Poetry from Tohm Bakelas

steel city

flowers bloom in steel city 
where the allegheny and 
the monongahela rivers
meet to form the ohio 

we walk through 
ghost neighborhoods 
turned into public parks 
where police watch 
my friends and i under 
the approaching noon sun 

no longer a smoking city, 
the mills are razed but
the cancers still linger


 
ukanhavyrfuckincitibak 

the flames from 
the cuyahoga 
still burn more 
than half a 
century 
later

and the ghosts 
cleveland claimed
are still dying
after all 
these 
years—

known names
with snowy faces,
their shadows grow
fainter in the april sun 




 
12 hours to lawrence, ks

4:11am and cold snow 
sprinkles on cleveland,

we drive into the night
where life sleeps and
the highway is empty 

billboards preach religion 
and rest-stop lights
scratch the skyline 

we wait for the sun to rise 
to see the future 


 
we survived i-70

846 miles from 
cleveland to lawrence 
to read at a dive bar that 
cancelled the show without 
telling anyone… met with empty
eyes and confused stares that 
purchase everyone a round 
from the lone man sitting 
at the bar because he 
doesn’t wanna see
any shit go down…
thanks man, i
guess. 

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