pausing and gazing and bending and stopping

I biked home last night around 1am. It was just cool enough and Damen was completely deserted from Addison all the way up to Bryn Mawr, then to Glenwood straight up to the Great North of Rogers Park.

My friend Ricky and I were unlocking our bikes after the show last night. He lives in Pilsen. The theater is in Andersonville. It's probably about a 15-mile ride for him each way.

Me: That's kind of a haul for you, right?

Ricky: Yeah, but it's fun. Especially late, on the way home. You know what I mean?

Me: I do. It's like the closest thing to being invisible.

Ricky: Yeah.

So I whirred through the dark streets silently on my bike, feeling like I owned Chicago and all its beautiful peaceful friendly neighborhoods. The only thing lit up was the all-night car wash at the northernmost tip of Damen. One man was washing his car at one in the morning.

In the 5 miles I rode, I thought that I must have passed thousands of people sleeping peacefully, stacked neatly in their apartments, drifting off.

I figured out that I liked Walt Whitman in 9th grade, and though I've definitely gone through phases of being too cool for him, I've still hung onto the same gray book of his poems. One of my first favorites was this one. Here's a tiny taste, just enough for a blog.

The Sleepers

I wander all night in my vision,
Stepping with light feet .... swiftly and noiselessly stepping and stopping.
Bending with open eyes over the shut eyes of sleepers;
Wandering and confused .... lost to myself .... ill-assorted .... contradictory,
Pausing and gazing and bending and stopping.

Lately I've been pretty happy, which by the new definition, means pretty successful.

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