Sunday, February 28, 2010

we like simile

Metaphor is for poets, kids. We hard-boiled guys go for palpable factology. We like simile. Like or as. Like a dream. As if in a dream. Except the kind that exist out there in the Zeitgeist. You can put your meathooks on 'em. My dream is a condo in the clouds.

"In a Pig's Valise," Eric Overmeyer

[Chicago Avenue west of California Avenue]

Saturday, February 27, 2010

searching for a magic door

Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace from which we have been dispossessed by a greedy swindler.

"More Stately Mansions," Eugene O'Neill

[Hoyne Street below Augusta Boulevard]

Friday, February 26, 2010

cold, bright eyes

[O]utside the snow beat evenly and monotonously against the window panes. Andrews pictured himself vaguely walking fast through the streets, with the snow stinging his face and the life of a city swirling about him, faces flushed by the cold, bright eyes under hatbrims, looking for a second into his and passing on; slim forms of women bundled in shawls that showed vaguely the outline of their breasts and hips. He wondered if he would ever be free again to walk at random through city streets.

"Three Soldiers," John Dos Passos

[Chicago Avenue west of Leavitt Street]

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.

"Acquainted With the Night," Robert Frost

[Division Street east of Damen Avenue]

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

see her trembling lips

Parrot reflections, receding mimicries of words and movement. And the settling shapes were familiar in every detail. Again and again, repeated around him, twice on the couch, in the easy chair, close beside him—so close he could hear her breath and see her trembling lips.

"Upon the Dull Earth," Philip K. Dick

[Damen Avenue above Chicago Avenue]

Monday, February 22, 2010

the wind, the wind is blowing

There were three of us this morning
I'm the only one this evening
but I must go on;
the frontiers are my prison.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we'll come from the shadows.

"The Partisan," Leonard Cohen

[Above Chicago Avenue east of Western Avenue]

Sunday, February 21, 2010

butterfly's torn wing

On the white poppy,
a butterfly’s torn wing
is a keepsake

~ Basho

[Chicago Avenue west of Winchester Street]

Saturday, February 20, 2010

a depression so profound

That's what writing is to me: a way of ­postponing the day when I won't do it any more, the day when I will sink into a depression so profound it will be indistinguishable from perfect bliss.

~ Geoff Dyer

[The Hand of Seth, North Avenue at Honore Street]

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I am the ghost of an infamous suicide

~ Sylvia Plath

[Chicago Avenue east of Washtenaw Street]

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

candy baby

Candy, Candy, Candy I can't let you go
All my life you're haunting me
I loved you so
Candy, Candy, Candy I can't let you go
Life is crazy, I know baby, Candy baby

uou uou uou
Candy, Candy, Candy I can't let you go
All my life you're haunting me, I loved you so

Candy Candy Candy, life is crazy,candy baby

candy baby, candy, candy

"Candy," James Osterberg

[California Avenue below Chicago Avenue]

Monday, February 15, 2010

winnow the superfluous

As you get older, you should get impatient with showing off in literature. It is easier to settle for blazing light than to find a language for the real. Whether you are a writer or a bird-dog trainer, life should winnow the superfluous language. The real thing should become plain. You should go straight to what you know best... you want something that is drawn like a bow, and a bow is a simple instrument. A good writer should get a little bit cleaner and probably a little bit plainer as life and the oeuvre go on.

~ Thomas McGuane

[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Sunday, February 14, 2010

physical effect

O what a physical effect it has on me
To dive forever into the light blue sea
Of your acquaintance!

"In Love with You," Kenneth Koch

[Chicago Avenue west of Damen Avenue]

Thursday, February 11, 2010


You slept in the earth
to avoid the stars.

"Photograph 3014: Execution of an Unknown Child, Frame 5," Simone Muench

[Rice Street at Damen Avenue]

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

of your smell

Record of your smell.
Sun-wet. Songfleck.

"Photograph 3014: Execution of an Unknown Child: Frame 6," Simone Muench

[Damen Avenue above Thomas Street]

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

i shout love

I shout love in a blizzard's
scarf of curling cold,
for my heart's a furred sharp-toothed thing
that rushes out whimpering
when pain cries the sign writ on it.

I shout love into your pain
when skies crack and fall
like slivers of mirrors,
and rounded fingers, blued as a great rake,
pluck the balled yarn of your brain.

I shout love at petals peeled open
by stern nurse fusion-bomb sun,
terribly like an adhesive bandage,
for love and pain, love and pain
are companions in this age.

"I Shout Love," Milton Acorn

[Winchester Street below Augusta Boulevard]

Monday, February 8, 2010

rain-rinsed hair, river tresses

Train track flutter girl; coriander lips and Prohibition ale. That empty mouth like a bottle on a man's neck. Marabou soft, doe's muzzle on a pomegranate split, ultraviolet. You might have to rid yourself of all the boys, mostly rapscallions. How they feel under hands: red fish, big branches caught in your rain-rinsed hair, river tresses. For your ankle, a thread of nine carat bone. While the crossbuck sign bells with danger, citronella girls smoke Parliaments with a felon; your campfire jaw, a kerosene swoon.

"The Train Track," Simone Muench

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Sunday, February 7, 2010

heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss

What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?

~ Rob Gordon (John Cusack), "High Fidelity," based on a book by Nick Hornby

[Thomas Street east of Damen Avenue]

Saturday, February 6, 2010

zombie drunk from fermented peaches

Sweet Kristy of the culvert, the ankle turn, the verb imperfect, and sailors' notebooks. In this metropolis of binoculars and chicken bones, in this city black with chicken-wire alchemists and bloody gutters, she feigns a fever in her red brassiere, her lavender dress lilting across headlights of chrome sedans: skin livid-exquisite with light bulbs and batteries beneath sinister-shouldered men, zombie drunk from fermented peaches and her silk stocking smell. Sweet Kristy of the corset, born of Anne Boleyn and a bird collector, born of alum and blindfolds, born to unzip men's breath, their clamorous wrists with an alphabet on her breast, a switchblade pinned to her taffeta thigh. Where are you leading with your eyelets and hooks, catching men with clothespins and rain in the perfect sphere of your dance hall mouth.

"The Fever," Simone Muench

[Chicago Avenue west of Washtenaw Street]

Friday, February 5, 2010

but the juke had long stopped playing

Then he bought a drink for everyone in the place, but did not drink with a man of them; and when they had drunk he sent all of them out onto the street for keeps. He locked, the door, poured himself a shot, turned on the juke, and sat alone beside it, among the empty chairs, thinking of his own life and of all the days to come. When morning came he was still sober, but the juke had long stopped playing. Although he had drunk steadily all night, he had never felt soberer in his life. Moving like an old man, though he was barely forty, he put the chairs on the table and his cap on his head. Then he went to the register, punched out NO SALE, and closed his doors forever.

"The Face on the Barroom Floor," Nelson Algren

[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

at your funeral

No more talk about the death of the novel; the novel will be at your funeral.

~ Richard Price

[Chicago Avenue west of Leavitt Street]

About Me

Chicago, Illinois, United States