November 2nd, 2018 § permalink

The last sentence was going to be the first I wrote in Chicago. » Read the rest of this entry «

#1,000: The Ride Home

October 31st, 2018 § permalink

The North Side was a blur, as it should have been. I tried to play catch-up after lingering so long on the South. I was out of energy, out of sweat, felt bile rising in my stomach and my legs burned. I do OK for what I am, but I was not in shape for this weekend warrior nonsense.

And I couldn’t stop laughing.

Down some water. Laugh. Dip among traffic. Laugh. Cram an energy bar and stop by the tampon boxes, fast food wrappers and museum-pimping statuary that pool along the spot the Roosevelt Road bridge overlooks both river and the vacant Rezkoville and I laugh laugh laugh. » Read the rest of this entry «

#999: The Ride – Bridgeport to University Village

October 29th, 2018 § permalink

I was pleased to discover college students are still awful. » Read the rest of this entry «

#998: The Ride – Greater Grand Crossing to Bridgeport

October 26th, 2018 § permalink

The tree is on the corner of Harmony Boulevard and Ravinia Road — they give the streets silly names in the graveyard.

I read a few more of the names into the recorder I brought with me that ride day in July, but I couldn’t find the good recorder that morning. What tape I have is minutes of crackling and wind. I make out odd words like “pine cones,” “birds,” “Symphony Shores” and “I ask why, but HUSBAND Harry Davies (1880-1949) won’t answer.”

I’m typing this in October and I can’t remember why I found the graveyard so loving. » Read the rest of this entry «

#997: The Ride – South Deering to Greater Grand Crossing

October 24th, 2018 § permalink

Goldsmith Public School is for sale.

The building itself is Standard American Grade School with gray cement lintels over light tan bricks. Art Deco letters stating the school’s name were poured into cement, striving to make it look like the district hired a stonemason.

It’s an Art Deco starter set of a building, a school designed by someone who once heard of Frank Lloyd Wright. The windows are covered now.

There’s a relatively new but definitely crumbling playground around the back. Some plastic is melted, some chains are bent or broken. Some of the padded foam mats that replaced the mulch and gravel of my era of swingsets are missing. I don’t think children come here anymore. I later find why. » Read the rest of this entry «

#996: The Ride – Hegewisch to South Deering

October 22nd, 2018 § permalink

In morning, men who look like Santa Claus hop out of pickup trucks by the train tracks.

They’re in construction hardhats and neon clothing loud enough to give the engineer enough time to notice them and feel terrible forever before the train crashes into them. To a man, they’re white and fat. The old ones have burly white beards down to their collarbones. The younger ones, still in training, only have rolls of scruff barely reaching Adam’s apples.

Their morning is beginning. So is Chicago. » Read the rest of this entry «

#995: The Farm

October 19th, 2018 § permalink

By an abandoned train track in West Englewood, there is a half-block of land filled half with smatters of dying grass, half with crackling concrete, but Kristin Miodonski doesn’t see that.

She sees what it could be.  » Read the rest of this entry «

#994: Whatever Happened to the High Priestess of the Flappers?

October 17th, 2018 § permalink

One night in 1992, Kathy Moody got a call from her aunt. Mimmy had taken poison. » Read the rest of this entry «

#993: Death on Display (Or what’s the difference between a pickled punk and a pharaoh?)

October 15th, 2018 § permalink

I’m standing in a darkened room while soft, almost New Age music plays overhead. It’s relaxation-tape music, down to the odd moments of the simulated sounds of rainfall trickling around the carpet and glass.

I’m staring at a severed head. » Read the rest of this entry «

#992: Morning at the Huddle House

October 12th, 2018 § permalink

The woman in the hairnet with the inside-out Gildan T-shirt — the budget, budget, budget brand of the company that slings their high-end wares for top dollar at American Apparel — scrounged for the broken English that would get her the order of eggs, hashbrowns and single dollar bills in change rather than the five.

She shuffled from the diner counter to the vending machine against the wall.

“My dreams, they aren’t as empty,” The Who wailed from the radio as the woman fed the bills into the Lotto scratch ticket machine. “As my conscience seems to be.”

It was morning at the Huddle House Grill. » Read the rest of this entry «

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