Sunday, September 27, 2009

if that ruins your life

Your numbers been purged from our central computer
So we can rig the facts
And sweep you under the rug
See our chart? Unemployment’s going down
If that ruins your life that’s your problem.

"Soup is Good Food," Dead Kennedys

[The Magic Alley, Ukrainian Village]

Saturday, September 26, 2009



[Winchester Street at Augusta Boulevard]

i smile and pass by

Your lies
sharp as knives.

You harm my heart.

My smile is past.

Your lies
sharp as knives

I drink pain
glass after glass

trying to escape
your eyes

sharp as knives.

I smile and pass by

The record says
again and again

in the same cruel scratch.

"Your love entering my bloodstream like a slow poison," Dónall Dempsey

[Winchester Street above Thomas Street]

Friday, September 25, 2009

Two new shows in October, at Myopic Books and Dovetail. Addresses, details, openings and other information are at the Far. And Near. blog.

Monday, September 21, 2009



[Milwaukee Avenue above Wood Street]

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

[Dearborn Avemue at Randolph Street]

Saturday, September 12, 2009

talk trails into tattered scraps

The young man walks by himself, fast but not fast enough, far but not far enough (faces slide out of sight, talk trails into tattered scraps, footsteps tap faster in alleys); he must catch the last subway, the streetcar, the bus, run up the gangplanks of all the steamboats, register at all the hotels, work in the cities, answer the want ads, learn the trades, take up the jobs, live in all the boardinghouses, sleep in all the beds. One bed is not enough,one job is not enough, one life is not enough...

Introduction to "USA" trilogy, John Dos Passos

[Wabash Avenue below Randolph Street]

Friday, September 11, 2009

reminded of the beauty of gesture

I have no politics to speak of,
but last week I bought a paperback version
of American History for Beginners.
At breakfast, I turned to the plume
of Hiroshima while munching
on the dark side of toast.
i was reminded of the beauty
of gesture--the “duck and cover” we learned
in grade school and how we crouched
under our desks from the Cold War...
Usually I wake at 6, brew coffee,
pack my knapsack, pull the door to,
and walk six-tenths of a mile to the train.
Today I slept late, dreaming
of flying in a small plane in a wobbly sky.
At the station, passengers loaded with hearts
come aboard, checking their watches.
Normally I don’t describe them.
Today I can’t help noticing the upright
bodies, the feet angled in as if to stay,
the tickettaker who hitches up his pants
and waits. Usually I look out the window,
or read the Times. Today I notice how
a little boy’s hair shines in the sun
and have the urge to feel his warmth
through my palm. I wonder about the synapses
that fire beneath the scalp
or our forward facing feet
when all we want is to go back...
Normally, I write about what I feel.
Now my biggest fear is failed
poems—the kind that take you
just short of understanding
and leave you there—your
hope thin, combustible
as the white flesh of cigarettes.

"Normally," Elizabeth Harrington

[Wabash Avenue at Lake Street]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

like honey in the trees

The evening light was like honey in the trees
When you left me and walked to the end of the street
Where the sunset abruptly ended...

Burnt horizons suddenly paved with golden stones,
Dreams I had, including suicide,
Puff out the hot-air balloon now.
It is bursting, it is about to burst
With something invisible
Just during the days.
We hear, and sometimes learn,
Pressing so close.

"A Mood of Quiet Beauty," John Ashbery

[Chicago Avenue west of Damen Avenue]

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

even the buildings

The act of dying
is like hitch-hiking
into a strange town
late at night
where it is cold
and raining,
and you are alone

all the street lamps
go out
and everything
becomes dark,
so dark
that even the buildings
are afraid
of one another.

"The Final Ride," Richard Brautigan

[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

until all that remains

Again your head full of novels
you'll definitely get down on paper
one of these days. And Prague? Budapest?
Hemingway or Che? The same old questions
(only a little bit less) night after night
for years. Until all that remains
are a few old acquaintances
over hot whiskeys whispering:
"Not quite here, yet not quite there.
His life just a fence he got piles sitting on":
as through the mild October streets your hearse makes haste.

"Time Gentlemen, Please," Kevin Higgins

[Chicago Avenue at Winchester Street]

Monday, September 7, 2009

such a pitch of tedium

He was supposed to be writing a twelve hundred-word so-called ‘think piece’ (intended to require zero thought on the part of the reader and scarcely more from the writer but still, somehow, beyond him) that had reached such a pitch of tedium that he’d spent half an hour staring at the one-line email to the editor who’d commissioned it: ‘I just can’t do this shit anymore. Yrs J.A.’

"Jeff in Venice, Death in Varenesi," Geoff Dyer

[Milwaukee Avenue, North Avenue And Damen Avenue]

Saturday, September 5, 2009

moving cross the borders

Hold on, hold on, my brother.
My sister, hold on tight.
I finally got my orders.
I’ll be marching through the morning,
Marching through the night,
Moving cross the borders
Of My Secret Life.

Looked through the paper.
Makes you want to cry.
Nobody cares if the people
Live or die.
And the dealer wants you thinking
That it’s either black or white.
Thank G-d it’s not that simple
In My Secret Life.

I bite my lip.
I buy what I’m told:
From the latest hit,
To the wisdom of old.
But I’m always alone.
And my heart is like ice.
And it’s crowded and cold
In My Secret Life.

"In My Secret Life," Leonard Cohen

[Ukrainian Village]

Friday, September 4, 2009

air smelled of burned rubber and melted wires

The men slowly toured the perimeter of the house, taking notes and photographs, like archeologists mapping out a ruin. Upon opening the back door, Vasquez observed that there was just enough space to squeeze past the refrigerator blocking the exit. The air smelled of burned rubber and melted wires; a damp ash covered the ground, sticking to their boots. In the kitchen, Vasquez and Fogg discerned only smoke and heat damage—a sign that the fire had not originated there—and so they pushed deeper into the nine-hundred-and-seventy-five-square-foot building. A central corridor led past a utility room and the master bedroom, then past a small living room, on the left, and the children’s bedroom, on the right, ending at the front door, which opened onto the porch. Vasquez tried to take in everything, a process that he compared to entering one’s mother-in-law’s house for the first time: “I have the same curiosity."

"Trial by Fire," David Grann

[Damen Avenue below Wicker Park]

Thursday, September 3, 2009

somehow lurking behind this absence

He absented himself from his reports, but left somehow lurking behind this absence the faint ghost of a detached, wryly amused onlooker.

"Travels With A Typewriter," Michael Frayn

[North Avenue and Damen Avenue]

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

no one hears his own remarks as prose

Unrhymed, unrhythmical, the chatter goes:
Yet no one hears his own remarks as prose.
Beneath each topic tunelessly discussed
The ground-bass is reciprocal mistrust.
The names in fashion shuttling to and fro
Yield, when deciphered, messages of woe.
You cannot read me like an open book.
I’m more myself than you will ever look.

Will no one listen to my little song?

A howl for recognition, shrill with fear,
Shakes the jam-packed apartment, but each ear
Is listening to its hearing, so none hear.

"At the Party," W.H. Auden

[Damen Avenue above Pontiac Street]

About Me

Chicago, Illinois, United States