Essay-ish: America’s Horse with No Name in Warsaw, Indiana

There’s a little Indiana town I always drive through on my way to and from Ohio.

It looks like all the other little Indiana towns, which look like all the little Ohio towns, which probably look like all the little towns in the midwest. I’m assuming. I’ve never driven through them.

But it’s sweet and quaint. Green with life and dotted in small sheds, gas stations, food stops and dusty well-meaning billboards. The working-man homes pop up like stitches on an embroidered quilt, passed down from generation to generation.

I don’t know why I note it on my drive, back and forth back and forth, but I always do. Probably because it’s called Warsaw.

It was named after *that* Warsaw. So titled in 1836, in homage to the Polish capital, a place with a history that dwarfs everything about this one.

On my last trip home, “A Horse With No Name” came on the radio while in Warsaw. Maybe this is also why I mentally tick off when I’ve hit it during my drives. Its oldies station is a bright spot in a long trip of landing my radio dial on songs I love only to be hit with an accompaniment of static right when it gets to the chorus (always the best parts to sing with the windows rolled down).

I wait for the song to end before I pull over for gas.

I park my car and think why don’t I live somewhere like this?

The thing about small towns is that they’re really lovely. Mine is just not a soul that sings best in their bounty. I like the city. I particularly like this Chicago city, blue collar grit with grassroots culture—a place where I can be a horse with no name as I figure out what I want to do next.

But I get the appeal of small towns. I grew up in one and I miss it sometimes. Small town communities and all they represent were long the American Dream for a reason.

I lean on the hood as fuel chugs into my little car, my baby blue horse for the day. An old man in overalls waves and wishes me a good day. I light up and give the same in return. With my particular background, I can be a chameleon. I can fit in at a rave or in a hog barn. I know how to handle both, and some part of me longs for both lifestyles. And I really do enjoy all the different situations—city or country—I can be placed in as long as I can leave both whenever I want.

There was a grieving I went through in my twenties after college. A loss I sensed of a childhood home I knew I’d never go back to. I am fortunate to have the choice and ability to land wherever I want, but it’s still a loss to know you may never have a big backyard for your own children to play in or that you won’t be able to hop over to a sibling’s house to catch lighting bugs just because why the hell not, it’s Wednesday. No matter how close I am to my people at home, there will always be a distance and some part of me, the part that basks in the glow of concrete and skyscrapers and the potential for something new and exciting to happen, will always feel removed… understood and cherished only by me.

In that distance I’ve learned a lot about what it means to make a space for yourself where you know no one. And because of that, I know my chameleon quality extends beyond my personality and life experience. It can also be attributed to my gender, my age, my whiteness. It’s easy to fit in everywhere when you are trusted immediately. What a gift. A gift that so many people don’t get to experience. A security, safety and peace that so many will never know.

Today I’m back in Chicago. I don’t know my neighbors and I don’t really want to because I have work—creative, life-affirming, must-get-it-out-of-me work—I want to focus on without distractions for a while. We’re stacked on top of each other. It’s hot and it’s tight and it’s fucking brilliant.

I like to go and sit on the harbor and take a break to watch the water sometimes. It strikes me how I can see this huge body of water bouncing rhythmically like some apocalyptic force is moving underneath it, yet only hear the lapping of the water right beneath me.

Life feels like that today. Sometimes we get too lost in ourselves and our own experiences. We can’t hear the rest of those around us, even though we’re all moved by the same force. We don’t consider those who don’t live like us because it seems so far away.

Human history is all of ours to consider. It hurts, but we need to hear it. We need to keep listening even when we’re exhausted. Right now, my experience in America is getting to live in a place where I willingly have no name, where I don’t want to be known as I work and I know I’m probably safe regardless.

But others don’t have that.

We remember their names — names like Warsaw, like Alton Sterling — for a reason.

Inspo: Words on the street, Roberta Flack & The Coasters, OH at Belmont Harbor


I tattooed your dad.
I tattooed your dad.

Yas. Mr. Knuckles bringing the word power. I’ll remember his name because of that saying more than yet another sticker of a Sailor Jerry-style pin-up.

BP Sign

You know who didn’t hit empty? Whoever wrote this.

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I’ve been feeling the seventies lately. I recently watched the CNN series about the decade on Netflix, but I think a lot of my obsession can be attributed to how perfect music from the seventies is for summer weekends spent trying to not give a fuck. I love this Google Music playlist, “Boogie Nights Pool Party.” The description about as fun.

Also feeding my seventies obsession: Gravel Ghost Vintage on Instagram. #outfitgoals

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Cats and cassettes

First Time Ever I Saw Your Face Down in Mexico

I heard this on a long car commute recently. It’s one of those songs that you forget about and then when you hear it again you think, “Why does this never make my mental Top Ten Most Favorite Songs of All Time/ Jackie’s Life list?” The lyrical cadence takes me to another place entirely. A memory maybe. The best kind of memory.

Here’s another obscure hit I adore for its lyrical ability to transport me somewhere sweaty. Happy summer, lovers.

Overheard at Belmont Harbor

Free to a good screenplay about a curmudgeonly octogenarian who walks with his wife by the water every Monday to feed bread crumbs to the seagulls.

“It’s terrorism. But it’s relatively far away. The average American doesn’t know about it. We’re the only people who read three newspapers every morning.”

Blog-ish: Cleveland FTW

MOST YOUNG KINGS GET THEIR HEAD CUT OFF: Jay-Z on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Charles The First.
MOST YOUNG KINGS GET THEIR HEAD CUT OFF: Jay-Z on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Charles The First.

I generally think professional sports fandom is kind of dumb.

Not stupid.

Just kind of dumb.

There’s a difference.

My watching of every Pretty Little Liars episode is kind of dumb.

My old flame for Perez Hilton (dot com… circa 2009) is stupid.

Sportz! I don’t understand why people care about it all so much. It’s not like those players come from the town they play for.

So do they really represent your people or your city or state? Your struggle?

They’re just the outward-facing arm of huge corporations taking your money based on selling you a dream that isn’t yours to have. And sometimes they hide terrible truths so you keep cheering and filling the stands and buying $7 hot dogs.

Maybe I’m just jaded.

I’m maybe definitely jaded.

But justifiably so, right?

Have we not learned you can’t really trust your heroes? They’re desperately human too. Tiger. OJ. Cosby. Clinton. Clinton. Jackson. Martha. Etc.

But I just watched LeBron and the Cavs break a 52-year championship losing streak for a city in my home state. The sultan of scoring has dribbled his sport’s silly little way into this cold, listless heart.

I believe(land)!

The best part of this story is that he was a Northeast Ohio boy. Born and raised and prodigal sonned. It doesn’t get much better or relatable than that.

However, I think my favorite part about sports is how reliant they are on structure and time.

There are rules and penalties for breaking them.

It doesn’t matter how hard you played or how far you came back or what you scored.

If your number isn’t higher by the time we get to zero, you lose.

The answer is clear.

Man, in today’s ambiguous world, that shot clock’s exactingness is some straight up poetry.

Everything changes.

Even in Cleveland.

Inspo: Travel edition

So much word (and bagel) porn to be found in Chicago! Here are just a few favorites.

CBA Social CTA

CBA’s social CTA. That they have a sandwich called The Hangover Helper and that it’s delicious doesn’t hurt either.

Rare Book Store

Oh I get it.

Apartment Finders

Hungry with just a hint of thirsty.


This sat on a rack of Batman tees. The dark knight is unamused.