lasted a few years, I became enmeshed in life down there for about nine.  I started going to school, I carved out a little existence for myself 400 miles from my family.  After nearly a decade, though, I decided to come back.

I had a psych professor once who dropped this gem on us as a class:

“Poetry is like taking a really good shit.  It feels great, but you don’t need to share it with others.”

While I giggled and saw her point, a few years in a writing program swayed me toward the dark side.  I was a fiction concentration.  Admittedly, this is catharsis, but for whatever reason I am keeping these little artifacts of my return.

August 24, 2011 5:41 a.m.

Home

The distance from
here to there.  Every mile
in between
four hundred or fifteen,
the leap
from a warm lover’s bed.

Here.  Not here.  Where
I used to be.  Something
confusing.  The place I keep
finding, leaving.

Where the heart is,
the feet are,
the fire is burning.

July 8, 2011 at 3:22am

I forgot what commuter trains sound like.
I forgot how it feels to ride one north,
to LaSalle Street, to walk up the stairs from the sidewalk
(an act of faith every time, that I remember)
to the Brown Line platform and wait.
And when the next L arrives, I can’t remember much
except
I want a window seat
so I can look out and down while
the train teeters and tilts around the Loop.

After that, we’ll cross the river,
and all I’ll see will be
buildings,
monoliths,
skyscrapers
all lit and glossy.  I hope
the other passengers see something beautiful
from the places they stand and sit.
I pray they’re not so deep in the city
that they never see it from the outside.
This vision is holy.  The conductor
is a black man with braids, whose voice scratches
the name of every stop and gives us all warning:
Sedgwick, this is Sedgwick.  Armitage is next.

I’ll stand up before Belmont, hold tight to something
before the cars all stop and inertia and gravity throw me
forward and down.  My center of gravity will shift
if I want to keep standing, and this much, I remember.

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