Wednesday, December 31, 2008

last saturday evening there was a great argument in the polonia bar

"Last Saturday evening there was a great argument in the Polonia bar. All the biggest drunks on Division were there, trying to decide who the biggest drunk of them was. Symanski said he was, and Oljiec said he was, and Koncel said he was, and Czechkowski said he was. Then Roman Orlov came in and the argument was decided. For Poor Roman had been drunk so long, night and day, that when we remember living men we almost forget Poor Roman... So I bought Poor Roman a double-shot and asked him frankly how, before he was thirty, he had become the biggest drunk on Division."

"how the devil came down division," from "the neon wilderness, Nelson Algren

[Division Street west of Damen Avenue]

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

the incessant dissolving of silk

I heard the incessant dissolving of silk—
I felt my heart growing so old in real time.

Her heart must be ash where her body lies burned.
What hope lets your hands rake the cold in real time?

Dear Friend, the Belov├Ęd has stolen your words—
Read slowly: the plot will unfold in real time.

"Ghazal," Agha Shahid Ali

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Monday, December 29, 2008


[Damen Avenue above Thomas Street]

Sunday, December 28, 2008

pride $2.49


[Western Avenue below Chicago Avenue]

Saturday, December 27, 2008



She is neither pink nor pale,
And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
And her mouth on a valentine...

She loves me all that she can,
And her ways to my ways resign;
But she was not made for any man,
And she never will be all mine.

"Witch-Wife," Edna St. Vincent Millay

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Everybody got up, taking this excuse
to stretch and smoke and pace the roof
from eaves to peak, discussing gravity
and Steve McQueen, who never used a stunt man, Danny's
life expectancy, and whether that should be a case
of Export or O'Keefe's. We knew what this was -
ongoing argument to fray
the tedium of work akin to filter vs. plain,
stick shift vs. automatic, condom vs.
pulling out in time. We flicked our butts toward the lake
and got back to the job.

"Sometimes a Voice," Don McKay

[Damen Avenue below Augusta Avenue]

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

holiday cheer

Holiday cheer

Dress deftly your flesh in stupid stuffs,
phrase the immense weapon of your hair.
Understanding why his eye laughs,
I will bring you every year

something which is worth the whole,
an inch of nothing for your soul.

"If I should sleep with a lady named death." ee cummings

[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Tuesday, December 23, 2008



"The ugliest city I've ever seen: one continuous slum."

"Reborn: Journals and Notebooks," Susan Sontag

[Illinois Street looking toward Michigan Avenue and Tribune Tower]

Monday, December 22, 2008

city of corners

State Street

for a city of corners
you disappear around

"City of Corners," John Godfrey

[State Street above Erie Street]

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

slush pile

Slush pile

This is what the flu looks like in the middle of the day in an overly-loud cafe as journalism cookie-crumbles elsewhere.

[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Friday, December 19, 2008

sunny early

Sunny early


[State Street below Lake Street]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

rock falls

Rock Falls

This is someone who deserves several much, much better photographs.

[Double Door, Milwaukee Avenue below North Avenue]



[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

87 87

87 87

[Michigan Avenue above Lower Michigan Avenue]

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

touching zero

Four degreesTwo degrees

[Damen Avenue at Thomas Street]

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

a flying saucer christmas

A Flying Saucer ChristmasDescribing dessert

[California Avenue below Division Street]

Sunday, December 14, 2008

souls washed clean

Souls washed clean

[Country Club, Damen Avenue below Haddon Street.]

Saturday, December 13, 2008

no age

[In darkest basement of Humboldt Park, below North Avenue]

Friday, December 12, 2008

♫ the innocence I've known

She fell in love with the drummer
She fell in love...
She fell in love with the drummer
Another and another
She fell in love
I miss the innocence I've known
Playing KISS covers, beautiful and stoned
Unlock my body and move myself to dance...
Playing KISS covers, beautiful and stoned
Playing KISS covers, beautiful and stoned
Playing KISS covers, beautiful and stoned

"Heavy Metal Drummer," Wilco

[Damen Avenue below Division Street; Division Street near Wolcott Street]


♫ bodies against bodies against bodies in the booth.

Take your own
Two days left to submit photographs for the tavern's annual calendar. The reject rate may be 135 to one, who knows? The Icelander from Norway piles in with the schoolteacher and the mariner. Bodies against bodies against bodies in the booth.

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Thursday, December 11, 2008

♫ slipped and cracked


The can of ice slipped and cracked.
All my worldly belongings weren’t
so worldly anymore.

"Objection Sustained," John Ashbery

[Alley west of Damen Avenue, above Augusta Boulevard]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

idle tears



Tears from the depth of some divine despair


Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,


And thinking of the days that are no more.
Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,


That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.


Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awaken'd birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes


The casement slowly grows a summering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.


Dear as remember'd kisses after death,


And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign'd
On lips that are for others; deep as love,


Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more!


"The Princess: A Medley: Tears, Idle Tears," by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

[Chicago Avenue at Winchester Street]

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

traffic moves of its own accord

Weather: eternal mystery and source of directed, aimless small talk.

[Looking west on Chicago Avenue at Damen Avenue]

Monday, December 8, 2008

♫ after the impact of the cities

Leave the woman where she is.
She has two arms of her own
And two legs for that matter
(Which, sir, are no longer any affair of yours).
See that you yourself come through.

If you've got anything more to say
Say it to me, I'll forget it.
You needn't keep up appearances any longer
There's no one here to observe you.

If you come through
You'll have done more
Than anyone's obliged to.

Don't mention it.

Give up your dream that they will make
An exception in your case.
What your mother told you
Binds no one.

Street furniture
There's a home for you here
There's room for your things.
Move the furniture about to suit yourself

Tell us what you need
Here is the key
Stay here.

Here's where you're to sleep
The sheets are still clean
They're only been slept in once.

That's the room
Hurry up, or you can also stay
The night, but that costs extra
I shan't disturb you.
You'll be as well off here as anywhere else
So you might as well stay.

When I speak to you
Coldly and impersonally
Using the driest words
Without looking at you
(I seemingly fail to recognize you
In your particular nature and difficulty.

I speak to you merely
Like reality itself
(Sober, not to be bribed by your particular nature
Tired of your difficulty)
Which in my view you seem not to recognize.

Scene of the crime
The cities were built for you.
They are eager to welcome you.

Don't go in the...
The doors of the houses are wide open. The meal
Is ready on the table
As the cities are very big
Experts have drawn maps for
Those who do not know the program, showing clearly
The quickest way to reach
One's goal.

As nobody knew exactly what you wanted
You are of course expected to suggest improvements.
Here or there
There may be some little thing not quite to your taste
But that will be put right at once
Without your having to lift a finger.

In short, you will be
In the best possible hands. Everything is completely ready.
All you
Need do is come.

Nicotine required
Fall in! Why are you so late? Now
Just a minute! No, not you! You
Can clear out, we know
you; it's no use your trying
To shove your way in here. Stop! Where do you think you're going?

So, of an evening, when we three sit drinking
And my friends shoves the cigarettes aside
And turns his eyes toward her, damply blinking

I see to it her glass is never empty
Forcing her willy-nilly to drink plenty
That she may notice nothing in the night.

[Text: Bertolt Brecht; Thanks: bb, steph,tom.]

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Chicago, Illinois, United States

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