In the late 1990s on the South Side of Pittsburgh
there was a cafe I'd frequent
with large cozy chairs next to picture windows
that looked out onto East Carson Street,
the main drag in that part of town.
From those chairs, I'd read and write and watch
tattooed bikers, artists, skaters,
young sluts with their tits out,
and poor thugs in dirty clothes
posed as weathered statues against brick walls.
They all craved attention, respect,
a solid footing for their place in the world.
Today, I imagine most of those people are
dead or in prisons or barely making it
with several children and dead-end jobs.
That cafe, like so many storefronts,
fell victim to the polite ravages
of suburban malls and the Internet.
Those days are gone to never return.
Still, those people had my attention.
For what it's worth,
they will always have my respect.
Build me like the city streets
Strap my bones to solemn steel
And give me an expression without inability
Prop me up like the towering buildings
And bend my back to the labors of industry
So that I might just understand
What it means to hear the steel heart beat
Let these words go out from here and heal
Let these voices reach and touch the meek
Let the rhythm within my soul preserve
And the minds amongst us finally meet
So that we could savor a moments peace
So that we could pad the snow laden ground
And meet where the steel heart slowly beats
For we are the blood within which seeps
As we rise to the surface quietly
Teeming with life and full of desire
To actively ponder and passionately seek
To understand the truth within
For we are a vessel most unique
To reach the travelers of time
And to mold such minds as they do sleep
For anytime such blood cells meet
The steel heart surely can be heard
In unison with every beat
Be it underneath these city streets
Let such an expression be heard by more than me
You've been here before. You woke up today and realized that the stress, the angst, and the foreboding that you've allowed to rule your life is there by choice. You've gotten lost in the spiral of anxiety, again.
If it's not your health, it's your money. If it's not the money, it's your kids. If it's not your kids, you're worried about past life choices and how they will affect you tomorrow. Your fears line up at the door, wrap around the block, and await their turn. Your door is open to them all and you don't deny them. You let them in.
Once they are inside, you wrap your fears around you. They’re a welcome smothering; a wearying security blanket of trembling phobia. They are as familiar to you as they are distressing. These constant, restless, companions are more comfortable than the unknown.
Today, though, you stare at the line of fears and realize that something is missing. Happiness. Contentment. Acceptance. These are conspicuous in their absence. And you remember an old Cherokee tale. You have two wolves engaged in eternal battle inside you; one is fear and anxiety and the other is peace and serenity. The strongest is the one you feed and you've been feeding the wrong wolf.
You've done this your entire life in a self-centered, selfish, guilt-ridden, indulgent, fashion. You wallow in the darkness because you're afraid you don't deserve the light.
You know you’ll feed the right wolf today. But can you do it tomorrow?
the fish navigates
as it will
on this cloudless night
pushing through the Pittsburgh haze,
daring to present themselves,
entwined in cosmic tango, are
Jupiter and the Moon.
the bands play across a
diluted Jovian face. while the storm
the lunar rocks and craters,
perfectly visible imperfections,
cast petulant shadows -
reminding me that
from destruction one can
still find beauty.
beads of sweat
between her dusky breasts
little rivers of pleasure
that collect in her navel
and threaten to spill with
distract me long enough
to avoid the
that look in her eye
seen only when
or on the back of
all too soon
I'm a throwback, baby
atavistic and masochistic
I'll pay for dinner and
I'll hold the door
you can complain and
vilify this good guy
but I can take it. Your
feminism does not and can not
impel or compel
me to forgo my manners because
tell me how I should
expect to respect