Mottled masses, fritters of time, matchless burritos, unmatched shoes, proliferation of junk, cast-off icons trembling with infused light. Jamie, Eric, and I are at Maxwell Street Market, a surfeit of pandemonious textures falling on summer Saturdays as if by accident, a haphazard mélange of vegetable color. Limbless dolls, crises of faith in portable toilets. Flies, urine, stinking lizards whispering a variant of Arabic. Eric is searching for a textbook which can only be read with a mirror in the dark. I spy a baseball cap with the words "Jesus is coming" embroidered on it. I say to the man selling the cap, "Give you five bucks." He says, "Motherfucker!" and I scamper away with my tail between my legs. Tomatoes by the bushel. Melons, mangos, tides of broken toys. Cellular phones of celestial origin. Dark legs scissoring the air above blistered asphalt. Asses like pairs of fists punching their way out of denim. How much? Too much. Final offer? Sold. Laughter, cursing, Bette Davis on a popsicle stick. The sun is everywhere. The morning, if it is a morning, slips out of god's fist. Crates full of mummies, amniotic sacs containing the nuts and bolts of a garnered jungle of architecture. Meat oils stagnating the air, sword swallowers, female eaters of fire proposing marriage to me with words written in flame. Hives of crawling scabs clustered in trash bins, sucking nutrients from bloody napkins. Thin telepaths coordinating pocket pickings from the antipodes of Maxwell Street. Nascent gangs budging through masses, parting the sea with cocaine imperatives. What is all this? Incontrovertible need. Tongues of ice dancing on our pates, a little brown girl pissing a serpent along the curb, the meridian of uncontained exchange. A must and a can't. A game of marbles played with glass eyes, with the eyes of every one of us vying for a perspective in this masticated market. Eric spins on his heel, Jamie lassos a kiosk with his large intestine. I translate the storm of footfalls into a fable for scavengers. Someone hands me Polaroid. The picture develops around a hole shaped like me. We are each transported solely by the motion of others. Car engines imitating sculpture, blankets hovering three feet above the ground with patchworks that alternate colors like electric Mondrians. Then Jamie finds the thing he's been looking for all along. From a heap of decomposed machines he excavates the carcass of an antiquated clock. He brings it home to breathe new life into it. Now it sits on his mantle. Whenever I'm there, I'm always sure to check the time.

About the author:

Jeremy Biles lives in Chicago, where he writes as variously as possible. His work has appeared in such places as LVNG, Lamination Colony, the Journal of Religion, and in exhibition catalogues for the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, where he also recently curated the "Zounds" exhibition.