Chicago is …

  • a hot dog salesman grimacing at the mention of ketchup
  • a man panhandling at a stop light
  • a sea of North Face jackets jogging next to Lake Michigan
  • a river dyed green
  • the third largest city that still calls itself the Second City
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10 Midwestern Photos, Without Context

See here, here, or here for photos I took in New York. Apologies that not all of these are as high-res as I would like them to be.

Caveat: I obviously didn’t take picture #10 because I’m in it (as is fellow writesman Jake). That one was taken by someone or another who was in Montage Literary Arts Journal.

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St. Louis is …

  • two high school seniors skipping rocks on the riverfront the summer before college
  • free parking at the casino
  • Bud and baseball
  • thin crust pizza with cheese that sticks to your teeth
  • war stories swapped in the plasma donation clinic waiting room
  • a school bus permanently hanging off the edge of a downtown building
  • a friendly game of washers in the back yard
  • a grown man whose first question when he meets you is where you went to high school
  • a job whose benefits include free cases of beer
  • table shuffleboard in a dive bar
  • a jog in Forest Park
  • a new best friend you meet and forget in the same night
  • a smiling drunk peeing in the sink at Oktoberfest
  • an abandoned house with its windows falling in
  • spaced out skyscrapers
  • screened in outdoor smoking
  • a closed Catholic church
  • an eastbound strip club pilgrimage
  • a dirty joke told by a stranger
  • teenagers taking selfies under the Arch

Alton, IL is … Part 2

  • a dead eyed waitress on the graveyard shift
  • a chorus of birds performing just for you on your short walk to the car
  • an old woman watching all the cars pass her house
  • hedge apples pounding down on your roof
  • an empty beer case burning in a bonfire
  • weak coffee you can’t stop drinking
  • a bald eagle on vacation
  • a line of cars at 2 a.m. at a drive thru
  • a sad little shopping mall that smells fantastic at Chrismastime
  • a woman with a cheap haircut giving a man a cheap haircut
  • an argument about coupons
  • an entire small town gathered for a Halloween Parade
  • a guy who needs his Pepsi and cigarettes so badly he gets them delivered to his car by a woman he doesn’t tip
  • a bad first impression of someone you never let go
  • a pack of wannabe drag racers
  • a fresh college grad settling for a job in retail
  • a bar with free popcorn and cheap shrimp
  • a wad of cash in transit from the check cashing counter to the slot machine
  • a firm handshake from a smiling man with calloused hard hands
  • a place you’re from that stays with you wherever you go

See my first list of things Alton is at my previous blog post.

The Upper West Side is …

  • Sunday brunch with a cool grandma
  • a Westhighland terrier
  • a jazz man playing solo outside Trader Joe’s
  • a self-proclaimed Dive Bar that’s not a dive
  • the ghost of Teddy Roosevelt
  • a woman who wears floral dresses every night of the week
  • a man with a black ponytail, salt-and-pepper beard, and a purple beret
  • a picnic on a boulder
  • girls’ night out at a wine bar
  • a long talk on a long walk
  • an ornate building standing proud
  • a cafe next to a cafe next to another cafe
  • a jogger weaving through pedestrians on Broadway
  • a couple who married and moved uptown from SoHo
  • a tourist snapping photos of Tom’s Restaurant
  • hot tea on a fall night
  • an ugly old brooch on a pretty young woman
  • a first date in a dark restaurant
  • a tree-lined residential street where you can breathe in deep
  • a Midwestern suburbanite falling in love with the city