Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Giant MagiKist Lips

I had forgotten them completely. They were right where that big billboard of the sweaty guy is. I took that photo in 1992, past the ruins of block that was demolished and would stay vacant for fifteen years. This was the block that much of THE HOLY TERROR centered around. When I took the photo, I was standing where the Woods Theater played third run films, and across the street was the old Greyhound terminal. Many city newcomers slept in the alley between the theater and a Burger King after eating scraps. Opposite those gigantic red neon lips, MagiKist was a brand of carpet, was a place called Shopper's Corner but is now a Borders. I mention the lips towards the end of the novel, which I have finished proofreading. There is another set I will never forget, they were off Roosevelt Road, and as a child I would see them and know I was close to my destination. Illinois Research it was called then, one of the Cook County clinics. I went there three days a week until I was thirteen, being taught to walk straight and keep my head from lolling (the latter still happens if I don't concentrate hard). I learned in retrospect to dislike the clinical psychologists who would monitor me in an empty, stark white room, picking up pennies or walking up and down stairs, day after day after day, variations on themes. I wish I had a photo of the MagiKist lips to go with these memories, both good and bad. ---Wayne