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Camille Rose Castillo

Rookie (Chicago, Illinois)

My Chicago


The touch of a warm breeze
Across my face
Through an open window
Shift curtains of lace

As I sit and listen
To the laughter of children
Girls jumping rope
Boys with toy engines

A flood of memories
Rush through my mind
Hop-scotch, Double Dutch
Start to unwind

The classrooms of old
Worn wooden floors
The screeching of chalk
On the blackboard

The old schoolyard songs
We often sang
In the playground
After first bell rang

Saturdays and Sundays
Spent at the park
Laughing and playing
Till well after dark

Raised in a city
Rich in diversity
Surrounded by people
Of every ethnicity

Days as a teen
With groups of friends
Boom boxes roaring
Placed close to our heads

At night we all gathered
In a T- shaped alley
Watched super rats crossing
And kept a tally

Fields of flowers
Lovely green meadows
All but a dream
In Chicagoland ghettos

Downtown, Uptown
North side and South
East side and West
The homeless abound

Lingering on sidewalks
Beneath neon signs
Countless pedestrians
Blindly walk by

Traffic in the city
The movie shows
Bright lights of Chicago
At night aglow

Days of high school
The metro academy
Laces, threads
Patted down anatomy

Gang colors, weapons
Paraphernalia
Big city life
A venture, I tell ya

While Chicagoans go on
With their daily routine
As CTA riders
Browse magazines

Hustlers and hoodlums
Prowl every corner
And wails of sirens
Play over and over

Muting the rumbling
Of Chicago's 'L' trains
While communal brigands
Seek hidden space

On summertime visits
To Millennium Park
Or Buckingham Fountain
A place well marked

A cascade of waters
And medley of colors
Fiercely sparkle
Near structures much taller

By vibrant displays
Of prized architecture
As divine as any
Michelangelo sculpture

Some might call it
A city of ghosts
Haunted by the likes
Of Holmes and Capone

I claim it a city
Of verve and culture
A school of thought
Unlike any other

It's theatre, it's jazz
It's rhythm and blues
It's soaring high
With innovation breakthrough

It's my past, my life
My heart, and my home
It's who I am
It's all the complexities I own.

Camille Rose Castillo 2010

Submitted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Edited: Sunday, June 29, 2014

Topic of this poem: Chicago


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