Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dear Chicago (Te Amo)

“I fell in love again
all things go, all things go
drove to Chicago”

This song.
I had just moved to Chicago.

I listened over and over
“all things grow, all things grow”
It was like Sufjan wrote it
just for me.

“All things go, all things go”

I walked down Belmont,
a little scared,
a lot self-conscious.
I kept my sunglasses on,
my headphones in,
and I walked to the Blue line.

Everything was unfamiliar.

The Mexicans and Puerto Ricans
honked as they drove by—
some whistled, some stopped
I had never felt so WHITE.
So country. So new. So dumb.
Even the billboards were in Spanish.
I stared at those unfamiliar words,
and imagined they said exotic, poetic phrases,
but really,
it was just beer and McDonalds ads.

I didn’t know how to react to the honking,
and the whistling.
I felt like they were laughing at me.
I didn’t get it. Where was I?
Not home.
Was it obvious?
Silly white girl.
So I just bumped up the volume
on my iPod,
stared straight ahead,
and let Sufjan sing to me.

“I was in love with the place
in my mind, in my mind”

I had arrived.
When I got to the Belmont stop,
I bounced down those stairs,
into that dirty pit.
Suddenly, I was in love.

Honk at me. Whatever.

Maybe I could fool them
to think
I know what I’m doing.
Maybe not. 
But it didn’t matter:

I had made it!

Here, in Chicago.
And Sufjan was singing to me.

My whole life, I’ll never forget it.

That walk,
down Belmont.
In my new city.

Thank you, Sufjan Stevens.


  1. I really like this. Sufjan Stevens and I went to the same undergrad. I like to think that maybe that makes him and I kindred spirits :)

    Good luck with your job search--I'm starting mine next month... yikes.

    Lauren [book ends]

  2. Thanks! Where did you go to school?

    Good luck with the job search. It's definitely not fun. Listen to "Come on Feel the Illinoise" while you search. Sufjan Stevens always makes things better. :)