Thursday, April 30, 2009

gentle rain from heaven

The quality of mercy is not strain'd.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.

~ Shakespeare

[Damen Avenue below Haddon Street]

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

bathe and paddle about bucolically in a mild puddle

Scottish people drink spasmodically and intensely, for the sake of a momentary but complete release, whereas the English like to bathe and paddle about bucolically in a mild puddle of beer.

"Scottish Journey," Edwin Muir

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

indistinguishable from magic

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

~ Arthur C. Clarke

[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Monday, April 27, 2009

i like this kind of tension

I like this kind of tension, the films where a man and a woman do not want to fall in love with one another. They want simply to lie down or take a bath. But as their life is too dreadful, they move on and do another thing. I like when the characters look at each other while wondering: “But what am I doing? Why am I saying to him that tomorrow we will rob a bank?” At the same time, one is left with the feeling that at the time they've spent, they lived a very rich life.

~ Christian Petzold

[California Avenue below Chicago Avenue]

Sunday, April 26, 2009

a kind of gravity

It is strange when two people fancy one another, when liking turns into reciprocated desire: it is tangible. You can see and feel it as a physical force, a kind of gravity. Even when they were talking, on opposite sides of the table, not touching, their arms were reaching towards each other. When they spoke, their lips were on the brink of touching, just through the word they used. I looked on. I didn’t mind.

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

[Damen Avenue above Haddon Street]

Saturday, April 25, 2009

flat and coolly distant

Her voice is flat and coolly distant, so I imagine things aren't over between us.

"Shuffle," Leonard Michaels

[Damen Avenue above Lee Street]

Friday, April 24, 2009

here we go again

There are problems in these times,
But, woo!, none of them are mine!
Oh, baby, I'm beginning to see the light.
Here we go again,
I thought that you were my friend.
Here we go again,
I thought that you were my friend.
How does it feel, to be loved?
How does it feel, to be loved?
How does it feel, to be loved?
How does it feel, to be loved?

"Candy Says," Lou Reed

[East of Damen Avenue and Thomas Street; Damen Avenue below Division Street; Augusta Boulevard and Damen Avenue]

Thursday, April 23, 2009

take, for example

Chicago & Damen

There is always something for which there is no accounting. Take, for example, the whole world.

"Shuffle," Leonard Michaels Ascent

[Damen Avenue and Chicago Avenue; Damen Avenue below Division Street; Damen Avenue and Chicago Avenue]

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

like a perhaps

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.

"spring is like a perhaps hand," e. e. cummings

[Blue Line, Chicago Avenue platform]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


There is no design without discipline. There is no discipline without intelligence.

~ Massimo Vignelli

[Blue Line, Chicago Avenue platform]

Monday, April 20, 2009

wine is how words taste

So who'll drink first? You or me?
How specific our thirst is—for just this raisin,
just this weedy fragrance, the tannic
beatitudes of wine!
Do we abjure the proletariat of corn and hops?
We do!
Wine is how words taste, fermented in darkness,
releasing tongues from cobwebs that restrained them.

Old friend, I can see by the look on your face
something to tell me. Good or bad? Speak!

"Café des Artistes," John Hartley Williams

[Madison Street west of Wabash Avenue]

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life, and a secret life.

~ Gabriel García Márquez

[Near Augusta Avenue and Winchester Street]

Saturday, April 18, 2009

the doleful cello

The burnish of late afternoons
as winter ends—
this sadness coming in on waves is not round
and sweet
as the doleful cello

but jagged, intent
finding out places to get through the way wind
tries seams
and cracks of the old house, making
the furnace kick on

or the way his trumpet
through cloud and paradise shoal, nosing
out the dark fillet
to tear apart and drink his own

"Blue at 4 a.m.," August Kleinzahler

[Chicago Avenue east of Winchester Street]

Friday, April 17, 2009

a crowd of grand and confused images

Poetry is, therefore, superior to painting as a means of raising the passions, although the latter gives the clearest images. The fact is, that our ignorance of things causes all our admiration, and chiefly excites our passions. In great passages of Milton the mind is hurried out of itself by a crowd of grand and confused images, which affect because they are crowded and confused. The images of poetry are always obscure. To see a thing distinctly is to see its bounds, and cut it off from infinity. A clear idea is another name for a little idea.

"Sublime and Beautiful," Edmund Burke

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Thursday, April 16, 2009

there are two silences

There are two silences. One when no word is spoken. The other when perhaps a torrent of language is being employed. The speech we hear is an indication of that which we don’t hear. It is a necessary avoidance, a violent, sly, anguished or mocking smokescreen. When true silence falls, we are still left with echo but are nearer nakedness. One way of looking at speech is to say that it is a constant stratagem to cover nakedness.

~ Harold Pinter

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

an oblivion of care and a freedom from solicitude

As soon as I enter the door of a tavern I experience an oblivion of care and a freedom from solicitude: when I am seated, I find the master courteous, and the servants obsequious to my call; anxious to know and ready to supply my wants: wine there exhilarates my spirits, and prompts me to free conversation and an interchange of discourse with those whom I most love: I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight.

