Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers. Episode #74. Nate Marshall. Jennifer Klonsky. Alderman Ricardo Muñoz.

 

From Episode #74 of Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers podcast.

When I Say Chicago

– Nate Marshall

capital city of the flyover.
crown jewel of the jailhouse.
a town in love with its own blood,
a blood browned on its own history & funk.
this hometown of the riot & the riot gear,
the gang & the loitering law.
misfit blocks of dark skinned cousins &
thick knuckled Slavic uncles
who call each other their worst names.

what this country know about a rustbelt
dipped in salt & vinegar & sold as
marked up & rustic?

my city is the city.
not your close enough suburbs not
subject to the suppression of tape
& the tapping of phones.
how can you say anything about our blocks
& schools & children that you refuse to see.
you do not govern what you do not love.

when i say Chicago
i mean that first Haitian cat who could pronounce it right.
i don’t mean the fresh out of undergrad looking for adventure
& a consulting job.

when i say Chicago
i mean the stopped & frisked.
i mean the euphemism of frisk.
i mean the beat down & tight cuff.
i mean the drop off in Bridgeport
or Mount Greenwood.
i mean the lessons
taught to an uppity one.

when i say Chicago
i mean the lake
(& i mean all of it).
i mean the candy lady at Rainbow
& the paleta man at Calumet
& the kids careening across the green at Montrose
& the jogger in midwinter daring a death for fitness.

when i say Chicago
i mean Cabrini & Stateway & Ickes & Ida.
i mean the city i’ll tell my kids in the past tense.
i mean the rents that sometimes
make me mean Georgia or Indiana or Dolton.

when i say Chicago
I mean the restaurants with no chairs,
just a window & a bulletproof sneeze guard.
i mean a Michelin star for all the ethnics slanging
their seasoned meats & language.

when i say Chicago
i mean my mama’s house
that was my grandma’s house.
i mean the neighborhood
that was our neighborhood
because fear left
& we said:
we’ll make a home here
& we’ll stay.

 

The Mouth of the Snake
Song lyrics, Jennifer Klonsky
when i swam
from the mouth of the shark
i did not know 
of the monsters at the border
well the river was deep
and the desert was dark
they put me in a cage
and they stole my daughter
i had no choice
to leave my home
i could no longer stay
there was no shelter anywhere
death closing in each day
in the middle of the night 
a knocking at the door
the voice came from the ashes
no home for you, no more
for six long weeks i traveled north
my daughter in my arms
i promised her we’d soon be safe
protect her from any harm
not proud of everything i did
some things I’ll never tell
but for my precious daughter
i would gladly walk through hell
so i ran
across the burning sand
along the mountain’s edge
across the boiling water
well the river was deep
and the desert was dark
they put me in a cage
and they stole my daughter
I sit here on a concrete floor 
I’m broken and alone
my family’s gone, my baby girl
and i have got no home
she knows i can’t protect her
no idea where she could be
they say they’re going to send me back
no shelter here for me
when i swam
from the mouth of the shark
i did not know 
of the monsters at the border
well the river was deep
and the desert was dark
they put me in a cage
and they stole my daughter

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