Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sin gle in Ch i ca go: an erasure poem

Posted By on 07.10.12 at 09:32 AM

Whats missing from Stephanie Rosenbloom's article Single in Chicago?
  • Matt Ephraim / Flickr
  • The marquee of Chicago's stately HICAG theater
Are we still talking about "Single in Chicago," the New York Times's "breathy prose" poem to River North and its denim-and-flannel-clad suburb, Wicker Park?

Fair enough.

While I think we might be better advised to turn our collective cold shoulder on Stephanie Rosenbloom's travelogue of Sex and the Second City, so as to starve it of clicks and discourage her editors from assigning any future travel travesties, I think there's a way to uncover what's missing from the piece, and without sending any more traffic its way. I cut up "Single in Chicago," removing 90 percent of the words while distilling the story's meaning. (If only every article on Brooklyn in the Styles section could get the Humument treatment as well.) Read the poem after the jump.

Sin gle in Ch i ca go
It's hard to gawk at first: a giant glass beanstalk beyond.
Either way you’re single you can’t lose. Of course,
parachuting on one's own has its perils.

Chicago, though, is hardly a mass to explore
beneath New York, already loaded with Frank Sinatra.
This nearly 300-lightning bolt jam session sure doesn’t feel like a Doubletree.

Roof women brandishing Super Soaker water guns —
this much-ballyhooed, artsy constellation of theater,
public transportation, and minibar “intimacy kit” was
reasonably priced for a bird’s-eye view.

I swear I also heard frogs, the iPad app. There on the 27th floor.
Panoramic deck and floor-to-ceiling corncobs (as the locals call them)
lingered well past midnight, flanking a D.J., sprawling for tête-à-têtes.

“Are you visiting from New York?” One MeetUp group
specifically for tourists arrived at another Chicago:
no one looks at you when you stick a mess of stainless,
kidney-shaped context by boat, bus or bike.

I boarded the almost dead Great Chicago postwar revival
(once the largest in the world). “Density,” said our skyline
shimmering in the dying sun, “creates vitality.”

This time, the Windy City blew me.

Once you check, you zero, on the shadow of skyscrapers,
this is more New York. As I walked, a lumpy concoction
that single people can best jumble alone, clacking
their denim-and-flannel plush spots, headed for the man
and a curious thing happened: he looked at me.

I struggled. I waved appreciatively. That’s my kind of subway.

In Chicago, there are endless chic locals you will describe as meat
of a certain age. So I asked more often than I hoped to,
because I couldn’t decipher my map. You read that I had instantly
received a game changer for searching women teetering
in the meatpacking district. The remakes of Lone Gunman-types
inadvertently grabbed the town, people so affable,
intentionally or not, with Goldilocks-like resoluteness,
that felt dim (read: flattering). I slid from order.

Was it friendly? Chicago, you know.

STEPHANIE ROSENBLOOM is alone.

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