Poem: Walking in Chicago

My God, I love the windy city. If there is a heartland city in America it is surely Chicago.

Walking in Chicago

Walking west on Chicago from Michigan,
two dollars in my pocket, lost in thought
Black man asks  for change, gets the two bucks
In Chicago, broke is mostly black
Not my last two bucks, ‘cause I’m not broke
There’s some money in the bank, not much
Wasn’t hard to give to make myself feel good,
not like sharing all I had, not going hungry

Couple blocks west, two more stop and ask
The last two took it all, I said
Robbed you? Shit, man, who?
Worried for me and gonna help
No, just gave them my last two bucks
I hugged the nearest, told him
I was sorry, he hugged back
In shock, our eyes met, just an instant

Both full of tears, mine because I loved him
And his because he recognized the love
A moment, freeze-frame in my mind and his,
an embarrassment, snagged and tangled,
caught unaware in my humanity
Frozen in my mind, I know I’ll see his face,
feel his humid hug, see those tears for life
Perhaps he’ll see them too

We’re all so hungry for each other’s
touch and understanding,
driven away from holding on
Not knowing it’s all that’s left of you and me
Running, always running, chased
by fear of what and who we still may be,
what others see in us and yet so close
to one another, under all that stink of fear
Poetry Collection: Broken Pieces
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman's
poetry collection
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