The Last One Ended

1. The last one ended in April, when Thursday night meant spending the equivalent of eight American dollars for an unexpectedly magnificent double bill of jazz; the next one began the following morning in May, as local and imported police rained tear gas on the throngs of citizens which had assembled to demand more of its elected officials.

2. The last one ended downtown in August when the guy I had just walked past on the street who I thought looked a lot like the writer whose work I would describe as “perhaps the best being done today” was indeed the writer whose work I would describe as “perhaps the best being done today.” The next one began a short while later after he and I had finished talking shop there at the corner of Dearborn and Madison.

3. The last one ended in a bar November in New York City, as the bartender related stories of how he used to come down to this neighborhood from the Bronx “to get heroin or whatever else was around.” Now, he said, “people come down here just to imagine how cool it used to be, but believe me: it wasn’t cool. Terrifying was more like it.” The next one began when an old friend of his bought a round for everyone in the house.

4. A year ends every day, but a new one is of course always just behind it. This and the next dare not be any different.

Chicago, IL / December 30, 2015

An essay of mine for The Billfold:

He traces these tiny signifiers of his own scattershot trail across the globe: Ohio; South Korea; Ireland; Alabama; New Zealand. He notices an unmarked stripe of Earth running diagonally to the northeast. He runs his finger along its surface, reciting the names of cities and nations until he finds one that resonates, one that sounds to him like that unidentifiable It.

Istanbul, Turkey & Chicago, IL / May 3 & July 6, 2015