Joseph S. Pete, 1/13/2020
Current occupation: Reporter
Former occupations: Soldier, janitor
Contact Information: Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist, an Iraq War veteran, an Indiana University graduate, a book reviewer, a frequent guest on Lakeshore Public Radio, and the author of the forthcoming books "Lost Hammond, Indiana" and "100 Things To Do in Gary and Northwest Indiana Before You Die." He was named the poet laureate of Chicago BaconFest, a feat that Geoffrey Chaucer chump never accomplished. His literary work and photography have appeared in As You Were, O-Dark-Thirty, The Grief Diaries, Gravel, Synesthesia Literary Journal, Chicago Literati, Dogzplot, shufPoetry
A Region tattered but tough,
rusting but resilient,
soldiers on every workaday day.
The stalwart clock-puncher in a fading
Union Proud T-shirt always shows up on time
as those raging blast furnaces burn eternally
against that endless churning lakefront.
Refinery effluvium and open hearth miasma
sometimes yield to redolent ethic aromas
escaping through open windows:
cevapi, halupki, ciorba, mici, menudo.
Baking hot asphalt and chain basketball nets
dominate the landscape of brick and grit and grime,
hastily slapped-up tags and plexiglass barriers.
Century-old mason-mortared buildings succumb
to the inevitable rot of time’s relentless onslaught.
Plywood boards occlude gaping gaps
as neighborhood property values plunge.
Lots sit vacant and weed-ridden,
but even on the most barren patch of urban frontier
a wild prairie flower can bloom brightly.