Tag Archives: state street

The Bishop of State Street

The Bishop of State Street has seen more things than you and me
His hard dark eyes are barely contained in their bony sockets
Beads of sweat the size of a baby’s fist get caught in the folds of his nose
And in the deep dark dimples that crease the sides of his face
He keeps his head on a swivel because he doesn’t like surprises

The State Street crowd is changing too quickly and the old ghosts are gone
Younger – harder – faster people push by him but they don’t see him anymore
The rhythm of the change and the rhythm of the night remind him of the trains
The rhythm reminds him of the trains that brought him up here for a better life
The rhythm reminds him of beat of his mother’s heart when she held him home safe

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Christmas Eve in Millennium Park

Santa Works for Chicago Trolley Company

Sit down here a moment, child – I got the scuttle
About what happened on my Christmas Eve shuttle.

I was doing the red route up to the old tower.
That one block of Randolph just seemed like an hour.

The snow just kept falling – it was so unforgiving.
Traffic a cluster – I do this for a living?

The lights along State Street somehow lost their glow.
The huge tree in the plaza obscured the Picasso.

The tip box was full – but it’s not folding money.
That handful of nickels and dimes wasn’t funny.

At the Marshal Field’s stop I shifted it into park.
When I saw something above me piercing the dark.

Just over the band shell – that metallic eye-sore
I saw the red blur and I heard a loud roar.

“Hey kids,” he shouted when he finally touched down
“I’m in kind of hurry. You better gather ’round.”

He kicked the door open and he hit Wrigley Square
His beard caught the snowflakes that whisked through his hair

He reached in and a grabbed a big sack from his trolley
It had all kinds of toys – every plushie and dolly

He set up a crèche with a twist of his wrist
“We wouldn’t have anything if we didn’t have this.”

The children were all giddy – the mothers beguiled
The fathers worked cameras – I just stood there and smiled

He handed a brightly wrapped gift to each child
He turned to leave and the crowd just went wild

“I have to bring joy to the rest of the world
Then get back in time to catch the ‘Gilmore Girls’.”

He flicked the gear shifter – lifted off with a jerk
He pulled on the cord, but the bell didn’t work

I walked back to my trolley – a new lease on life
The ticket on my window wouldn’t get me tonight

So that is the story of Kris Kringle’s visit
I’m glad I was working and I didn’t miss it