ISO Chicago Accent, Smoker’s Cough
Sometimes Chicago says goodbye with a tire iron, a gallon of gasoline,
and a promise, and I still want it to take me back. I like to dip my
fingertips in the pooled wax of lit candles and peel the paraffin off. I
like to have my hair pulled. I’ve never been hit by a man I wasn’t related
to. I only can walk like a lady in heels when I’m walking away. I feel
relieved when fire trucks stop in front of apartments that aren’t mine.
I like the smell of tobacco when I’m trying to sleep. I was born with
my grandmother’s bad lungs. I can’t chase anything down. Sometimes
I try when I drink too much. I wake up bloody-kneed and alone. In
college I won a prize for best kisser. I quit studying economics to write
poetry. I know how to calculate the Gini coeffcient of a hungry city
but can’t solve anything, not even dinner for one. On my last day in
Chicago, I gave a homeless man a twenty and felt a little better. I’d
like to give you a try, especially if you’ve quit at least one addiction
and still shake out of habit at night. I’d like to feel a little better about
my life. I curse worst in the morning. I’m not sure about love, but I’d
like somebody to make me coffee, maybe bacon and eggs. I’ll give you
everything but a key to my place. I’ll say your name until you wish
you were never given it. Stranger, I can bend into anything but a wife.
Stevie Edwards is a poet, editor, and educator. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Good Grief, was published by Write Bloody in 2012 and subsequently won the Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze in Poetry and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award. Her second book, Humanly, is forthcoming from Small Doggies Press in 2015. She is Editor-in-Chief of Muzzle Magazine and Acquisitions Editor at YesYes Books. She lives in a castle in Ithaca, NY.
Darren C. Demaree is the author of three poetry collections, As We Refer to Our Bodies (2013, 8th House), Temporary Champions (2014, Main Street Rag), and Not For Art For Prayer (2015, 8th House). He is the recipient of three Pushcart Prize nominations and a Best of the Net nomination. He is also a founding editor of Ovenbird Poetry and AltOhio. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.