Thursday, November 7, 2019


You're interested in the history of the house
and there are few things I know, being
a being who thinks history is minutia, not
wars and subdivided lands, burial mounds

though I must admit the Jewish cemetery
on Blackador holds my two favorite corpses,
Let me give history a whirl, which is so opposite
a spin.  Not political but personal, as Pittsburgh

is a city made of people people. I love Rodin
and the Burghers of Calais who, apart from nudity
look like they are standing on Penn Avenue lamenting
the price of fish or the late delivery of chipped ham.

There was a Carriage House out back with a pump
where with a few gestures spit out black tarry oil
and up the ladder newsprint from the 1930"s.
Then the dreams where I lived in a remodeled version

I secretly always wanted to be in exile,  live there,
after the tennis balls against the brick house, the ice rink
down the blocks, and out toy version on the patio.
Did I tell you a night watchman came by twice a night

and my father slept with a shillelagh by his bed
we always though he won in a card game. There is no
chronology here as in my books. I date the pages,
the basement stairs where my brother and I sat

before there were treads we played train. He always
was the engineer and I a passenger.  Or when I chocked
on popcorn before there was Heimlich and he thought he'd done
me in which is maybe secretly what every sibling wants.

This is veering dark, when I feel light around you, dear house
with your 68 year old Japanese maple tree, a bonsai set
in concrete.  Did you know the famous lecturer lived next door
who looked death in the eye, saw his life, and backed death off?

The friends who still live there for me, Judy, Marlin, Peggy Lou.
The autumn Marlin and I lined the streetcar tracks with buckeyes
and the police or some official came and we feared jail.
The streetcar was my totem animal, all charge and growl

and bell, and that left swing that brought me home.  You wanted
history and I  invented dreams, where monthly or weekly you appear.
My history channel for nostalgia or nest or acorns planted
to see if what I left could grow where lightening struck once.

The Carriage House is gone,  revealing an apartment
two Europeans in the window eternally taking tea, discussing W W III
 I tried to find a way back, walked and walked the block.
Good Bones an architect might say. Dear house who owns you now?