3740 North Clark

I am stuck between Sweatro and Gingerman,
stuck out by the dumpsters, piss, and toothed butts,
scrubbing concrete for roaches, hands stung
out with brown shards of Michelob bottles
between shots and lines.

I am stuck in the batlamp, stuck in the felt,
stacked like quarters by the rail, waiting my turn
at the game, my turn at the trough,
hailing drinks like cabs, two fingered,
absolute and limed.

There was a girl there once,
square-shouldered, brass-railed
and flickering. There was an eye
to an eye, a mocked dissection – yes,
a cutting – a splendid humbled nothing.

Yes, those nights bled fast,
slumped down to Campeche,
burrowed into beans and red rice.
Yes, before the fogs wore off,
before the graystones went gray,
before the foilman don’t like that,
out there in the dumpsters,
where I found a roach,
scarred my lip, spread glass,
spread lies and conjured a time
high in the weed of discard,
high in a nothing called mine.

Image: Carla Oliveira on Unsplash

16 Thoughts

      1. I have fond memories of living and working in Chicago back in ’86 ’87. Had friends in this neighbourhood. Used to enjoy chatting with the DJ’s in The Wild Hare & Singing Armadillo Frog Sanctuary which used to be at 3530 N. Clark. How could I not like this poem?!

  1. It’s possible but to be honest I can’t recall seeing anyone stuck out by the dumpsters, piss, and toothed butts,
    scrubbing concrete for roaches – but then again it was over 30 years ago! Jeez that makes me feel old! Looking forward to reading more of your work Devon.

  2. I will say Colin, Devon’s lush journeying does bring back your own wonderful poems to me and I for one mourn your absence. Another authentic piece of USA slightly alien to us home counties’ chappies but forever fascinating.

      1. This may be a stretch or a wish, but Colin writes about Wyoming, and once I ran into a guy on the red roads of that state back in ’94. Stuck in road construction, this guy steps out of his car, points at my sweatshirt (Exit, a little known punk club down on Wells Ave.), and says, “I gotta friend with the same sweatshirt.” Now, I wonder. D

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