Journal Starting with R
6 min readMar 28, 2022

They take Lightfoot’s Brown Line, her White Line, from Damen, because Lightfoot’s Red Line, her Black Line, is a National Disgrace.

They get off at Washington n’ Wells, the Corner Bakery still there, and the other place where they fell in the snow, now a Chicago Bagel Authority.

There isn’t a table at The Dearborn, so let’s not stay here, standing behind fresh coast supermodels named after colonizers.

They end up at a theatre restaurant that they thought used to be a Corner Bakery but the Corner Bakery, shuttered, is one store over.

They say to themselves, red sauce joint, stroke inside themselves, Serpico’s beard, watch careful gigolos in top hats, Stratford-upon-Avon MILFs; a living, breathing, non-binary piano man aping Arabesque #1, Gymnopedie #2.

Insert a line they don’t know that Conor will sing later: you can’t unhear Beethoven’s Fifth.

They see a beautiful man who never stops staring at me.

They talk about the joys in using social media incorrectly.

They talk about how Instagram is ruining a generation of young girls.

They talk about the doula as a professional service, like the lawyer, the plumber, the accountant.

There really isn’t anything fun about raising children, they say, but this week my kid aggressively asked a happily divorced woman, “do you ever stop talking for one second?”

They learn the concept of the forever home.

They talk about how St. Peter’s is like that Star Wars quote: we count 30 rebel ships, Lord Vader, but deez n-word-ending-in-a are so small they’re evading our turbo lasers.

They talk about what it means to be a capital G gambler, bring up Uncut Gems on Criterion.

There’s some meme about Julia Fox being an inspiration.

They haven’t seen each other since before Covid.

It’s been really great, this time catching up.

They decide to skip the opener, player to be named later.

Walking, they agree not to speak of masks.

They smoke cigarettes outside of the theater and talk about masks.

Bright Eyes opens with the first song on their new album and everyone in the band and in the crowd is someone I knew before, someone I know now, someone I wish I still knew — the musicians on the stage and the fans in the crowd are all of those, all of them, all of me.

There’s the bandmate who’s been with Conor forever, sweet prince, blowing a castellated horn.

Bright Eyes has a ~20-piece string set with them and the players can’t stop smiling those score-bought smiles music-nerds smile when they support music-cools.

They wonder if they are another traveling band, the economics of all that, and they say the word Duke Ellington & then giggle, but there’s nothing funny about Duke Ellington.

The thing about a Bright Eyes concert is that the music for the morning after, in the late March January sun, are the Conor Oberst solo albums you wouldn’t have heard the night before.

They run to the front of the stage during ‘I Believe in Symmetry’ and not not in love with the spacious world, nor any longer unpregnant with possibility, place my hands on my heart when Conor sings: on silver stars I wish and wish and wish.

It’s a very Robert Smith-y line, isn’t it, and not only because it’s unable to contain the word wish.

They think about silver and what silver girls actually means — they still don’t know — in Simon & Garfunkel, The National, Bright Eyes, etc., the glow of vape pens like Li’s microfireflies.

They thank the Black women standing at the exit doors.

They give a querying Black man a fiver.

Every woke hallway has a camera.

No I don’t want to go to Logan and drink at the Bob Inn are you fucking kidding me.

The river isn’t green anymore and how gaily the wind whistles in our ears.

Fido’s is actually O’Callaghans, which weirdly has a line, so they go to Mother’s, which has an even longer line, but at the Kerryman a blonde wearing a Gucci belt makes them swing her around during the chorus, so deftly constructed, of ‘I Want it That Way.’

Her boyfriend, who is in Vegas, she says questionably, bet against Arkansas, and she’ll have to find tonight’s answer with a lesser man, or the wife she’s sharing recipes with during the next drink, the wife’s husband a soap impression memorizing the Duke highlights, embarking on a calorie-deficit-journey this very Monday.

I am trying to get us to leave so I can be alone and do what, silly rabbit, patriarchy is for kids.

Did you know there’s this app, called Curbed, where the cab will be 30% less than it will be on Uber or Lyft, like, all of the time, and all you have to do is go to the App store, search for Curbed, scroll by the ad for Uber and/or Lyft, download Curbed, and input your credit card information.

One way to explain writer’s block is that you are wrapped tight, and not in that Coleman Hawkins sense. You are wrapped tight in shrink wrap, you are a fetish category horror story, your soul, your eyes, your dreams, your broth, everything’s covered, and then that ends, maybe, and if you didn’t accidentally drink yourself to death on purpose your miso breaks in the bowl like water damage on the yellow walls of a stoneground noodle.

It’s been so amazing to see you, please send me a text that you got home OK, okay? It’ll have a drunk typo I will superscript with a haha.

They tell themselves they are going to walk all the way home, or at least by her old apartment, in their dark chocolate brogues, but it’s too cold, even for them, to even make it to Chicago Avenue, so they hum Ryan’s line, I’ve been thinking some of suicide but there’s bars out here for miles, and head back into the Kerryman, where they don’t answer a woman in a white leather mini and black fishnets — even though the contrast is striking, even though they emote to themselves in *extreme Yasi Salek voice*, she’s not wrong — and hail themselves a Curbed.

Failing to get their seat belt on, not even coming close, really, they remember, suddenly, a woman-under-27 who rushed the stage when Big Thief started ‘Paul’ after Pitchfork that summer, and how she placed her hands on her heart when Adrianne sang, I’ll be a real tough cookie with the whiskey breath — they hope she had a good pandemic.

On the ride uptown they watch the curtained lake and think nothing, making out with the breath in their mask.

They don’t even look at the tentburbs on the cityside of the Drive and say nothing.

They don’t even think about Ani’s line about seeing Orion and saying nothing.

They walk around the block, swell at the Promote Black Joy sign, feeling as though they haven’t done it, and stop smoking the organic cigarette.

When they are through eating the supremacy-based dumplings and soy succotash, they read the Orgy w/ da Beotches chapter of Fuccboi and, because it looks like Star Trek is on Paramount Plus now, watch the Season 2 finale of Girls, remembering when they had a torso like Charlie, and they root Adam Sackler on to drink again, and Adam Sackler does, and they think about how Jenni & Lena and the rest of the writers in the writer’s room casually drew a connection, in this episode, between falling off the wagon and date-raping a woman who has a great time at brunch.

And yet, wanting to masturbate in the dark to Marnie and/or/with the blonde in the silver-linked Gucci belt, they instead learn the sentence is an anal surprise, aided by the imitation that picks you up like a habit, aided by their tiny, tiny readership, aided by Foster Grant.



Journal Starting with R

“With each list I’ve assembled, I’ve asked myself variations on similar questions. Why the dearth of journals beginning with R followed by so many S’s?”