Tuesday, March 31, 2009

let yourself be crushed by it

When hit by boredom, let yourself be crushed by it; submerge, hit bottom. In general, with things unpleasant, the rule is: The sooner you hit bottom, the faster you surface. The idea here is to exact a full look at the worst. The reason boredom deserves such scrutiny is that it represents pure, undiluted time in all its repetitive, redundant, monotonous splendor. Boredom is your window on the properties of time that one tends to ignore to the likely peril of one's mental equilibrium. It is your window on time's infinity. Once this window opens, don't try to shut it; on the contrary, throw it wide open.

1995 Dartmouth College commencement address, Joseph Brodsky

[Water Tower Park, above Chicago Avenue]

Monday, March 30, 2009


Daily News

Always tell the truth; it's the easiest thing to remember.

~ David Mamet

[Racine Avenue above Fullerton Avenue]

Sunday, March 29, 2009

easy to deride

Women have a playground slide
That wraps you in monsoon and takes you for a ride.
The English girl Louise, his latest squeeze, was being snide.
Easy to deride
The way he stayed alive to stay inside
His women with his puffed-up pride.
The pharmacy supplied
The rising fire truck ladder that the fire did not provide.

"Sii, romantico, Seidel, tanto per cambiare," Frederick Seidel

[Damen Avenue below Blue Line]

Saturday, March 28, 2009



[North Avenue near Humboldt Avenue]

Thursday, March 26, 2009


The Bright One

Doubt is our passion.

~ Henry James, via Don DeLillo

[Chicago Avenue and Damen Avenue]

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

smoke on the ground

Wicker GoldSmokeRed eye

Iron and gold in the air,
dust and smoke on the ground

~ Lawrence Weiner

[Wicker Park; Chicago Avenue west of Damen Avenue; Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

focus dissolved and my thoughts disintegrated

The outlines on which I tried to focus dissolved and my thoughts disintegrated before I could fully grasp them... [A]ll of a sudden no longer had any knowledge of where I was... was unable even to determine whether I was in the land of the living or already in another place.

"Vertigo," W. G. Sebald

[Leavitt Street south of Chicago Avenue]

Monday, March 23, 2009

we buy houses


[Alley, Ukrainian Village]

Sunday, March 22, 2009

sidewalk is closed

Sidewalk is closed

[Winchester Street below Thomas Street]

Saturday, March 21, 2009

time, gentlemen, please

TIme, gentlemenClosing time

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

"September 1, 1939", W. H. Auden

[Chicago Avenue west of Winchester Street; Damen Avenue above Haddon Street; Thomas Street at Damen Avenue

Friday, March 20, 2009

dancing about architecture

Slow dance
A dance, a glance
A little dance

Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.

~ David Byrne

[Chicago Avenue west of Winchester Street; Damen Avenue at Thomas Street; Chicago Avenue at Damen Avenue]

Thursday, March 19, 2009

absurd to divide

It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

~ Oscar Wilde

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

steal a little

Checks cashed
Steal a little and they throw you in jail,
Steal a lot and they make you king...

~ Bob Dylan

[Damen Avenue below Chicago Avenue]

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

the names of ten children

You must kill 40 in death...
• the tails of a hundred cats
• the noses of three kings
• an apple grown by chance on a lemon tree
• a flock of tethered birds contained somehow yet still in flight
• the smallest grain of sand in all the Orient
• the mandibles of a mandarin beetle, insect that knows all things but speaks not
• the names of ten children who died before they could be named
• a flock of sheep dressed as scribes and trained in every clerical task
• a box of fingers kissed in parting by chaste lovers in elder days

~ Þórdís Björnsdóttir

[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Monday, March 16, 2009

so thirsty for the marvelous

I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger than reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.

~ Anaïs Nin

[Chicago Avenue west of Western Avenue]

Sunday, March 15, 2009

the color of its countries

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

"somewhere i have never travelled," ee cummings

[Damen Avenue below Augusta Avenue]

Saturday, March 14, 2009

tree-dividing sky

Figures of light and dark, these two are walking
The winter road from the St. Simeon farm
Toward something that the world is pointing toward
At the white place of the road's vanishing
Between the vertex that the far-lit gray
Of tree-dividing sky finally comes down to
And the wide arrowhead the road itself
Comes up with as a means to its own end.

