Tonight I Saw Slam Poetry
And I sat, or rather, stood,
and heard stories of sex, of violence, of mundane bullshit everyday
and I saw a man who I haven’t seen in seven years
and I felt closer to his understanding of the world than I have to most things in Chicago,
I felt the Mitten rushing back,
I stood next to my best friend and felt like she will never understand this part of me,
I felt crushed under the weight of my own inability to separate myself from home,
and listened to a girl talk about fucking in a rolling chair
talk about the taste of cum,
the same girl who had introduced me to Sailor Moon,
who had gone trick-or-treating with me,
listened to the Beatles in her room with me,
asked me over the phone when I told her my Dad was dead,
“How do you want me to react?”
I thought of the people from my hometown,
I thought about how no matter what I do,
I will never be from Chicago,
no matter what my license plate,
life says, I am not from here,
I was born and raised in the subtle, specific differences of the state,
the inarticulable strangeness and sameness,
I will never be able to explain what it is that makes it special, that sets it apart,
but for years to come I can show you on my hand where I grew up,
and hope that you can glimpse the depth in the skin of my palm.
A Study in Bartender Friends
Not bartender friend gave me a watery Manhattan with no smile and one cherry, charged me $8.
Bartender friend remembers my whiskey of choice, three cherries, full pint glass, $6.
It really pays off to hang out at bars every Monday night.