Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Unconditional Pittsburgh

A transplant to Pittsburgh recently called the city generous. The Pittsburgh "left," for example, allows for the car at the red light to make the left turn when the light turns green before the oncoming car proceeds down the straightaway. Driving consists of a series of waves to let your fellow driver through; the rule of the road is ‘you first.’ We all drive safely and politely over rivers and through mountains in order to reach the fountain at the Point downtown during the Arts festivals, regattas, light-up nights, the Cultural Trust’s gallery crawls, and First Night.

During the lead-up to 2011, the acapella group, In Acchord, sings on the grand lobby stairs of the Benedum Center’s lobby. The 88mph! Steel Town Fire Goes Back in Time, fire-eaters, perform next to outside music stages. Space and 121 Seventh galleries hosted musicians including WYEP’s best bands. Tango, swing, and foxtrot lessons run throughout the evening. Children learn how to make puppets. The Gab Bonesso Comedy Show ran several times with a few Capitals fans in the audience each time. I am most grateful to the Pittsburgh Gospel All City Choir, all of whom add soul and comfort to that strange hour from 10pm-11pm during which we sit in a year that has become stale. But best part of First Night is that, instead of the ball dropping, with that terrible sinking feeling in your gut, the Pittsburgh New Year’s ball rises to meet the new year.

A few days after the fireworks off rooftops for the new year, I shop at the largest grocery store: the Robinson Town Center’s Giant Eagle Market District. After lunch at the café, I ask a café chef where I could locate the closest shopping cart. As I wonder to myself whether I should have said buggy instead, he smiles, and tells me to wait by the door because it was too cold to go outside. After which he proceeds into the parking lot and a few minutes later returns with a cart for me. Still smiling from that help, a Pittsburgher in a Steeler cap hands me his number at the deli counter and takes the place behind me in line.

How do you describe the special culture and manners of Pittsburghers?

I am grateful to the Traverse City Record-Eagle for appreciating poetry and writing about the poetic moments in our lives.

On Poetry: Snow and silence

It occurs to me that today of all days, right after whatever hoopla we got ourselves into this weekend, a little silence might be welcome. This poem may help....