02 August 2009


Downtown yesterday, passing Garfield Park. A thick green canopy here provided by honeylocust trees, a special variety bred to lack the thorns on its bark that wild honeylocust has. A couple is signing a conversation. An old man dozes on a bench. Pigeons prowl and coo. And at the base of the James Garfield statue, an extremely unattractive hooker is trying to create some business. She has blonde, almost white hair cut short, a dye job gone bad. She is quite fat, and sips a caffeinated, high fructose corn syrup beverage from a can. Her left leg is broken and encased in a plastic or fiberglass brace. It's a warm day, almost 85 degrees F, but she wears long sleeves. She sits at the base of the stone cube that supports President Garfield. How weary she sounds as she solicits passersby with "Got a cigarette, hon?" or "Wanna party, babe? I'm up for anything." There is no promise of passionate abandon in her scratchy, smoke cured alto monotone. She attracts no interest. Even the pigeons avoid her. James Garfield's shoes are permanently anchored to that stone pedestal, and there are no Secret Service agents to whisk the Babylon sister away. It has come to this, then.

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All original text (C) 2007, 2008 David J. Carney. All rights reserved.

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