~ Samuel Johnson

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

double yolk

Furlough Mike gets egged

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

crushed cigarettes and kitchen matches

Everything old and poor and dusty calls to us.
We stalk the city, hunting the authentic.
It's pouring but we stand bareheaded,
soaking in our leaking raincoat.
We'd rather die than carry an umbrella.
We have no umbrella,
no hat, no gloves, no money for the streetcar.
All we have in our pockets is a dirty handkerchief,
crushed cigarettes and kitchen matches.

"Conscience," Jonathan Galassi

[Chicago Avenue at Winchester Street]

Monday, April 13, 2009

you had

The pillow talk of others: you had to be there.

"The Beholder," Thomas Farber

[Chicago Avenue east of Winchester Street]

Sunday, April 12, 2009



If the ocean were not in love, it would come to rest.

~ Rumi

[Chicago Avenue east of Winchester Street]

Saturday, April 11, 2009

haunted evenings and dark nights of secret assignations

GraspCity lightFull

All the beauty I ever saw before—yes, all of it; none of it abandoned—has turned into an archetypal image lost in the creeping foliage of my brain among thick lianas and the wide mouths of carniverous plants. Sometimes when the moon is full the creature stands in the moon-drenched glades of my dreaming mind and calls to me... As for the look of love, the face of love, long-lashed poetical glances brimming with creative fire—[t]his is the face of the unknown god lurking in blackness beyond the stars; the face that haunted evenings and dark nights of secret assignations, ecstatic couplings. The face I never found, the one to which the others only lead.

"Gazing," Constantine Cavafy

[Damen Avenue above Thomas Street]

Friday, April 10, 2009

must mean something

We move in and out of watching
Float around the hotel lobby like
They're all blowing air
We know it must mean something
But we just stare

~ Fountains of Wayne

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Thursday, April 9, 2009

night's friendly takeover

I have a suggestion to make: draw the sting out
as probingly as you please. Plaster the windows over
with wood pulp against the noon gloom proposing its enigmas,
its elixirs. Banish truth-telling.
That’s the whole point, as I understand it.
Each new investigation rebuilds the urgency,
like a sand rampart. And further reflection undermines it,
causing its eventual collapse. We could see all that
from a distance, as on a curving abacus, in urgency mode
from day one, but by then dispatches hardly mattered.
It was camaraderie, or something like it, that did,
poring over us like we were papyri, hoping to find one
correct attitude sketched on the gaslit air, night’s friendly takeover.

"Boundary Issues," John Ashbery

[California Avenue below Chicago Avenue]

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

makes me clumsy

Longing. Longing for a wave of love that would stir in me. That's what makes me clumsy. The absence of pleasure. Desire for love. Desire to love.

"Wings of Desire," Peter Handke, Wim Wenders

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

trop retro

The drinks of others

Je suis bien trop émotive
Faut pas trop que je rétrovise
Les souvenirs d'est trop retro
Et trop c'est trop

~ Serge Gainsbourg

[Chicago Avenue east of Winchester Street]

Monday, April 6, 2009

what they are


We love the things we love for what they are.

~ Robert Frost

[Damen Avenue below Haddon Street]

Sunday, April 5, 2009



I know one day I'll turn the corner and I won't be ready for it.

~ Jean-Michel Basquiat.

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Friday, April 3, 2009

things are going to happen that are going to shift your life and take it off the line you thought you were on

When I'm sitting in a room making a record, I'm pretty much the master of my own universe. Then I step out the door: Forget it. If you sat like the Unabomber and just wrote a manifesto, it would be this completely self-contained psychotic document. But if you go to the store or a bar or to a friend's house, things are going to happen that are going to shift your life and take it off the line you thought you were on. That's the beauty of the ride. That's what we're here for, to learn to roll with that ride.

~ Bob Mould.

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Thursday, April 2, 2009

down the streets of the big night world

They had lived with a bottle of Chianti between them, the scent hanging like a little purple veil between the roof and the million-candled carnival beyond—the window lights of the late office workers, piled one upon another above the river, the tavern lights that had bloomed like lilies touching each to each across the city's lawless deeps, the auto lights in one long forevering curve down miles and miles of boulevard where one dark driver after the other bore down the streets of the big night world...

"Entrapment," Nelson Algren (2009)

[Chicago Avenue east of Ashland Avenue; Damen Avenue below Haddon Street]

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

no one more ferocious

There was no sleeper more elegant than she, with her curved body posed for a dance and her hand across her forehead, but there was also no one more ferocious when anyone disturbed the sensuality of her thinking she was still asleep when she no longer was.

"Love in the Time of Cholera," Gabriel Garcia Marquez

[Chicago Avenue west of Winchester Street]

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Chicago, Illinois, United States

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