Christine at Wilson & Broadway

Photography by Demayne Murphy

On the corner of Wilson and Broadway,
a half-eaten cheeseburger wrapper’s waxy
flaps rage at the crossroad between the rim
of an overflowing garbage can and the wind.
Commuter nostrils singed by the stench
of marijuana and raw sewage contract,
then expand in relish of berbere spices.

Here, too, ascending stairs stained by cigarette
ash and storm water, feet marred much less
by travel than by socioeconomic stagnancy
seek rest in a diner-like setting where tables
are decorated with plastic petunias in fake vases.
A cherry-red Radio Flyer wagon hung high
between tables two and three serves as a reminder
that wheels are best worn-out by steadfastly lifting
the weighty burden of hunger off another’s back.

Here, too, where the sharp clangs of dish-washing
intermingle with the sizzle of beef on a griddle,
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is hummed. Voices
resound against walls splashed the vibrant hues
of a tangerine split in two, golden wheat fields
and succulent pig pink. Heaps of sautéed collard
greens and cornbread comfort empty stomachs
to a persistent, rhythmic clapping to Carry On
My Wayward Son until the acridity of bleached
mops signals a descent of the begrimed stairway.

On the corner of Wilson and Broadway,
atop Uptown Station’s dappled gray peak,
hang partial-wreaths – stone-faced symbols
of evergreen growth – and delusion disguised
as communal prosperity looms over a rain-
drenched ragamuffin, peddling pleas for pennies,
always at arm’s length from its entrance.

Author’s Note: This piece was inspired by the communal disparity I’ve observed at the Chicago intersection at Wilson and Broadway: a new $230 million-dollar red line station and the Inspiration Café, an organization that is dedicated to cooking and serving meals to Uptown’s many homeless or low-income men, women and families, where I regularly volunteer.

On the corner of Wilson and Broadway, a half-eaten cheeseburger wrapper’s waxy flaps rage at the crossroad between the rim of an overflowing garbage can and the wind. Commuter nostrils singed by the stench of marijuana and raw sewage contract, then expand in relish of berbere spices.

Here, too, ascending stairs stained by cigarette ash and storm water, feet marred much less by travel than by socioeconomic stagnancy seek rest in a diner-like setting where tables are decorated with plastic petunias in fake vases. A cherry-red Radio Flyer wagon hung high between tables two and three serves as a reminder that wheels are best worn-out by steadfastly lifting the weighty burden of hunger off another’s back.

Here, too, where the sharp clangs of dish-washing intermingle with the sizzle of beef on a griddle, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is hummed. Voices resound against walls splashed the vibrant hues of a tangerine split in two, golden wheat fields and succulent pig pink. Heaps of sautéed collard greens and cornbread comfort empty stomachs to a persistent, rhythmic clapping to Carry On My Wayward Son until the acridity of bleached mops signals a descent of the begrimed stairway.

On the corner of Wilson and Broadway, atop Uptown Station’s dappled gray peak, hang partial-wreaths – stone-faced symbols of evergreen growth – and delusion disguised as communal prosperity looms over a rain-drenched ragamuffin, peddling pleas for pennies, always at arm’s length from its entrance.

Author’s Note: This piece was inspired by the communal disparity I’ve observed at the Chicago intersection at Wilson and Broadway: a new $230 million-dollar red line station and the Inspiration Café, an organization that is dedicated to cooking and serving meals to Uptown’s many homeless or low-income men, women and families, where I regularly volunteer.

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2019-09-09T20:31:09-05:00April 12th, 2019|