Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

1965: When I Kept My Lantern Lit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 6:21 pm on Saturday, July 23, 2022

by Robert M. Katzman © July 21, 2022

If anyone else alive today 

Still remembers

I certainly knew the

Delicate irritating nature

When handling persnickety

Fabled Coleman Lanterns

During windy Chicago winters

With so much frozen

Moisture in the air

It was damned difficult

To light a wooden match

To ignite the mantles

Fifty-five years ago


It was so common to finally

Light one with a flame

And then accidentally

Make the other ash

Mantle crumble

With clumsy contact

While cursing to myself

I repeated the necessary steps

Until finally successful

Rewarded with

A Sun-like brilliance

And always the

Eerie hissing sound

Like a snake was coiled

And possibly waiting

Inside of the gas reservoir


I always kept

Packages of spare mantles

On a certain wooden shelf 

I could quickly find

In total darkness

Even if in

 The worst of times

Both mantles crumbled

During blizzards and windstorms


When online today I see

Commercial images 

Of handy LED Colemans

As easy to use as

Flipping on a switch

So…nothing like the

Grim reality of

Keeping my glass lanterns

(Always a spare back-up inside)

Burning for

Light, warmth and security


Often times

On bleak black nights

So long ago

The warm beacon of

 My swaying glowing lanterns

Gave frightened women 

Running on dark streets

At midnight

A safe refuge

Where no one would 

Pursue them


Seeming so primitive today

Once upon a time

Lonely Corner Newsstands 

Were refuges 

Islands of Safety

Both the bad guys 

And the cops

Respected that


I was armed



I was never caught up

In the delicate romance

Of the skills necessary

To keep my

Wooden Newsstand


While my dry chapped

Fingers were freezing


Present-day TV shows

Romanticize the actually

Blunt and brutal lives

Of working cowboys

Whom I identified with

Real people who did that

Demanding and seemingly

Unending harsh

Physically challenging work

 In fierce rough weather

Which soon turned

Bare skin to leather


Those now

Like me 

Grizzled old coots

Drifting through

The haze of their pasts

Never seem 

To have the time

To revel in the

Glamour of it all


When once their skin 

Was so numbed by cold

They could get jagged cuts 

And never even feel

The warm red blood 

Running down their hands

Dripping on the ground

Brightening the snow


The dirty secret

of the

small time


All of us were slaves

Proud of our 


Though frequently

Earning nothing per hour


Seems so long ago now

But I haven’t changed

 In certain ways

Fundamental ways

Even though today

I’ve become ancient

My once so vital 

Glass Lanterns 

No longer

Glowing in the night 

Yet still, 

My oldest friends know

If ever they need

A refuge to run to

In the dark of the night

My door is still open

My place is still safe


Publishing News! 

Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him!
Vol. One: A Savage Heart and Vol. Two: Fighting Words

Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine.

Please visit my new website: https://www.dontgoquietlypress.com
If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return and contact info.
I will get your books to you within ten days.
Here’s complete information on how to buy my books:

Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words
My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.

Robert M. Katzman
Don’t Go Quietly Press
PO Box 44287
Racine, Wis. 53404-9998  (262)752-3333, 8AM–7PM

Books cost $29.95 each, plus shipping

For: (1)$3.95; (2)$5.95; (3)$7.95; (4)$8.95 (5)$9.95;(6) $10.95

(7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9)$13.95 (10)$15.95 (15)$19.95

I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. Schools should call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books. Also: businesses, bookstores, private organizations or churches and so on.

My Fighting Words Publishing Co. four original books, published between 2004 and 2007 are now out-of-print. I still have some left and will periodically offer them for sale on my new website.









Comment by Don Larson

July 23, 2022 @ 7:06 pm

Good to know the southsides’ Green Lantern is still on his post!


Comment by Brad Dechter

July 24, 2022 @ 6:51 am

You’ve shown me the light!
Your poetry lights up my day!

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