by Tom Montag


Chicago, you sow!
You grunt-nosed, dirt-rooting, broad-shouldered sow
Eating its young,
I cast you out.
You stinking, mud-covered, curl-lipped sow of a city
Eating its young,
I cast you out.

Chicago, I cast out your clotted skyway and tollways and freeways,
I cast out your El
And M and N, O, P.
I cast out your main streets and side streets, your side-shows, your freaks,
Your parking lots, puking places, the punk of every rotten softness.
I cast out your skyscrapers and mudscrapers and underlayment,
Your shopping malls, your great big stores, your middle-sized stores,
I cast out even the mom & pop operations in your ethnic neighborhoods.
I cast out your undertakers.

Chicago, I cast out your great universities and the mediocre ones,
Your hospitals, your nursing homes that smell like
Somebody has pee'd in every corner,
Your rooming houses and rescue missions and even the cardboard boxes.
I cast out the House of Blues and the jazz clubs, the juke joints
And beer joints and clip joints,
The strip clubs and the clubs where the whores keep their clothes on.
I cast out your restaurants, all of them, I'm sorry I have to do that,
You know I love your food. I cast them out.
I cast out your museums, I'm sorry I have to do that, too.
I cast out your crowded skies, your O'Hares and Midways
And even little Meigs Field,
I cast out everyone who flies in and out of them.
I cast out your conventions and street corner conversations,
Your hotels and your motels,
Your B&Bs, your beds in every establishment.
I cast out Oprah.
I cast out your Cubs and White Sox,
Your Bears and Bulls. Who cares any more?
I cast out your factories, the air that makes me choke,
The stink of everything about you.
I cast out your crooked politics and the dirty politicians,
Your reformers and do-gooders, too,
And your civic-minded soccer moms.
I cast out your newspapers and your mayors,
The dailies and the Daleys,
The bearers of bad news, the bad news itself.
I cast out the pressure you put on your citizens and on your visitors,
The pressure you put on all the surrounding countryside -
All those cornfields, gone! Where have they gone to?

Chicago, I cast out the green and blue and brown of you,
The black and white and orange,
Rose, fushia, and auburn, every color in everything of you.
Be gone, Chicago, be gone!
Take your black mark off the green land.
Take your stink and shove and shinola,
And go!

I cast you out, Chicago,
Out from the middle west,
Out from whatever greenness and goodness we have left.
I cast you off our streets, out of our towns, from our farms.
I cast you out of our dreams,
Out of our lives.
Be gone, you dirty broad-shouldered sow eating its young,
Go to slaughter, be gone!
See who weeps for you.

Chicago, be gone. I cast you out.

Originally published at the
Vagabond home page