Chicago is a city of many names, the subject of many a poem, the recipient of many a love letter, a character in many a story. Here, these young authors—eighth grade students at St. Thomas the Apostle School in Hyde Park—put their reflections on their hometown into verse. With humor and sincerity they try their hands at distilling the essence of the city and their experience of it, as so many writers before them have. Special thanks to Cecily Fultz for compiling these poems.
By Cassandra Jeffries
A day walking in Chicago
Drive-bys looking into your eyes with shame
Once in a while you might hear a bang
In my neighborhood they hold up L’s
Oh come on sit down no worries
You might see fighting, police cars, or drugs being sold
Did you enjoy your walk in Chicago?
Cubs & Sox
By Shirah Billups
Kinda a funny concept,
When you think about it huh?
How they’re so different
yet so alike.
And none are better or worse than any other
And when it all comes down
like, really comes down,
it doesn’t matter the race,
or the gender.
Cubs are just baby Bears
are as strong as the other
They’ll keep your feet warm.
The Senses of Chicago
By Noah Lewis-Stuart
I see the Sears Tower reaching toward…
I see Lake Michigan clear as crystal
I hear the trains zooming by
I hear the Cubs fans roar as they cheer for their favorite team.
I smell the thick, smoky downtown air
I smell the sweet aroma of caramel popcorn
I taste the gooey soft delicious deep dish pizza
I taste the Chicago-style hot dog grilled to perfection.
I feel the frosty cold winter nights
And the blazing hot summer days
I feel the cool and refreshing evening breeze.
Forever my home.
The Beautiful Darkness
By Alton Brooks III
A tree with branches that expand out
With a trunk made of steel,
these are ways Chicago is imagined.
It’s a beautiful place don’t get me wrong
With all sorts of people whose origins are different
And is explained in many different songs.
But, in that beautiful place lies a dark, rude territory
The alleys and backstreets is where the real “fun” begins
They’re full of twists and turns with smoking grounds.
The deeper you go,
the more the lights flicker.
Until you reach a stop,
and everything is dark,
and in an instant,
you vanish into the night.