Chicago: A Historical & Literary Review

By Randall Horton

chicago: city of ice-cold wind — elbow city of the rectangular block, where bigger thomas choked mary dalton in a drunken stupor on cottage grove, that great avenue divider between the haves & have-nots, where my uncle sydney fled after escaping an alabama chain gang a quarter after midnight &, consequently, cleaved the tennessee river (shackles & all) into another state of freedom. chicago: home of the case pocketknife, the nickel-plated snub nose, the banana-suit wearer, gold tooth & all. they migrated from alabama red dirt, from arkansas cotton fields bowlegged & pigeon-toed, & if you’ve ever resided on the west side, then you might as well been living in lil’ mississippi: natchez, vicksburg, grenada, yazoo city, booneville. chicago: home of the winding el, the circling loop, the midnight cruise down lake shore from hyde park straight to buddy guy’s 
legends; all them blues in one locale. the one-night stands the city gives you — the identity it injects then sucks from your marrow; the lives gunned down. chicago: where gwendolyn brooks scribed In the Mecca featuring 
pepita, our tragic protagonist: assaulted, murdered & forgotten by blue lives matter in ’68 & today nothing has changed. chicago: come sit in the corrupted light. 

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