America America! Oh Yeah!

Election Day. Our polling place is across the street–a lovely Lutheran church. I’m going to get up early; I’m going to shine my shoes; I’m going to do a soft-shoe routine out the front door; I’m going to stand in line while a bemused Election Day volunteer flips through a binder of registered voters the width of a bowling alley lane, and then I’M GOING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS.


Voting: I like it!


Earlier today, I was waiting for a bus beneath the Fullerton red/purple/brown line train stop. Some yards to my left, I could see a news crew filming someone; behind the someone stood a phalanx of DePaul students, holding up signs for the cameras. Because I am a moron, I did not put the “Election Day is Tomorrow” pieces together, and instead idly wondered why the news crew was there; perhaps the students were protesting something–perhaps they disliked their cafeteria food?

A few minutes later, a few of them peeled off from the main group and came toward the crowd of folks waiting for the bus, all of whom were surveying the goings-on with weary, post-work commute ennui. The kids began handing out cards to everyone.

KID: Don’t forget to vote tomorrow! Vote for Alexi Giannoulias for Senate! He’s standing right over there!

This is Alexi Giannoulias:

According to my roommate, the top three search terms that come up when one Googles “Alexi Giannoulias” are as follows:

1. Alexi Giannoulias
2. Alexi Giannoulias girlfriend
3. Alexi Giannoulias for Senate


Well, glad to see where our priorities lie.


In any case: I have one enduring memory of Alexi Giannoulias. Last December, Katie and I went to a resturant called Sola for brunch; a delicious restaurant, with delicious omelettes, the memories of which I turn over in my head, when things get too hard. We had been seated for a moderate amount of time–I believe our food may have even have been delivered–when our waiter regretfully informed us that, due to some sort of planning snafu, we would have to pick up and move everything–plates, glasses, cutlery, and our persons–into a different part of the restaurant, because Alexi Giannoulias was having a fundraising breakfast there, and they needed our table. It wasn’t a big deal; Sola even gave us free mimosas. I mean–hey! Hey there!

I simply remember pondering whether someone who couldn’t handle the nuts and bolts of a campaign fundraising breakfast might necessarily be able to handle the U.S Senate.


If you live in Chicago, you should COME AND SEE:

I’m curating an evening o’ theatrical whatnot with The Plagiarists theater company. It’s going to be all about Antarctica. There’s going to be singing, and dancing, and tales of polar exploration. I’m terribly excited about it.

Black Rock Pub
3614 N. Damen
November 15
7:30 p.m.


Look at this picture, for the love of God. This picture KILLS me.

They are the crew of the Endurance, in 1916, waving goodbye to the lifeboat that is their only chance at survival, as it departs on an 800 mile journey across open water to the island of South Georgia, to find help.

Carry on.

Silent Letter

It’s what you don’t hear
that says struggle
as in wrath and wrack
and wrong and wrench and wrangle.

The noiseless wriggle
of a hooked worm
might be a shiver of pleasure
not a slow writhing

on a scythe from nowhere.
So too the seeming leisure
of a girl alone in her blue
bedroom late at night

who stares at the bitten
end of her pen
and wonders how to write
so that what she writes

stays written.

Katha Pollitt



Filed under Beginning Brand New Things, Katha Pollitt, My Roommate, Poetry

4 responses to “America America! Oh Yeah!

  1. Moni L

    I saw Alexi Giannoulias at the Au Bon Pain on Adams & Wells a couple of months ago and Googled him too, and saw that too. He looks to have a girlfriend (fiancé?). Sigh. (Haha!)

    By the way, now ‘Wheat, Not Oats, Dear’ is the second hit on Google for “Alexi Giannoulias girlfriend.”

    Also, you should see “Encounters At the End of the World” if you haven’t already.

  2. Sarah

    Two things:
    1. I am sick as a dog and cannot even find the strength to drive to my polling place and vote. It makes me real sad.
    2. Whatever happened to those boys? Were they rescued??

  3. wheatdear

    Sarah, I think you should make another grown-up drive you there. Drink some juice and prop yourself up in that voting booth FOR AMERICA.

    Also, all those boys lived. All of ’em.

    Moni, I am no longer #2.

  4. Bridgid

    Alexi Giannoulias was standing outside Union Station today, shaking hands with passers by. (I did not shake his hand because I didn’t want to make him sick.) Anyway, after seeing him this morning, I discovered the popularity of the “Alexi Giannoulias girlfriend” search because it popped up when I myself googled “Alexi Giannoulias how tall.”

    And that is the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever shared on the internet.

    Good day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s