#833: The Missing Bookstore

August 23rd, 2017 § permalink

Gone are the hobbit-hole passageways. Gone are the secret rooms one lingering after the other like a maze made of sociology texts and coming-of-age novels. Gone are the low ceilings and sense of being wrapped, buried or swaddled in book after book after book.

The new Seminary Co-op Bookstore is gorgeous. It’s open and airy with a massive collection under high ceilings. You have space to move, breathe, turn around without accidentally bumping knocking over an endcap of Very Hungry Caterpillars.

I thought we had come to the wrong place. » Read the rest of this entry «

#832: Calumet Fisheries

August 21st, 2017 § permalink

The car in front of us was a BMW, that’s what I noticed first.

It made sense, of course. Calumet Fisheries on the 95th Street Bridge is for all comers. Rich and poor, young and old, black and brown and white all file in by car or bike to the little shack on the Calumet River. » Read the rest of this entry «

#831: The Eclipse, Charlottesville and a Timeout for America

August 18th, 2017 § permalink

On Monday, the sky will darken, and we’ll see a universe greater than we can ever hope to be.

If we choose to use it. » Read the rest of this entry «

#830: Light and the Rocket

August 16th, 2017 § permalink

A child I knew just killed a man. » Read the rest of this entry «

#829: We Sang Chicago

August 14th, 2017 § permalink

We sang Chicago to each other.

We sang its highs and lows. We sang its long, straight streets perfect for getting lost when you’re in the mood to do so. We sang the communities that made us young black girls and the bars that made us wild and wanton gentrifiers.

And I even got a free pin. » Read the rest of this entry «

#828: Unread

August 11th, 2017 § permalink


Happy Birthday. I hope you have a good one. It’s nice you won’t have to work.

I hope you enjoy the book and remember your sister while your reading it. I love you. Enjoy your birthday.

Love your sis,


I put the spray-painted copper copy of “Clear and Present Danger” back on the shelf in the fake child’s room. It slid easily between similarly coppered copies of “A Monetary History of the United States 1867-1960” and a Tom Clancy’s “Without Remorse” that, based on a stamp on the title page, once belonged to a dentist from Santa Rosa, California. » Read the rest of this entry «

#827: The Official Collagen of the Chicago Cubs and Other Dumb Corporate Partnerships

August 9th, 2017 § permalink

Wrigleyville when the Cubs aren’t playing is a desolate place.

The economy has girded itself to boom and bust. The lines of bars stand vacant, save for a barkeep idly tapping an iPad or a geared-up waitress in V-neck T and skirt staring longingly out the window. The empty merch stores get a rare chance to straighten their wares and even the beggars seem content to let the odd passerby go unquestioned.

At the field that feeds the neighborhood, the TV screens on the upper level outdoor bar patio show a multicolor test pattern, as the famous Wrigley sign sings an electronic message to lonely, fanless streets:

“Vital Proteins, Official Collagen of the Chicago Cubs” » Read the rest of this entry «

#826: Lapse, Part 2

August 7th, 2017 § permalink

The water still laps in the morning. The gulls still swoop and the geese still make too-low passes that make you wonder about dive-bomb threats to your health and hygiene.

There’s still a city to the south and safe-wrapped suburbia to the north. And if the sun glints at a different angle between a.m. and p., it does so over the same sand and prairie grass.

There’s still a concrete pier shaped like a question mark jutting out into the water. » Read the rest of this entry «

#825: The Poetry of Starbucks

August 4th, 2017 § permalink

One of the more grandiose dreams of this project is to chart for future historians what Chicago was really like.

I’d like a future researcher to stumble on whatever online archives come, and fall in love some line I wrote about how Chicago in 2K17 looked, sounded, smelled. I want to provide a bit of color, an unattributed quote in some future textbook about the lives and migratory patterns of Great North American Chicagoan in the dawn of the 2000s.

Unfortunately, “what it was like” is less and less “what makes it unique” each day.

So for this blog, this post, this day in the future’s history, I’m looking at a Starbucks. » Read the rest of this entry «

#824: Lapse

August 2nd, 2017 § permalink

There’s no such thing as silence in a city.

Oh, I’m sure there are empty rooms, abandoned corridors, deep dank tunnels where all you can here is the drip drip drip of a long-forgotten pipe.

But in general, the lapping of the water and screaming of sanctuary birds is the best chance we have. » Read the rest of this entry «

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