Tuesday, June 30, 2009

no light will project them

The films never made: they are like someone's last, unheard words, lost notebooks. No light will project them, no one will endlessly imitate their lines. In the invisible universe where everything we know has its opposite, these unmade films will be playing and the others will only be dreams, in which, as might happen if we could rewrite history, the world would be better.

"Europe," James Salter

[East of California Avenue below Chicago Avenue]

Monday, June 29, 2009

the waitress turns kitchenward, her ankle blooms with daisy

What's the line from James Salter's "A Sport and a Pastime"? "A flash of elegant calf and you are tumbled into unbearable love"? You look up from your cup, the waitress turns kitchenward, her ankle blooms with daisy. I do not know her name, only this tattoo and smiles of hello or good-bye. This is a demonstrative solitude. Even silent and shy and swathed in shadow in barroom darkness, this, too, is sociability, the contact buzz of other human existence. I will write about you: but that is another story.

"Artless at Work," Ray Pride

[Detail from Architrouve show; original Chicago Avenue west of Winchester Street]

Sunday, June 28, 2009

the eerie brightness of nighttime

Mr. Mann’s digital manipulations, in particular, which encompass almost pure abstraction and interludes of hyper-realism, is worthy of longer exegesis, one that explores how this still-unfamiliar format is changing the movies: it allows, among other things, filmmakers to capture the eerie brightness of nighttime as never before.

~ Manohla Dargis in her New York Times review of Public Enemies.

[Illinois Street at New Street]

Saturday, June 27, 2009

what you gotta do is play your own simple blues

This girl, Vivian, who had given me the ride to Chicago, left me with a little grass. So one night I went down by the sewage treatment plant by the Loop where the river is entirely industrialized. It's all concrete banks and effluvia by the Marina Towers. So I smoked this joint and then it hit me. I thought, what you gotta do is play your own simple blues. So that's what I did. I appropriated a lot of their vocal forms, and also their turns of phrase—either heard or misheard or twisted from blues songs. So "I Wanna Be Your Dog" is probably my mishearing of "Baby Please Don't Go."

~ Iggy Pop, interviewed in Legs McNeil's "Just Kill Me"

[State Street at the Chicago River]

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

a wild ragged figure motioning him to turn around and come off into the dark

Hazel's grandfather had been a circuit preacher, a waspish old man who had ridden over three counties with Jesus hidden in his head like a stinger. He knew by the time he was twelve years old that he was going to be a preacher. Later he saw Jesus move from tree to tree in the back of his mind, a wild ragged figure motioning him to turn around and come off into the dark where he was not sure of his footing, where he might be walking on the water and not know it and then suddenly know it and drown.

"Wise Blood," Flannery O'Connor

[Wabash Avenue below Chicago Avenue]

Monday, June 22, 2009

voices instead of colors

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.
"Letters," Rainer Maria Rilke

[Wicker Park]

Thursday, June 18, 2009

quietly obscene

Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene. It’s been doing that all week: making beauty, and throwing it away, and making more.

"A Color of the Sky," Tony Hoagland

[East of Damen Avenue, north of Lee Street]

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

in silence the heart

In silence the heart raves. It utters words
Meaningless, that never had
A meaning. I was ten, skinny, red-headed,
Freckled... There is nothing like
Beauty. It stops your heart. It
Thickens your blood. It stops your breath. It

Makes you feel dirty. You need a hot bath.
I leaned against a telephone pole, and watched.
I thought I would die if she saw me.

"True Love," Robert Penn Warren

[East of Damen Avenue, north of North Avenue]

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

now is, all there is

This is now. Now is,
all there is. Don't wait for Then;
strike the spark, light the fire.

Sit at the Beloved's table,
feast with gusto, drink your fill

then dance
the way branches
of jasmine and cypress
dance in a spring wind.

The green earth
is your cloth;
tailor your robe
with dignity and grace.

~ Rumi

[Chicago Avenue west of Winchester Street]

Sunday, June 14, 2009

but a dream


[Winchester Street at Damen Avenue]

Saturday, June 13, 2009



[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Friday, June 12, 2009

the universe will soon

God begins. The universe will soon.
The intensity of the baseball bat
Meets the ball. Is the fireball
When he speaks and then in the silence
The cobra head rises regally and turns to look at you.
The angel burns through the air.
The flower turns to look.

"Midnight," Frederick Seidel

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Thursday, June 11, 2009


That is a young man's game. I don't have the stomach for that kind of disciplined asshole-ism any longer.

~ Seth remarks.

[California Avenue below Chicago Avenue]

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

sincere and lilting tone

Babette employed her storytelling voice, the same sincere and lilting tone she used when she read fairytales to Wilder or erotic passages to her husband in their brass bed high above the headlong traffic hum.

"White Noise," Don DeLillo

[Lower Michigan Avenue above Chicago River]

Tuesday, June 9, 2009



[Lower Michigan Avenue above Chicago River]

Monday, June 8, 2009

desperate enough just to do anything

I was trying to understand what art is and what artists do, and a lot of that, for me, seemed to involve watching and waiting to see what would happen. When I'm desperate enough just to do anything, even if it seems completely stupid, its suach a relief.

~ Bruce Nauman

[Damen Avenue above Evergreen Street]

Sunday, June 7, 2009

as close to their reflections

Some birds in the almost-dark are flying as close to their reflections as possible.

"Divisadero," Michael Ondaatje

[East of Winchester below Augusta Boulevard]

Saturday, June 6, 2009

spring breeze


[Ukrainian Village]

Friday, June 5, 2009

conflagrations, ruins, scenes of spectacular carnage

All poets adore explosions, thunderstorms, tornadoes, conflagrations, ruins, scenes of spectacular carnage. The poetic imagination is not at all a desirable quality in a statesman.

"The Poet & The City," W. H. Auden

[Underneath Blue Line, Damen Avenue below North Avenue]

Thursday, June 4, 2009

the moment of a yawn

Lucien had said all he knew and remembered about Marie-Neige in these stories, the sound of her wheelbarrow, how she lit a fire, the moment of a yawn, the way she had talked about a thistle in a ditch. She was within him now.

"Divisadero," Michael Ondaatje

[Dearborn Street below Polk Street]

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I want to walk like I'm the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want.

"What Do Women Want?," Kim Addonizio

[Michigan Avenue above Huron Street; Damen Avenue above Thomas Street]

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

rounded with a sleep

We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

"The Tempest," Shakespeare

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Monday, June 1, 2009

night breeze

Cool breeze

[Near Damen Avenue and Augusta Boulevard]

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Chicago, Illinois, United States

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