by Adam Wojtanek
To The Time Machine
The following collection of poems was written at
the time of Jane
campaign for Mayor of Chicago. Jane Byrne was
elected and became the first female Mayor of a
major metropolitan city of the US. There were
many other changes taking place in the city at
that time too. Chicago is the largest city in the
The State has abolished slavery long before Civil
gave the country such Presidents as Abraham
Illinois has always played an important role in
the implementation of human rights in America. It
was the first State to legalize homosexuality
long before other States did, and played an
important role in the 1960-80s Civil
Rights Movement. The first legally operated gay bar
in the Nation called Gold
also established on Chicago's Near
in 1958. The author hopes the State will set
further examples of civil liberties and continue
to lead the Nation in the future as it did at
some times in the past.
Chicago is also an important music culture center
of the world, and Rush
important American entertainment centers. Old
Town was a great American
folk music revival center for an elite group of the bohemian scene in the 1950s and
1960s. It's also where an illegal backhouse
tavern operated on Wells Street through the
1970-80s. The tavern was called The
Blues Brothers Bar and it was started by John
better known from their 1980 Blues
movie... Other artists such as Mike
star of Wayn's
World and Austin
a Chicago actor from Old Town's Second
City Theatre. Old Town was not just a
neighborhood but a state of mind. And one can
catch a feel of its spirit as it was in the
1960-70s in some of Mike Myers' films.
Chicago is home of many kinds of American Music
such as those represented by the Sunset
and many core American typres of music such as Big
Bands, Jazz, Gospel
Country music (Barn
later called Grand
when it moved to Nashville), Chicago
music, Hip-Hop (called Chi-town), Pitchfork
Media and many
The Author was inspired by that great spirit of
the Windy City and wrote a collection of poems
called Chicago Freeze, which he
dedicates to the great City of Chicago.
Ambassador West Hotel on State
Parkway. Photo by Author 1979
I express my
deepest gratitude to the Chicago Public Library
Information Center staff and The Art Institute of
Chicago for their help, resources and information
needed for the final editing of these works.
cocoonisation of modern man comes from North
American Winters in such high tech centers as
Chicago. The most reminiscent Winters for
Chicagoans are probably those with blizzards. It
was during such a blizzard in 1979 the Author
wrote the Chicago Freeze - a collection of short
poems about Chicago. The poems and most
photographs on this page were found in the
Author's desk. They're like a time machine to the
city's Gold Coast area. Hope you enjoy the ride.
American Poetry Association (Santa Cruz,
California) published poems from this collection
in American Poetry Anthology, 1982 and Hearts
On Fire, 1983 (edited, with introduction,
index, and biographical sketches by John Frost).
off your knees
beaten me yet,
The Sun sets
and marks a statement.
The Moon drops,
and punctuates a sentence.
A New day
begins a new paragraph.
And with each week
a page is written.
a chapter is finished.
And with every year
a volume added
to the series.
We page our books
with every decade,
and when we reach the end
we learn that we cannot edit.
survived the great fire
See it on the Magnificent Mile.
Walk the length of Astor Street
Popular with Chicagoís friends.
Tour the narrow streets of Old Town*
And meet a hippie or an artist there.
Go to the Loop (the El tracks
that go around Chicago's downtown)
and drop by the Art Institute of Chicago.
about Old Town
Prudential Building from The Art Institute of Chicago.
The historical Route 66 started just
behind the Museum
on Lake Shore Drive and Jefferson Boulevard.
We climbed to the top of the Prudential,
It was the tallest building then.
Now its 601 feet
has been surpassed again and again.
After that came The Civic Center,
Today named after Mayor Daley.
The First National Plaza,
with its unique profile, came later,
And it took title of the Tallest fairly.
Standard Oil Building from Art Institute of Chicago
was the Sears Tower,
reaching a whapping 1,450 feet.
The second was Standard Oil.
And John Hancock was the third on the list;
though, its antenna reaches 1,456 feet.
Dedicated to Dennis G.
Why do people
with each year.
Yesterday we were close,
today weíre nowhere near.
Iíve changed much
since those boyhood days.
Yet, those memories I touch
and cherish in many ways.
Baseball games on our street
and biking I remember well,
swimming in the park pool,
and golf at the Woods.
Friends from our block
I miss a lot, you know.
So if you read this,
let me hear fro you.
View of Oak
Street Beach from atop 1400 North Lake
a triangular shaped
golden sandy shore
with concrete ditches,
is popular with bunnies
and week nights too,
pavements of Rush Street
And the local whores too.
Rush and Oak rest by day
to awake at night for you.
View of Rush
and Oak from atop John Hancock Building
Learn and Explore
you been to the Field
or that of ethnic history?
Have you seen the Chicago Art
or the Museum of Science and Industry?
How about the Museum of Contemporary Art,
or the Adler Planetarium?
Donít forget the Lincoln
And the Shedd Aquarium.
Visit their halls,
learn and explore
when you're in Chicago.
Lake Shore Drive on the Gold
Coast. View of North Street Beach.
Poem first published in American
Anthology of American Poetry, 1982.
in Old Town,
on Eugene Street,
by your fireplace
Itís raining now.
to look at
though the window
on Lake Shore Drive
The sounds of
and our chatter.
Just some happy memories
of Winter evenings with you.
Old Town in the 1960s
is the Magnificent Mile.
Youíll find on it the old,
and those that have
not more then a smile.
Chicagoís Michigan Avenue is magnificent
and not just an ordinary mile.
that makes us sneeze;
have a runny nose
So, stay home
and keep warm
until the freeze is gone.
Some poems written at The Butterfly
in Chicago's Old Town
Chicago's Golden Mile
Near North Side
Tiffany and Gucci
on Michigan Ave.
Gucci on Michigan Ave.
Oak Street Boutiques
A boutique staircase
on Oak Street
on Schiller & Astor Streets
on Schiller & Astor Streets
A very fine hotel
on Near North Side
The Whitehall Hotel
on Near North Side
A Near North Side
Percy and I on the corner of Rush and Oak in Chicago,
I met Sen. Percy in my neighborhood. He was in charge of
East European affairs then.
from Chicago Freeze and photos by the
Copyright © 1980 Library of Congress, Washington
All rights reserved by Author.
by Adam Wojtanek
|There are many
songs about Chicago. Some that should not be
Shore Drive by Aliotta,
Haynes & Jeremiah written in 1971 and Chicago -
We can Change The World by Graham
later refers to the 1968
Democratic National Convention in Chicago, when the
Chicago Police stormed anti-Vietnam War
demonstrators with brutal force on orders from
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. Some of the lyrics
in that song refer to the Chicago
trial. The first line of the song refers to Bobby
Seale, a black participent of the Demonstration
and eighth member of the Chicago Seven group. He
was gagged, tied to a chair and later removed
from the trial at its early stage. Thus, the
eight members of the Chicago Seven were Bobby
Seale, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David
Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines
and Lee Weiner. The Yippie Movement - Youth
International Party, a political and more militant
offspring of the Hippie Movement was started in
Chicago during the Chicago Seven trial. Please
visit the Yippie
Greenwich Village in New York City for more
Park, Chicago. Photo by Author 1969
The idea of roadside
attractions began on Route 66
Get your kicks on Route 66
by Adam Wojtanek
The Chicago River
in downtown Chicago
on Michigan Avenue
and The Sears Tower
The Sears Tower
Arial view of
Standard Oil Building
Sandburg Village -
a residential complex
Gold Coast residents
Sunny weekend on
North Street beach
Panorama of Chicago
in the Windy City
On a Chicago beach
The City of