Pénétrable de Chicago

Jesús Rafael Soto. Pénétrable de Chicago, 1971.

Jesús Rafael Soto. Pénétrable de Chicago, 1971.

By Tylar Brown
Location: Art Institute of Chicago

Dangling low. You are a beauty in some eyes. Long, see
through plastic strings are what attract us. Kids
automatically gravitate towards you
because of your singularity
and ingenuity.

Walking through your strings
feels like swimming, but             with no specific destination.
Being                                            in the presence of your
rectangle with strings                           at every angle,
feel                                                                  at peace, relaxed.

You could be seen as a problem. I am in a jungle.
                     I need to move through strings
to get out. Like in life, you must
fight through.

All of these plastic strands stand
with each other, but they cannot leave
each other, even if they want to. They can
only move if someone else applies force.

Pénétrable de Chicago,
not being afraid to let people in,
you are nothing
like me.

This story was written in Salli Berg Seeley’s Explore Chicago class at DePaul University in collaboration with the Chicago Literary Map.

I am Margret

Chicago Literary Map

Henri Matisse, Woman Before an Aquarium 1921/23

I might as well be a fish,
Without a thought, without a will.  I’m trapped
in this glass. If only
my confinement wasn’t real.
Scruffy. Yet
smarter than I. They go
places, See the world. I want
to travel and meet people
unlike myself. I want
to meet those that can speak
their minds, Do
as they please, Explore
new cities and visit friends they don’t even know yet exist.
Who made them king? I wonder
what it is to be a man.
I hear music.
It is beautiful! I know
that tune, I’ve played it before,
though it’s been so long, I don’t know
if my fingers still remember
the keys
to lead me out of here.
Anywhere but here.
Outside this glass window.
I don’t remember the last time I opened it.
What time is it?
Have I lost track of the hour again?
Time to feed Ella?
You know,
sometimes I wish she were never born.
I should feel guilty for saying that.
I haven’t blinked in a while. I’m afraid
if I close my eyes they won’t open again.
Sometimes I forget to breathe;
I have to remind myself.
You’d think with an empty mind it would be easy
to remember. I might as well
be a fish.

Writer: Kiana Lewis
Location: Art Institute of Chicago, Gallery 393B

This story was written in Salli Berg Seeley’s Explore Chicago class at DePaul University in collaboration with the Chicago Literary Map.

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

We leaned against the theater building
as if we were waiting in line for tickets, but
the show got out over an hour ago and

I’m still waiting for you to take me to dinner. So
I un-roll the program and re-read the same
actors statement.

We are under a broken streetlight, but down
the corner to my right is another couple waltzing
in a lit pool.
My red 034 lips part and I click my heel even faster.

And your tie is blowing in the air and you are still
whistling at an empty street
trying to hail a taxi, but you are not from this
wind blown town and I’m just watching you

inhale even harder. But now, the couple is tripping
over their laughter and I am growing jealous of
their Brunello laced evening.

And I think they too missed the show.


Writer: Sonja Lynn Mata
Location: The Neo-Futurists