Freedom to walk
Wherever I want
Without having to worry
About whoever might tag along.
From East Liberty
To the North Side
Hunting photographic opportunities
While looking for art museums
Hidden by the directions
On my phone’s app.
I cruised through renovation
More aptly called gentrification.
I passed by urban blight
That can’t recognize the need for change
Or stop the tsunami of funding
Designed to end the dilapidation.
Life changes, baby…
Better be ready for a new home.
The capitalist developers are circling.
One guy found his fortune,
A little speck of land right on the river
That is dotted with signs
Warning of limited contact with the water
Since it mixes with sewage
When the rains overflow into the river.
He seemed not to care,
His tent proudly pitched with a view
Of Steel City’s downtown.
Directions led me astray
And I saw Warhola Recycling.
The guy with the buzz cut
And hands full of metal to be repurposed
Was super friendly and I wondered
If he was related to Andy.
Finally, I made it there
To the museum and took in the pop art experience,
Appreciating ODU and thinking how young Warhol seemed at death.
The video of Lou Reed was shocking
Since I always thought he was old, but
On film, he didn’t look old enough to drink.
Finding the Mattress Factory was tough,
The payoff was in the omelet and salad,
Everyone back home would be surprised to know
I housed the tomatoes and, yes, cucumbers
Before venturing into the world of installation art
That I feel woefully unprepared to discuss
Because the simple objects rarely incite
Deep thematic or metaphorical thought inside my feeble brain.
It’s cool to look at though,
Like the lady covered in tattoos
Who walked around the exhibit with a bit of pride
When people looked at her.
I wonder if she was thinking,
“Why are they looking at me?” or
She was a canvas and while unavoidable to look at,
But she was more shock than show.
The two-hour walk back to the hotel
Was too much to attempt with threatening skies,
So I set up an Uber and wished that the old man in the fancy car
Had been my driver instead of the western PA racist
Who pulled up.
The crack in his windshield
Suggested the imperfection in his attitude about culture
And I was just thankful to be out of his car
Without reaching over and grabbing him by the neck, red as it was.
So, I’m back in the hotel,
Laptop on the bar
Typing away as I assimilate a beer, Amaretto Sour, and Moscow Mule,
All three being awesome, although, I can’t complain about anything here.
The crowd is cosmopolitan, hipster, artsy, diverse, and
Just appreciative of the space and its history.
I’m glad I’m here