Only Five (The Battle of Chicago)

Dan Neizmik, Contributing Writer

(He guesses he believes in the circle of life,
that a new one is born when another one dies.)

Here’s a story a good friend shared with me,

About his recent trip to the Windy City,

He went there for the weekend,

To visit some relatives and a few old friends.


He said that things are bad there,

And it’s sad that no one seems to care,

Still, people are close in his old neighborhood,

Although most would leave there, if they could.


But that weekend they partied like the good old days,

Forgetting that their city is no longer the same,

Soon, reality set in as shots rang out,

And somebody yelled “everybody get down.”


When it was over, nobody had been harmed,

But, they recalled the days when that city was calm,

It’s not the families that are to blame,

It’s the riots, politicians, and enabling of gangs.


Sometimes when bullets go astray,

Innocent people get in the way,

And each week they’re just part of the number,

That sadly the world won’t remember.


Later when back home he watched on TV,

Reports on the violence in Chicago that week,

It’s the kind of news that’s hard to bear,

Twenty-eight people shot so callously there.


But only one had died ~ and she was “Only Five,”

He thought, how can that be fair,

Anytime, anywhere,

And how can it be that nobody seems to care?


Then later that same day, he saw a News Flash,

And watched in disbelief, the story of a plane crash,

Twenty-eight people were aboard, and nearly all had died,

Only one had survived ~ and she was “Only Five”…


He says he guesses he believes in the circle of life,

That a new one is born when another one dies,

But somehow this was much different than that,

Was it one moment’s reckoning of another moment’s facts?


And he said it will never be clear to him,

Why someone must lose for another to win,

Why some doors must close for others to open,

And how some moments in time can so quickly be frozen.


Now every night he says a prayer for those moments,

For the ones who survive and the ones who don’t,

Then, he says a prayer for the innocence of life,

And especially for the ones who are “Only Five.”