how chicago was made

chicago was made by made men
made of greasy handshakes
and wandering winks

policies poured out
with whiskeys on tiny tables
in cordoned-off clubs

manipulated in moneys
under heavy hands
sliding dog-eared bills for ear-marked favors

this city was framed
between the lipstick smack of stripteuses
and ham-handed spanks from self-styled bosses

laws tendered in smoky hazes
intended as gimmicks
pitched at preachers to settle scores

arrangements hatched by boys
in boys clubs filled with girls
who shake for the boys who shake down other boys

from the L&L to the 606,
the Liberty Inn to the world’s least tropical Tropicana
pinwheel pasties trade promises with power-brokers

yes, this broad shouldered city,
was birthed in strip clubs
and shouldered by burlesque broads

only as shiny as scuffed rhinestones
flung with gloves into the rafters
a two-dimensional glamorscape with schemes in veins just beneath

with platforms peeled naked as teasers
as beautifully arrogant as each bump, each grind
with all the class and pretense of a Madison Street window

big-assed brass with backaches from stooping for tips
keeping constituents constantly aloft
tilting at windmill tassels

an endless parade of pompous circumstance
and pauper’s applause
wealthy lumps, captains of industry

a counterfeit brain trust blowing their wads of money
on saccharine skins in four inch heels
daubed doxies, losing their shirts willingly