Chicago Street Lit

Visual literature in a cold Chicago night






Quintessential Chicago Set

So After-Words Used Books store is one of my favorite spots Downtown. The main floor is predominately books in mint condition. The selection is GREAT. There is plenty of contemporary and classic literature. The best place in After-Words, however, is the basement (featured below). The books are used but remain in very good conditions. Books that have been sitting on the shelves for -if I remember correctly- over a year receive a special discount taken at the register. I believe it is 25% off? All in all, it’s so typically Chicago.

The bricks, the sophisticated dirtiness, the jazz…IMG_8450 IMG_8455

Speaking of jazz…

After-Words happens to be a part of The Ultimate Trifecta of Chicago and Possibly the World. I am a very reliable source for this type of information, by the way. I am an authority on pretty much everything I talk about. So anyway, After-Words follows Star of Siam and precedes The Jazz Market. The locales are adjacent to one another and make for the perfect outing. Lunch or dinner at Siam followed by indulging in a bastion of books and concluded by a trek into the kingdom of jazz.


Pull Jack Kerouac’s Daisy, why dontcha?

I found this at the Market. WTF DOE

IMG_8457 IMG_8458 IMG_8460 IMG_8461I found this gem. I was proud. This is a simple sentence.


Here are some more pictures from my trip because why not? I ain’t been to Chicago in a miiinute. Despite my being a Downtown regular, I am always taken aback by the majesty of the cement. Chicago is regal. The mountains of glass on concrete do not cease to amaze me.










street lit

I feel like Congress and the commerce clause because of the pictures directly irrelevant to the subject of literature but justified by my adroit skill of interconnectivity acrobacy. Go figure.

OUTLINE // The Hip-Hop Proposal

Since I am not busy enough and because I am infinitely curious, I am on a quest. A quest of the lyrical persuasion.

I have found that I am not as well versed as I would like to be in the art of hip-hop. I don’t want to make hip-hop (because I can’t [or so I think]), but I do want to know it. I want to take it to coffee and ask it questions about its past lessons and future dreams; I want to snuggle up to hip-hop and as I stroke its cheek, whisper my questions about its life and culture and who it thinks itself to be; as we hold hands and walk around the elusive streets of Compton, I want to listen to its take on the dynamics of rap; and as we sit eating Chinese food, I want to finally understand what it is. Who are you, Hip-Hop?

Because this is a very normal way to want to spend one’s free time, I invite you all to join me. In this journey, we will explore the life of the mind of a culture (probably) foreign to us. We will be tourists, voyeurs of sorts. I know that every single one of you wants to be a part of this entourage, but here is a list of my prerequisites in ascending order:

>You should enjoy trains and/or be able to drive
>You must like LOVE Asian food (because we’re going to be in Chicago a lot. Need I explain more???)
>You must be willing to try new things despite how initially nefarious, boring, absurd, or unorthodox they may seem. This definitely applies to food. Food is a big part of this project. Because why not.
>Must like and be able to walk around. Sometimes aimlessly. For funsies.
>You must be interested.
>You must be interesting.
>You must be curious.
>You must really want to do this. Ain’t no games.

Not everyone is cut out to be a part of this team that as of this moment includes only one person (me), I will concede. Please send all applications in the form of a tweet, message, e-mail, text, smoke signals, billboard, mixtape, poem, novella (novels will NOT be accepted), postage, >>serenata con mariachi<<, tshirt, or tattoo (must show proof). The applications should consist of a short paragraph explaining why you think you should be chosen over everyone else, how you will benefit from this experience, how *****I***** will benefit from your company (very important), and your preferred type of cookie. Include also your favorite poem and/or song of the moment, the color of your eyes, if you have facial hair (these participants are generally given preference) or if you had it at some point but for whatever reason decided that tis was not the season (must elaborate on reason), and an original rhyme scheme. All applications must be submitted on or before February 3rd, 2013 at 11:59 PM CENTRAL Time. My email is Many will enter; few will win.

If you live outside these beautiful United States of America, you are automagically accepted. Actually, if you live anywhere not within a 10 minute drive radius, you are automagically accepted. The further I can extend this project, the better. Merci pour votre temp.

Here is the tentative work syllabus. Please read carefully before applying.


The purpose of this project is to engage in an enriching attempt to learn about and be a part of Hip-Hop, if only for a moment. It is also a good excuse to go Downtown to hang out at record shops. (pffftttt like I needed an excuse.)


-Go to Chicago to document the bucket bangers, as I have so eloquently called them.
*hip-hop (music) shops –> talk to workers (assuming I think them to be knowledgable) and ask questions like

  • What is hip-hop?
  • What is the difference between rap and hip-hop?
  • Who are the Greats, and what made them great?

*in clothes shops –> talk to workers about

  • the existence of style
  • what is the style?
  • is it important?


-Attempt to interview the bucket bangers; ask if they have a name of choice, first of all.

  • Why do they do this, specifically?
  • How did they come together? As a group? Or do people join any time?
  • Do they come up with everything on the spot?
  • How much longer will they do this?
  • What is their favorite thing about it?

~Try to film the interviews. Note-taking should be last resort. Definitely take pictures in action and before or after the interview.


  1. What are the quintessential Hip-Hop albums?
  2. Who were/are the prominent artists and what, if any, are the recurrent themes?
  3. What are the changes and continuities of hip-hop and rap?
  4. What are their histories?
  5. explore the linguistics of hip-hop

The fifth bullet didn’t occur to me until late last night as I tirelessly wrote out my draft. Ironically, I feel that #5 is going to be one of -if not THE- biggest foci of this project, simply because of who I am and in what I am interested. For this facet, I will need to find someone who is an authority on linguistics and/or hip-hop.  Please let me know if you or someone you know could potentially fill this role! I will ask a few questions and probably for a few recommendations. Display of gratitude will be in the form of cookies and a virtual hug. Holla at a homegurl.


-Find ways to study Milwaukee
-Venture to DEEEETTRRROOIIIIITTTT this summer. No explanation needed.

This can be your second home. Think about it.

This can be your second home. Think about it.

“Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Fe0ffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!”



G. Nolst Trenité, a.k.a. “Charivarius”; 1870 – 1946