#444: Didn’t Kick the Bucket Day

February 27th, 2015 § permalink

My friend Joann spent two-and-a-half months eating dessert first.

She had a sickly, six-and-a-half month pregnancy that culminated in a fight with her ex over sandwiches and an appointment for one of those shots you need when your baby is a different blood type than you are.

At the appointment, they told her she wasn’t going anywhere. They told her to get some tests. » Read the rest of this entry «

#443: The Wit and Whimsy of the Chicago Jagoff

February 25th, 2015 § permalink

Any night you end with a magazine you’re featured in and an original portrait of 1920s Mayor William Hale “Big Bill” Thompson is a good one. » Read the rest of this entry «

#442: Across Pulaski, Across Cicero

February 23rd, 2015 § permalink

For all the North Side’s talk of diversity, Albany Park is a neighborhood that really lives it.

It’s a place where posters for accordion-drenched Mexican Norteña bands get taped to the sides of Korean-language newspaper boxes. The walk west along Lawrence brings Ecuadorian restaurants, Indo-Pak grocery bazaars, barbershops with signs that say both “Se Habla Español” and “Free WiFi,” travel agencies with hand-painted signs promising low-cost trips to “India, Pakistan, Europe, Middle East, S. America & Africa.”

It’s a place where people work, live, breathe alongside each other. » Read the rest of this entry «

#441: Never Trust the Angels

February 20th, 2015 § permalink

A rumbling, trundling train shikky shaking south on the Brown Line tracks, the car’s floor whitened with the dusky winter swirls of dripped then dried snow and salt from commuter boots.

And an ad on the wall saying Le Cordon Bleu is “The #1 Culinary School in America*” » Read the rest of this entry «

#440: Wookiee Mistake

February 18th, 2015 § permalink

For the last several weeks, my commute has been haunted by a Wookiee. » Read the rest of this entry «

#439: The Ringmaster

February 16th, 2015 § permalink

The man shuffled about the Grand Red Line station in the Friday night rush.

He was short, gray-haired and trim, surprisingly trim. He was in very good shape for a man his age. He was white and well-appointed, fashion-wise. A long, black coat was buttoned tightly around his suit.

He had a friendly smile that didn’t quite reach his deep, sunken eyes.

He paused to take a picture with a young Latino woman, then thanked her and looked around the train station for the next person to be pleasant at.

I walked up and reached out to shake his hand.

“Nice to meet you,” I said.

“Nice to meet you too,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel replied. » Read the rest of this entry «

#438: The Unfortunate Mystery of the Artists Colony Where You Can Buy Integrated Business Solutions

February 13th, 2015 § permalink

“Art is Long,” the curlicued letters carved in stone said on one side of the second story window bay. “Time is Fleeting.”

Over the other window, it completed what I found out later was a Longfellow poem: “So be Up and Doing, Still Achieving, Still Pursuing.”

It was a bank in a high-shopping slip of State Street, one midway between my two jobs. Paper cup of low-rent coffee in my hand and urbanites bustling around, I paused to look back and forth between the signs. » Read the rest of this entry «

#437: The Lucky Seat

February 11th, 2015 § permalink

It’s a moment that must be discussed in urban life. The lucky opening on a train or bus that turns out not to be.

It happened most recently on a train from O’Hare. A haul down the stairs they put up to replace the elevator a Blue Line crashed through. A jog down the path toward already dinging, about-to-leave ‘L’ cars. A last-minute heave through the doors into a crowded car with, somehow, two empty seats.

I hopped toward one of the seats, then hopped away before I sat down. I crossed to the other end of the car to stand next to a bicyclist who would ram people with wheels as his rolling machine sloshed around the train’s stops and starts.

It was as far as I could get from the empty, open seats. » Read the rest of this entry «

#436: The Mayoral Candidates’ Campaign Finance Paperwork in the Style of Great Poets of History

February 9th, 2015 § permalink

All poetry has been based on the candidates’ most recent D-2 quarterly reports and any A-1 reports made available on the Illinois State Board of Election’s website as of Feb. 8, 2015. » Read the rest of this entry «

#435: The Egg Stares

February 6th, 2015 § permalink

It’s late at night. The whisper of an air vent and the clatter of the keyboard forming these words are the only sounds.

An egg stares at me from my desk. » Read the rest of this entry «

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