Tag Archives: school

The Dream Factory Out on Route 158

They cleaned each blackboard in the dream factory out on Route 158
Before they began to rip down the walls that protected the dreamers
The wrecking ball released generations of struggles and triumphs
Into the cold clear Kenosha air across the Italian club on Route 158

There aren’t many children around here any more
There aren’t many children – they followed the money

There was still so much more to say but there is no place to say it
So many words and numbers and ideas and thoughts to be given breath
Now laughter and tears echo through the crumbling cement and rusted rebar

The dream factory sighs cement dust relief
Every time the wrecking ball slams into its vulnerable side

No one was here to witness the end of the dream factory
No one was here to witness the end of where it all began
For decades of curious Wisconsin children

At least someone took the time to clean the blackboards

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This Property Was Condemned

The city street rolls up behind me as I head south on Kimball Avenue
The rolling pavement swallows up the San Juan Grocery and Amigo Foods
Crossing North Avenue southbound – Kimball turns into Homan Avenue
The complexion of the faces changes but the geography is generally unaltered
The broken glass in the second story window won’t protect the grimy Christmas lights
They still hang where they were last year before this property was condemned
Just up the street from the Dominoe Club: Private! Members Only! the sign reads
Across the street – Garfield Park looks inviting in the crisp cold December air
The Wilhelm Kroentgen Public School south of Madison Street used to nurture dreams
Now it has fallen victim to a bigger schoolyard bully – this one’s name is apathy
The Chicago Board of Education has discarded the old school away like a distant relative
The boarded up windows and the piles of broken glass report this is property condemned
The street unfolds before me as I continue south on Homan Avenue

Come to Chicago; Iraq is Burning

In my country there are always fires
She said without a trace of irony

In my country there is always war
She said in that clipped arrogant way
That only a nine-year old girl born in Chicago can speak

I was born in Iraq but we moved to Jordan when I was two
Maybe it was three – no it was two – I was two years old

Then we moved here to Chicago four years ago

I’m not afraid of fire I have seen it so much
It doesn’t bother me

Later she hugged me hard around my waist
She told me I was glue – we laughed – glue
She made us both feel safe for a minute

For that one May morning moment on Winona Avenue
There were no more fires – great or otherwise
There was no more war – no anger – no hatred

She skipped across the playground
In that graceless way
That only a nine-year old girl from Chicago can skip