cermak-chinatown (for Stacey)

I wrote this walking to the L from a friend’s pre-wedding party this summer.  It was an incredible and unexpected night, and I met an amazing man who is brushing his teeth in my bathroom right now (as he has been doing ever since).  This poem is rather bittersweet for me, especially tonight as I am going to that friend’s funeral in the morning.  She found herself in a position she couldn’t see her way out of and decided to end her life on Boxing Day of 2011.  She was a beautiful, talented, wonderful girl and I wish she would’ve remembered the people that loved and cared about her and come through the other side of her despair.

There is always hope.  There is always a chance.  You are not alone.

Looking back on this memory of that hot July night in light of all that has happened since, this piece seems oddly fitting:  almost an alternative ending to her life story.  I’m glad to have met her and I’m glad for all she gave to me without ever knowing she had given it.  I wish she was able to read this right now.  So instead, I’ll give it to all of you.

Maybe it’ll help someone else make a different choice.


walking through Chicago
late night
full moon
delivery vans and taxi cabs whirl past me
hot air on my skin
no breeze
smell of sweat
and beer
and the scent of the river
phantom hand at my hip
still dancing
the lights of Chinatown burn neon to my retinas
foreign nonsense
but I know they’re words
pretend they promise salvation and rescue
not manicures and half-price pad woon sen.

July 2011

© Charlie Pevensie


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