Photo by Peter Leeman.


Pitcairn, Wilmerding, Turtle Creek

There’s a misty fog hanging over the hills of Turtle Creek
as I make my way home, back to Pittsburgh from Trafford,
the oldies station on the stereo—a song that I do not know
imploring some captain to ride, ride upon his mystery ship.

I stayed until the early hours of the morning, drinking with
Dave and Lori, and now the sky’s starting to brighten a little
as I pass all of the small landmarks I have come to identify
in these Western Pennsylvania suburbs—the old dive bars,
the clubs or halls advertising their annual spaghetti suppers,
or the old green sign saying that Pitcairn is one mile away,
Wilmerding is two miles away, and Turtle Creek is three.

It doesn’t make sense to me how I lose track of the hours
when I am out this way—when I check to see what time
it is, I never quite believe what I am seeing. I sometimes
find myself apologizing to Dave and he always says that
it’s okay, that it’s actually the safest time to drive home.

Sunday dawn and the streets of Pittsburgh are nearly empty,
I cruise Penn Avenue and hit all green lights like a dream.
When I get out of my car on Graham, birds greet me home.
I let Dave know I got in fine. Leave him a message saying,
“Home safe and thanks. Made it home safely. Thank you.”
I’ll sleep through the rest of the A.M. Sunday’ll be a wash.




Last Night I Danced

Last night I danced in an apartment in Wilkinsburg,
enough booze in my system to not be self-conscious,
thankful I had on my good dancing shoes, wing-tips,
and eternally grateful to the bookseller who bought
me the shoes at the fancy shoe store in Squirrel Hill.
We call the Wilkinsburg apartment The Flower Pot
and last night I think it was Madonna’s “Borderline”
that had me cutting a rug with a girl I didn’t know—
though maybe I was dancing solo, a one-man show.
I thought of Sean Penn and I thought of Bukowski.
And I tried to remember a quote, I believe that it was
Eleanor Roosevelt who said something about how her
one regret in life was she wished she had danced more.
I doubt that the Flower Pot regulars’ll have that regret.
I recall another night of dancing there that involved
a dramatic interpretation of Prince’s “Purple Rain,”
executed by some 8 or 10 dancers, a ballet almost,
but more moving than any of Tchaikovsky’s works.
To me, at least. Though maybe it was just the alcohol.




Found Poem—Express Lane, Giant Eagle

If there’s
get me
pork rib.