Friday, July 31, 2009

there is no question

It was a City of dreams,
Thus there is no question of architecture

~ Paul Valéry

[Chicago Avenue west of Winchester Street]

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

the bluest blue it is possible to obtain

In the light transmitted by cuprate of ammonia of a certain thickness, the red, yellow, orange, and green are wholly extinguished while the blue, indigo, and violet are allowed to pass. The result is the fullest and bluest blue it is possible to obtain.

"Proceedings of the Royal Society of London," 1876

[Below Chicago Avenue west of Winchester Street]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

i arced from coast to coast

At the hotel coffee shop that morning, the waitress was wearing a pink uniform with “Florence” written in script over her heart. And the man who checked my bag had a nameplate that said “Ben.” Behind him was a long row of royal palms. On the plane, two women poured drinks from a cart they rolled down the aisle—“Debbie” and “Lynn” according to their winged tags. And such was my company as I arced from coast to coast, and so I seldom spoke, and then only of the coffee, the bag, the tiny bottles of vodka. I said little more than “Thank you” and “Can you take this from me, please?” Yet I began to sense that all of them were ready to open up, to get to know me better, perhaps begin a friendship.

"Traveling Alone," Billy Collins

[Chicago Avenue west of Winchester Street]

Monday, July 27, 2009

cat four days lost

Dead silence. The cat
four days lost. Only the child's deep
drifting-into-far-distant-sleep sigh
and the perturbed crackle
of chairs devoured by death watch.

"Lost Cat," Robert Duncan

[Damen Avenue below Chicago Avenue]

Friday, July 24, 2009

what to do about garlic, onions, cloves, spices

This sprightliness of affect tended to win the day against rigid piety. If coffee modifies the spirit, as it does, and therefore should be banned, what to do about garlic, onions, cloves, spices?

"Bohemia," Herbert Gold

[Chicago Avenue west of Damen Avenue]

Thursday, July 23, 2009

moon's acid light

The full moon's acid light flows down this cold
Vein from the dark wrists of hills to the broad palms of meadow

"At the Road's Turn," Ruth Lechlitner

[Damen Avenue below Chicago Avenue]

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

competing pleasures will be destroyed

There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.

"1984," George Orwell

[North Avenue west of Wells Street]

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

the ability to disclose what already exists

There was a quote by John Berger that I had in mind all the time I was writing 'Born Yesterday'—that imagination is not, as most people think, the ability to invent, it’s the ability to disclose what already exists.

~ Gordon Burn to Richard T. Kelly.

[Lake Street at Ogden Avenue]

Monday, July 20, 2009

a thousand angels making festival

And once, one looked above the wood and saw
A thousand angels making festival,
Each one distinct in brightness and in function,
Which was to choreograph the universe,
Meanwhile performing it. Their work was dance.
Together, wings outstretched, they sang and played
The intellect as powerhouse of love

"A Wood Near Athens," Thom Gunn

[Lake Street west of Ada Street]

Sunday, July 19, 2009

another secret

There is always another level, another secret, a way in which the heart breeds a deception so mysterious and complex it can only be taken for a deeper kind of truth.

"Libra," Don DeLillo

[Originally Michigan Avenue over Chicago River at Wacker Drive; rephotographed, Chicago Avenue east of Bishop Street]

Saturday, July 18, 2009

jubliating birds

She took the risk, at last, of certain joys—
Her birdtable and jubilating birds,
The 'fashion' in her wardrobe and tallboy.

"The Lift," Seamus Heaney

Friday, July 17, 2009

just wait, wait

Fireworks are wasted in the day
I set 'em off anyway
To pass the time 'til you return
I can’t see a thing 'til you return
Maybe a little smoke 'til you return
With fireworks
More fireworks!
And you tell me to wait
Just wait, wait
Just wait

"A Man Needs A Woman Or A Man To Be A Man," Bill Callahan

[Chicago Avenue east of Winchester Street]

Thursday, July 16, 2009

vanished quite slowly

"I wish you wouldn’t keep appearing and vanishing so suddenly: you make one quite giddy.”
“All right,” said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. “Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,” thought Alice; “but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!"

"Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland," Lewis Carroll

[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Thursday, July 9, 2009

opening night this is 606

Int Day

this is 606 opening

[Chicago Avenue east of Bishop Street]

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

the continued stream of second attention awareness

Play all lottery

These quotations are on the wall at the Architrouve exhibition.

The important fact about urban living: the continued stream of second attention awareness. Every license plate, street sign, passing strangers, are saying something to you.
~ William S. Burroughs

Walking is the best way to explore and exploit the city; the changes, shifts, breaks in the cloud helmet, movement of light on water. Drifting purposefully is the recommended mode, tramping asphalted earth in alert reverie, allowing the fiction of an underlying pattern to assert itself… The born-again flâneur is a stubborn creature, less interested in texture and fabric, eavesdropping on philosophical conversation pieces, than in noticing everything.
~ Iain Sinclair

A city sidewalk by itself is nothing. It is an abstraction. The same might be said of streets. A city cannot be a work of art.
~ Jane Jacobs

when the wind was right

They stood in the street light through the kitchen window there'd never been much point in putting curtains over and listened to the thumping of the surf from down the hill. Some nights, when the wind was right, you could hear the surf all over town... "How about a beer?" He went to the fridge, pulled two cans out of the case he kept inside, handed one to Shasta. "There's this guy," she was saying.

"Inherent Vice," Thomas Pynchon

[Hoyne Avenue at Walton Street]

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

cast a shadow

To light a candle is to cast a shadow.

~ Ursula le Guin

[Damen Avenue above Rice Street]

Monday, July 6, 2009

thinking of stabbing us to death

The radio aches a little tune that tells the story of what the night
is thinking. It’s thinking of love.
It’s thinking of stabbing us to death
and leaving our bodies in a dumpster.
That’s a nice touch, stains in the night, whiskey and kisses for everyone.

"Little Beast," Richard Siken

[Chicago Avenue west of Leavitt Street

Sunday, July 5, 2009

write it again, eventually

If a book is lost, then someone will write it again, eventually. That should be enough immortality for everyone.

"With Borges," Jorge Luis Borges to Alberto Manguel

[Humboldt Park]

Saturday, July 4, 2009

the air now clean, for a moment weightless without memories, or need for a past

The only thing I miss about Los Angeles is the Hollywood Freeway at midnight, windows down and radio blaring
bearing right into the center of the city, the Capitol Tower on the right, and beyond it, Hollywood Boulevard blazing—pimps, surplus stores, footprints of the stars —descending through the city fast as the law would allow
through the lights, then rising to the stack out of the city to the stack where lanes are stacked six deep
and you on top; the air now clean, for a moment weightless without memories, or need for a past.

"California Plush," Frank Bidart

Thursday, July 2, 2009

alarm at dead of night

I hear the alarm at dead of night
I hear the bells — shouts!
I pass the crowd — run!
The sight of flames maddens me with pleasure

"Poems of Joy," Walt Whitman

[Detail of print shown at Architrouve; originally Chicago Avenue west of Damen Avenue]

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

you are too preoccupied by the secret smudge in the back of your soul

What name do I have for you?
Certainly there is not name for you
In the sense that the stars have names
That somehow fit them. Just walking around,

An object of curiosity to some,
But you are too preoccupied
By the secret smudge in the back of your soul
To say much and wander around,

Smiling to yourself and others.
It gets to be kind of lonely
But at the same time off-putting.
Counterproductive, as you realize once again

That the longest way is the most efficient way,
The one that looped among islands, and
You always seemed to be traveling in a circle.

"Just Walking Around," John Ashbery

[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

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Chicago, Illinois, United States

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