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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Shake Loose Awake and Build the City Again

"...saw this corner with a mesh of rails, shuttling
     people, shunting cars, shaping the junk of
     the earth to a new city.
The hands of men took hold and tugged
And the breaths of men went into the junk
And the junk stood up into skyscrapers and asked:
Who am I? Am I a city? And if I am what is my name?
...
Early the red men gave a name to a river,
     the place of the skunk,
     the river of the wild onion smell,
     Shee-caw-go...
Put the city up; tear the city down;
     put it up again; let us find a city...
Every day the people sleep and the city dies;
     everyday the people shake loose awake and
     build the city again.
The city is a tool chest opened every day...
The city is a balloon and a bubble plaything
     shot to the sky every evening, whistled in
     a ragtime jig down the sunset.
The city is made, forgotten, and made again...
Every day the people get up and carry the city...
     lift it and put it down."

—Carl Sandburg, excerpts from The Windy City [ca1922]