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Poetry: Satan in Chicago

Satan in Chicago

Jesus may have just left Chicago
but Satan is still there, roaming
the wind-swept corridors of the
city with the swiftness of a joke
and the raspy cackle to prove it.

He lit the match in 1871 then rode
the rails to Mississippi and back
where he still plays the final set
in some seedy South Side club to
the clang of a long-gone factory and
the whoosh of an empty midnight “L”.

Satan haunts the third-base line
at Wrigley Field, waits backstage
with a drink for every failed actor,
whispers in the ears of all the
trembling souls at the top of the
Sears Tower, offering words of
dubious encouragement.

He was on the floor of Sinclair’s
jungle, a cog in Daley’s urban
machine, on both sides of the
line in ’68, placard in one hand
and a nightstick in the other,
creating history with innuendo
and blood.

Jesus may have just left Chicago
but Satan still makes the rounds
in the ghost of Al Capone, in the
steps of Richard Speck, but all
is not lost for the coarse and
strong and cunning of Sandburg’s
poem, nothing can be lost with
the husky, brawling laughter
of the place sounding in perpetuity
over the restless shores of a
rowdy Lake Michigan swell.

eric evans

how to get your poetry in artvoice

Literary Buffalo occasionally features poetry by local writers. The poetry editor is Florine Melnyk. Submissions of no more than five poems and no more than 10 pages in length can be sent by e-mail to or by mail to Florine Melnyk, Poetry Editor, Artvoice, 810 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14202 Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope to have manuscripts returned.

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