"Effet de Neige" (after the painting La Route de la ferme Saint-Siméon by Claude Monet), John Hollander

[Michigan Avenue above Chicago Avenue]

Friday, March 13, 2009

oh man

"Hot metal is hot when you touch it Got nothin' but bullets in the pockets Oh, God I want some heat.

"Oh man," Sybris

[Chicago Avenue east of Winchester Street]

Thursday, March 12, 2009

beware of dog

Music Lover

[The Magic Alley, above Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue; Chicago Avenue below the Magic Alley]

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

open letter

No candy hearts or delicacies
of language. Do not ask me
to be demure, clean or to go
with the flow. I am electric.
I sprinkle poison
in the bird feeder, watch blue jays
fall like insatiable kisses.

"An open letter to Eros," Simone Muench

[Former Esquire Theatre candy counter, Oak Street west of Michigan Avenue]

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


"I love this"

What a funhouse mirror is love.

~ Don DeLillo

[State Street below Grand Avenue]

I love you so much it hurts.
[Thomas Street at Damen Avenue]

Monday, March 9, 2009


House party

Everything happens at parties.

~ Jane Austen

[Division Street east of Leavitt Street]

Sunday, March 8, 2009

like tears in rain

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die.

Blade Runner, Hampton Fancher, David Webb Peoples

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

america's favorite snacks

[Milwaukee Avenue below Wood Street]

Saturday, March 7, 2009

missing pieces of themselves

Anyone who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves. So anyone who's in love gets sad when they think of their lover. It's like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven't seen in a long time.

~ Haruki Murakami

[Chicago Avenue east of Wolcott]

Friday, March 6, 2009

in the first place, beautiful objects are small

What, then, are the real causes of beauty? In the first place, beautiful objects are small. In most languages, objects of love are spoken of under diminutive epithets. We rarely say 'a great beautiful thing,' but often 'a great ugly thing.' There is a wide difference between admiration and love; and while the sublime has to do with great and terrible objects, the beautiful is found in small and pleasing things.

"Sublime and Beautiful," Edmund Burke

[Chicago Avenue east of Winchester Street]

Thursday, March 5, 2009

invokes the eternal, risks absurdity, invites derision, seduces, shocks, transcends

Time and again, Garrel inserts two lovers inside his meticulous compositions, where they reveal passions that by virtue of their excesses remind us of how drained of life the modern world truly is. He transforms a private reverie into a public sacrament, invokes the eternal, risks absurdity, invites derision, seduces, shocks, transcends.

~ Manohla Dargis, reviewing Phillipe Garrel's Frontier of Dawn.

[Dearborn Street below Lake Street]

so well by my betters

Little time now
and so much hasn't
been put down as I
should have done it.
But does it matter?
It's all been written
so well by my betters,
and what they wrote
has been my joy.

"Nunc Dimittis," James Laughlin

[Illinois Street west of New Street]

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

was a dream of this room

The room I entered was a dream of this room.
Surely all those feet on the sofa were mine.
The oval portrait
of a dog was me at an early age.
Something shimmers, something is hushed up.

We had macaroni for lunch every day
except Sunday, when a small quail was induced
to be served to us. Why do I tell you these things?
You are not even here.

"This Room," John Ashbery

[Cortez Street at Western Avenue]

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Your child to me will just be some so-and-so.

~ "So-and-So," Tim Kinsella

[Milwaukee Avenue below North Avenue astride Blue Line]

Monday, March 2, 2009

some come from ahead and some come from behind

I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!

~ Dr. Seuss

[Damen Avenue above Haddon Street]

Sunday, March 1, 2009

standing on this corner where there used to be a street

I used to be your favorite drunk
Good for one more laugh
Then we both ran out of luck
And luck was all we had...

So let’s drink to when it’s over
And let’s drink to when we meet
I’ll be standing on this corner
Where there used to be a street...

I cried for you this morning
And I’ll cry for you again
But I’m not in charge of sorrow
So please don’t ask me when

I know the burden’s heavy
As you bear it through the night
Some people say it’s empty
But that doesn’t mean it’s light...

So let’s drink to when it’s over
And let’s drink to when we meet
I’ll be standing on this corner
Where there used to be a street

"A Street," Leonard Cohen.

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

About Me

Chicago, Illinois, United States

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