Eleanor / Annmarie O'Connell
dancing girl press, 2015
Annmarie O'Connell is a lifelong resident of the south side of Chicago. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Verse Daily, Slipstream, SOFTBLOW, Vinyl Poetry, Curbside Splendor, Escape Into Life, 2River View and many other wonderful journals. Her first chapbook, Her Last Cup of Light, was published by Aldrich Press. Her first full length collection of poems, Your Immaculate Heart, will be published this year by Trio House Press. She currently serves as a poetry editor for Extract(s) .
The city isn’t a skyline
"Chicago ain't nothin' but a blues band." -Sunnyland Slim
If you’re lucky, the city is your Mama
chasing down the freight train rolling
over your body. If not,
it’s Loretta in the back-
room piano West side soul
Magic Sam calls it music to strip.
Call it Gentlemen Jim’s and The Pit.
Loretta really wants to get out
of the animal city. She is a half price
booty dilemma you can’t ignore. Weigh it
into the performance,
her thin alligator face doin’ it right
now. The men tell her
they summer in Cambridge
and France with five hundred cameras,
with saxophones and trumpets
they don’t know
how to use Loretta is an independent scholar
with novel theories on Hot Jazz
and Fist Wars. When she dies
no one claims her. Her body sits in
the county morgue then goes
unmarked in a wooden box.
Loretta is thousands
of nameless bodies speaking one
central heart beating
deep down in the vicious