there’s a can of water by my bedside
remember when the earth carved out a place for us?
remember cartoons and cereal and superhero underwear
and skinny brown legs and double dutch and
passing notes and i don’t know what home is.
mostly people want to see the portraits of the Obamas.
directions to their locations perch on the lips
of the women at the front desk before i even reach them.
i go up the marble stairs.
i give Andrew Jackson the finger and
wish it could actually change anything.
above the hall of presidents, i imagine a banner:
Once a year, South Side Weekly reserves an entire issue to celebrate all things Lit. Poetry, fiction, essay, even comics are included in the offerings. Submissions pour in from across the city and beyond, with each writer hoping for their work to make the cut. What is the mark of a fine piece of literature selected for publication? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly, but it has that special something that captures the particular flavor that is South Side and our editors know it when they read it. We read, re-read, vote blindly, then vote again, and again to select what we all agree are works that speak to what is South Side, by way of literature. This is no easy task. We wish we could publish much more than we can but we have a strict page limit to follow or we would never finish editing this much loved and waited for issue every year.
I sat on the floor with my back leaning against mommy’s knees while she pulled the comb through my hair. Each time she pulled the comb, she pulled my head back towards her. ‘Ouch, it hurts’, I said. I could tell that she wasn’t listening; I could almost feel her thoughts flying backward over both of our heads. I tried to look up at her without moving my head. “Still!” Her chin was up and her eyes looked towards the ceiling and I wondered what was she thinking about?
There’s a white crowd the size of a riot on Clark Street. Pale, red, sweaty bodies sway through the streets pumping fists, screaming the names of those lost from their group. Carmen is a dark speck in the loud crowd of people dressed in white and blue. She feels out of place, covered from head to toe in dark colors, wearing a faded Korn shirt, wide-leg jeans, black k-swiss shoes; standing still taking in the scene of people obviously drunk and—whiffs the smoke—freely smoking weed.
That’s green that speaks in me alone and last, for you and first of all
That’s trimmed, translated, bridged which makes us weak
With you the time comes slow or not at all
Holds fast our hands when summer turns to fall
The day it happened, I couldn’t buy respite in my home with two articles due, essays to grade, kids to shuttle, and a mountain of clothes to wash. I sequestered myself in the bathroom. While seated on the toilet, I discovered I was the second choice for a coveted newswriting position, according to the letter that attempted to tidy up rejection on an upswing. “If he can’t…then you…” Meanwhile, my daughter banged on the door, alerting me to an urgent call. It was my husband informing me I needed to add picking up the kids from their summer activities.