Chicago, Illinois

Urban oasis wrapped up between a bow of Midwest hospitality
Warm people make the cold brick buildings less grim and grey
I take a bicycle ride venturing away from Old Town
In a direction — some direction
There is no north, south, east or west
No towering mountains or oceans
No land markers I recognize
A man at the post office looks surprised at my question
“Which way do I go to get to the lake?”
Buildings line my peripheral vision
It’s a dark tunnel with walls as tall like sentinels
They’re guarding the inner soft part of the city
Eventually I reach the edge of the edifices
Find a wall of wind and waves
I think I may have biked to California by mistake
Where is the lake?
This is an ocean
Massive waves storm the shores like churned liquid smashing against blender walls
A lone man sits and watches
He tells me not to go to close
“People disappear here ya know.”
Lake Michigan
Chaotic, choppy and sloshing
The Midwest Poseidon whisking the water like breakfast yolks
The wind bitch slaps me into submission
I must walk now — she has defeated me
Forced to retreat away from the water
Finding refuge and shelter below the high walls of the sentinels
Only blasts of wind reaching through the ally ways like fingers
Poking through worn fabric, searching for something inside
Full circle
I feel like I know the city now
It was a great first date
I’m back in Old Town
The tavern is dim and perfect
The walls hold a collection of bizarre visuals
Explicit, sexual, and funny
The center piece above the bar is Mitt Romney
He’s groping himself
He’s in his magic underwear
Irony
I thought I left Utah at some point

— J.M.

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