I used to live in Chicago. Hyde Park, more specifically,although I think that I’ve mentioned this before. I moved away the day before my 6th birthday. One of my favorite places was a little bookstore that I remember being below a sidewalk lined with old houses with tender personalities and locally owned restaurants where you could receive a massive bowl of noodles for $6. This bookstore is called 57th Street Books, and I adored it for its many storytimes, children’s fairs and friendly people.
I recently returned from a family trek up to Chicago, and soon after learned that President Barack Obama used to take his girls to 57th Street Books. (I also learned that Obama was my neighbor, living just a few streets down, and that my father probably passed him several times a week on his way to work, the University of Chicago.) Anyway, I was amused at this strange coincidence and have since decided that I am going to move back to Hyde Park one day. It is one of the only truly integrated communities in America; seriously, my friends were from Argentina, the UK, Russia, and almost everyone at my Catholic school was black. There are tons of trees and playgrounds and old, beautiful houses and small businesses - it is my idea of perfect.
Since you’ve read through all of my ramblings, I would like to give you a little treat. I bought a book from 57th Street Books. It is called Good Poems, a book of good poems (could you have guessed?) collected by Garrison Keillor. Here is one of the poems by e.e. cummings, my favorite of the collection so far.
since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you,
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world
my blood approves
and kisses are a better fate
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
- the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says
we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph
and death i think is no parenthesis