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Saturday, September 26, 2020


 by Paul Smith

In Chicago, 558 people have been killed this year. That is 158 more than 2019. (Data and graphic through Tuesday, September 22 from Chicago Tribune)

We like to think
we are safe up here
away from the rising waters
to our south
when the winds blow really hard
and the seas get angry
we watch our brothers and sisters perish
on the news
glad we’re not among them
and far to the west
where our mountains meet the sea
fires burn out of control
houses blaze till they are skeletons
our brothers and sisters
suffocate and go up in smoke
whatever twinge of sympathy ignites in us
is escorted by the comfort provided by
the distance of a thousand miles
but something else new is going on
almost a natural phenomenon
that excites all our senses
here in Englewood and Austin
bright flashes in the brown light of evening
the smell of gunpowder
the sharp crack of weaponry
the wail of raging sirens
the chill of flesh going limp
without a pulse
mothers cry
brothers and sisters
get strapped to gurneys
so ongoing and constant
it makes you think of the Devonian
the Pleistocene
the Reconstruction

Paul Smith is a civil engineer who has worked in the construction racket for many years. He has traveled all over the place and met lots of people. Some have enriched his life. Others made him wish he or they were all dead. He likes writing poetry and fiction. He also likes Newcastle Brown Ale. If you see him, buy him one. His poetry and fiction have been published in Convergence, Packingtown Review, Literary Orphans, TheNewVerse.News, and other lit mags.