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Chicagoetry: The Single Greatest Cab Ride In The History Of The Free World

The Single Greatest Cab Ride in the History of the Free World

When you work there
On busy summer weekends,
The best thing

About Navy Pier
Is leaving it.

When I take the 29 State Street bus
To the Washington Street Blue Line,
I know a good ride

When I get one.
The artistry of getting a bus effectively
Down west Grand Avenue

Then south on State Street
Is a thing of rare,
Delicate beauty.

Accelerating, braking,
Ducking, weaving, feinting;
A highly refined art

in a big-ass bus.

Pay attention next time:
Look for smoothness,
No sudden braking, changing

Lanes with tight tolerances
And no real threat
To the public at large.

Occasionally, I will take
A cab to the Federal Building

To get my ass
The hell off that hectic Pier
And onto my train home west.

Yesterday, I met
A friend after my shift
And we hopped a cab

To West Town.
Straight shot down Grand.
When I'm guiding at the Pier

I always recommend cabs
For city rides.
Cabbies are often savants

With occult knowledge
And true sophistication.
They're not teenagers

From Elmhurst
Relying on GPS.

You get in,
Ask for the Bean,
And they take you there

No questions asked.

Most cab rides are
Workmanlike, but yesterday
Was another glorious thing entirely:

Before we knew it,
We realized we were being hurtled west
By the very spirit

Of Jason Bourne.

It was magnificent!
Accelerating, BRAKING


      Weaving, feinting, changing lanes with

Authority, over bumps
            ding hard,

Horn honking as needed,
       Swerving around

Scrambling careless bicyclists
               And distracted pedestrians

(Sorry, fellas:
I'm on your team
Unless you're cluelessly

Blocking my bus or cab).

Steve McQueen in Bullitt,
Roy Scheider in The Seven-Ups
Gene Hackman in

The French Connection.
Urban automotive professionalism
At its summit.

Older gentlemen
With scant white hair
And full beard,

An accent that I took
To be Mediterranean.
When it was over,

At Twisted Spoke,

I was like, "Dude:
That was a beautiful
Piece of work."

They're always startled,
Cabbies and bus drivers,
When you recognize

Their skills.
After the initial shock
of actually being appreciated,

He's like:
"I've been doing this
For thirty years!"

"It shows!"
Last winter, when I
Had to commute

To Wheaton to see
To my ailing mother,
I couldn't get a cab

From the Metra
To save my life.
Out there?

Downtown, throw a bone
To the virtuosos

Of the streets.
Right now,
More than ever,

They need you.


J.J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He welcomes your comments. Chicagoetry is an exclusive Beachwood collection-in-progress.


More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance


Posted on September 17, 2018

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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