The slum highrises of Chicago are full of these stories or, more likely, the same story told again and again.


Just Another Kid

He was born part of a profit structure
Breast fed, when she remembered,
her milk laced with heroin
He cried away his hunger and habit

Solitary by the age of five, learning
the cunning of hunted animals, the art
of not being seen, untrusting any touch,
eyes withheld from everything that hurts

A shadow life at ten, mixing darker shades
that slip down stairwells dank with piss
Running with survivors, edging away,
bold, when boldness is the only hope

Dealing, stealing, reeling at fifteen, his shoes
a badge of honor in a dishonored life
Father to his own son, born of a nameless girl
Continuing the heritage of no heritage

Dead at sixteen, no major news event
Uncomprehending the history he’s left
at the bottom of a stairwell, blood and broken glass
Just another kid and life and death move on

Poetry Collection: Broken Pieces
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman’s
poetry collection
BROKEN PIECES
available here in print
or as an e-Book
in your favorite formats.