Postmodern Collage Poetry

A blog about writing collage poetry, post modern poetry, multi lingual poetry

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Poetry of Shoes

Last night, returning from a poetry reading I drove by the former factory of the Florsheim Shoe Company. Recently in Chicago there has been allot of wringing of hands over the fact that we are losing Marshall Fields to Carpetbagger Macy's of New York; but what I saw at the old Florsheim factory illustrates for me an America that is arising that is so alien. A new world where we make nothing and where we retrofit everything. the sense of sadness and loss was profound.

Chicago, until very recently was a place where we made things, Shoes, Cars, Candy, Food, Televisions and so much more. Florsheim's factory on Belmont Av is one of those places of substance. The beaux arts factory has scrollwork and a cast marble name over the door. It is being turned into 'artists' lofts. This has happened allot here in Chicago recently, Westinghouse, Zenith, Lakeside Press all these great former factories that today are 'artists lofts' .

I for one do not hate artists' lofts but I miss the poetry of shoes. I grew up in the 1970s 80s and 90s . I watched as Chicago, and regional cities in our region like Gary and Joliet suffered as factories left and people were displaced. Chicago has done better than most cities in the Midwest but it has not been unscathed. Chicago is a great place but we dont make nearly as much as we used to here anymore. Like a house eaten by termites we are slowly sagging as a nation with rich coasts and sunbelt and a middle that needs new wood.

The poetry of shoes and the people who make things for a living is near to dead in America. We have decided that China is our factory and we want to be in 'service' areas which is code for Wal Mart and low wages. I should not complain I have built allot of my career on working in International Business. I have worked in global markets is the very places where our jobs have gone. But I just feel that we are losing something. Our pensions are being elimimated, our people are becoming less than they were because they do not have work.

Last year Pope John Paul died. At a northside Polish tavern the owner put a photo of the pope over the door with bunting inside Polish men sat and drank to the pope and his life. the kind of men who go to a tavern are not the same kind of people who go to a fake Irish pub or other yuppie fern bar. That is what we are losing- people who are proud to work with their hands and create something real and solid.