Saturday, February 28, 2009

sufficient reason for a horror

There is always sufficient
Reason for a horror of
The use of the pronoun, 'I."

"Codicil," Kenneth Rexroth

[Augusta Boulevard east of Damen Avenue]

Friday, February 27, 2009

an indecipherable cause

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

"Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," Wallace Stevens

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Thursday, February 26, 2009

under no obligation

Nothing has turned out as we expected! It never does.
Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.
We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.

Gone With the Wind, Sidney Howard, Oliver H.P. Garrett, Ben Hecht, Jo Swerling and John Van Druten

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

impaled upon a stern angelic stare

The morning paper clocked the headline hour
You drank your coffee lke original sin,
And at the jet-plane anger of God’s roar
Got up to let the suave blue policeman in.

Impaled upon a stern angelic stare
You were condemned to serve the legal limit
And burn to death within your neon hell.

"The Trial of Man, "Sylvia Plath

[Damen Avenue above Haddon Street]

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

anne carson lives in canada


Anne Carson lives in Canada.

Customary book flap bio, Anne Carson

[Division Street at Wood Street]

Monday, February 23, 2009

her body, portions of it, seem to become luminous in his mind

They sit in the dining room quietly inspecting the menu, prices first. She has changed upstairs, and beneath her suit she has nothing on. Dean knows this. As he reads, his thoughts keep returning to it. Her body, portions of it, seem to become luminous in his mind. Everything he touches or looks at, the fork, the tablecloth, somehow, by their homeliness, their silence, seem to celebrate that flesh which only a single layer of cloth conceals, does not even conceal, proclaims. She eats a large meal. She even drinks a little wine. Dean gazes at her through his empty glass. A brilliant, irregular world appears. The chandeliers glitter like stars. Her face swims away, crowned in soft hair.

"A Sport and a Pastime," James Salter

[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Sunday, February 22, 2009

when our minds tend to wander



We think about sex obsessively except during the act,
when our minds tend to wander.

~ Howard Nemerov

[Damen Avenue below Division Street; Chicago Avenue at Oakley Avenue]

Saturday, February 21, 2009

i've been thinking about nothing at all

I've been thinking about nothing at all,
And this central thing, which isn't anything,
Is pleasant to me like the evening air,
Fresh in contrast to the hot summer days.

I've been thinking about nothing at all, and how lucky!

To think about nothing
Is to fully possess the soul.
To think about nothing
Is to inimately live
Life's ebb and flow...

"I've Been Thinking About Nothing At All," Fernando Pessoa

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Friday, February 20, 2009

never have, i never have

This might make you throw up in your bed:
I'm okay by myself
and I don't need you
and I never have, I never have

"I'm Okay By Myself," Morrissey

[North Avenue east of Halsted Street]

Thursday, February 19, 2009

leave no trace

Angela smoke

The golden moments leave no trace.

~ Anton Chekhov

[California Avenue and Chicago Avenue]

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

snow and feather

Checks cashed

Spring will dust from our sills snow and feather.

"Freeze Up," Michael Longley

[Damen Avenue below Chicago Avenue]

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

we were movie stars

we were movie stars
who never entered the frame.
we were green and gone

lisping "o" words in the air:
ode, odalisque, obituary.

"Orange Girl Suite," Simone Muench

[Damen Avenue and Chicago Avenue]

Monday, February 16, 2009



[Damen Avenue below Chicago Avenue]

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
their women and children and a keg of beer and an

"Happiness," Carl Sandburg

[Belmont Avenue and Southport Avenue]

Saturday, February 14, 2009

beauty convinces

So why did I love him from early girlhood to late middle age
and the divorce decree came in the mail?
Beauty. No great secret. Not ashamed to say I loved him for his beauty.
As I would again
if he came near. Beauty convinces. You know beauty makes sex possible.
Beauty makes sex sex.

"The Beauty of the Husband," Anne Carson

[North Avenue and Larrabee]

Friday, February 13, 2009

one morning last year i sat in an empty coffee shop

One morning last year I sat in an empty coffee shop in the early morning and tried to write a poem about walking with my grandfather on the bridge over the Chicago River when I was 8 years old. It was our last walk before he died. I remembered eating cotton candy and marveling at the intricate cables of the bridge. Suddenly the memory of taking his hand became so physically overwhelming that I had to get up and roam around for a while. I was in two places at once. Then I came back and revised the lines. For a poet, that's the writing life.

