Richard J. Daley Looks Out on the Chicago Skyline from the Roof of the Civic Center, 1966 

The Loop is exhumed and dressed for the dance across
the prairie. Beyond, the good breeds wish to be fattened.

The lake exists in its effect, but it is not urban
nor designed in the manner of jungle patronage. 

One of God’s regular detectives scans The Magnificent Mile
and declares its drama a part of his religion. 

He stares into the den of sellers, into the cut granite cradling
bankers and newspaper editors, into the lifeguard eyes 

patrolling the racial borders. The city as Machine smirks as
it reforms. Every crag of his face hides the dark truth 

of his bookkeeper’s talent, the strange animal
that grazes on honest graft. The Tribune Tower 

leans in to salute, tries to eavesdrop on the precinct captains.
His watchfulness continues, the growth of the Marina Towers 

on his back, masquerading as smokestacks. The man’s ambitions
and drive belch forth their fumes in the hazy shape of O’Hare, 

the future Sears, and the tangled noose of the highway system.
The lucky tumble out of their humble bungalows and mix 

the needed concrete. St. Crook has made no little plans. The clock
on the Wrigley Building marks the increments of a city on the make.

Photo by Rohan Gangopadhyay on Unsplash.

Tim Kahl

Tim Kahl is the author of five books of poems, most recently Omnishambles (Bald Trickster, 2019) and California Sijo (Bald Trickster, 2022). He is also an editor of Clade Song. He builds flutes, plays them, and plays guitars, ukuleles, charangos, and cavaquinhos as well. He currently teaches at California State University, Sacramento, where he sings lieder while walking on campus between classes. Find him on his website, Facebook, or SoundCloud.