I’ll be participating in my second “Why There Are Words” reading series this weekend–this one in Pittsburgh, PA. White Whale Books, 7pm. A homecoming for me!

Here’s an old Pittsburgh poem I wrote in oh maybe 2005:



A shadowy arrowed so-many-foot canyon.

Why I always write canyon. Whether there

is a subject. Which is thirteen feet, six inches.

What to think about next. A pair of electric devices

clipped to the page. Measure this line.

Begins at a photo. Red arrow (large), yellow sound

below the hind ends of numbers of minutes.

These are aspects. Musical. I can’t see the front

of the subject. It says PITTSBURGH GOES GREEN

and it spreads. Along brick-colored brick.

A subject ten hours away, dressed in yellow and red.

Framed by wire and the dogged ditch of grass.

I thought grass was like air but with many

tiny canyons. All along this was wrong. Many wheels turn

at this moment: I can never see all of them

at once, and then a pole leans. And it is very eye-catching

when the split canyons two reliably large

white items reflectively, with shadows.

Never without a knife. And locked. Rivets

in these lines. An arrangement

of stone and being boarded-up. Compositionally this

is diagonal so that ivy never tears at the cornice

in the lifespan of the sign, NORTH ROBINSON.

A few things are missing. I suppose I had chosen this.

What breaks into song, what breaks into flowerbox.

A tradition of naming poems “Looking at photos

of ———-.” A tradition of naming anonymous painters

after their only known painting: The Master of ———-.

Lines of precedent falling onto pavement,

dressed, selected, pinned-down or painted.

Bricks painted blue. In some ways, the street.