~ Edward Hirsch

[Chicago Avenue at Damen Avenue; top photograph, State Street in light of Chicago Theatre; bottom, Chicago Avenue at Damen Avenue]

Thursday, February 12, 2009

direct people's eyes

The most political decision you make is where you direct people's eyes. In other words, what you show people, day in and day out, is political. And the most politically indoctrinating thing you can do to a human being is to show her, every day, that there can be no change.

~ Wim Wenders

[Michigan Avenue below Huron Street]

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

the prairie warms


The sun comes out, the prairie warms and suddenly things have names again. Winter is denial, spring is nomenclature. Richard Ford says a novelist's unit of thought is the sentence, not paragraphs or pages. A sentence with precise word choices, a sentence aware of what a thing, a world of things, is called. To observe is to name. Chicago in winter is cold. Cold, cold Chicago. A summery snap like this weekend's? Balmy with words. Images that pop with language. In buttery late afternoon light, reflections key across each other and everyone's eyes and skin seem lively, alert. In any direction you look, random, aimlessly, with or against the gentle, almost-not-there breeze, motion, flicker and flesh spend in the air. Dogs' bright eyes as they pass, the quest for sniff. T-shirts in perfect crease on average shoulders. Hardly anyone, anything looks away. Contact compulsive, convulsive. I see you see me. A streetful of winter's cigarette filters. The pianissimo of women's walk, look down and above the throat line of ballet-soft flats, the genteel ripple of metatarsals against pale skin. Someone you know smiles, turns, departs: nape barbered boyish. On Milwaukee, street glacier gone, in setting sun, rust's advance on a long-abandoned bicycle's chainring. City alive with decay as well. Alive with passage, alive, warm, hopeful.

[Chicago Avenue west of Western Avenue]

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

cross walk

Cross walk

[Chicago Avenue and Damen Avenue]



[Chicago Avenue and Damen Avenue]



[Lake Street and Dearborn Street]

Monday, February 9, 2009

vulgarity is simply

The girls

Vulgarity is simply the conduct of other people.
— Oscar Wilde

[Damen Avenue above Haddon Street]

Sunday, February 8, 2009

if the muse

If the muse comes to your bedside, don’t tell her you’ll fuck her later.

~ Allen Ginsberg

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Saturday, February 7, 2009

you wonder sometimes why

You wonder sometimes why

Closer. Closer. Together. Closer. Closer to me. Closer to you... Closer.

[Damen Avenue above Haddon Street]

Friday, February 6, 2009

making the complicated simple, awesomely simple

Making the simple complicated is commonplace;
making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.

— Charles Mingus

[Chicago Avenue at California Avenue]

Thursday, February 5, 2009

the passing sky

There is nothing to do except observe the horizon,
the only one, that seems to want to sever itself
from the passing sky.

"Hotel Lautréamont," John Ashbery

[Chicago Avenue east of Winchester Street]

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

untranslatable song

The song makes its imprint
in the air, making itself felt,
a felt world. Here, there,
the stunned silence
of knowing I will not remember
what I heard;

that will never happen,
a fluidity we cannot achieve
except as a child
creating possibility.

This is the untranslatable song
hidden in the earth.

"Untranslatable Song," Claudia Reder

[Chicago Avenue west of Winchester Street]

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

i saw three horses

I saw three horses in a fenced field
by the narrow highway's edge: white horses,

two uniformly snowy, the other speckled
as though he'd been rolling in flakes of rust...

The poem wants the impossible;

the poem wants a name for the kind nothing
at the core of time, out of which the foals

come tumbling: curled, fetal, dreaming,
and into which the old crumple, fetlock
and skull breaking like waves of foaming milk...

Cold, bracing nothing that mothers forth
mud and mint, hoof and clover, root hair

and horsehair and the accordion bones
of the rust-spotted little one unfolding itself...

"The Source," Mark Doty

[Chicago Avenue east of Winchester Street]

Monday, February 2, 2009

glass clara

Ira, Clara

[Nightingale, Milwaukee Avenue below Thomas Street]

Sunday, February 1, 2009

glass oscurata

Piss Ira

[Nightingale, Milwaukee Avenue below Thomas Street]

About Me

Chicago, Illinois, United States

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