Tuesday, May 03, 2005

earth note 48

lower federal street, northside pittsburgh

in the shadows of three rivers stadium
bob slept on the sidewalk
under the railroad overpass just a few doors
from the post office
and most days he spent with a little sign
and the singular word
scatched with deep red crayola
and a usually empty coffee cup
and on sundays in october
the steeler fans would file by with their
flasks of jim beam hidden near their breasts
and bob would just look them in the eye
and never say a word and the people
would usually just look away quick
and talk loudly about their parking spaces
or the traffic jam from the suburbs or how much
the northside has changed from when
they were kids
and then one day after dropping my poems
down the deep black hole
postal submission
i walked past bob's spot and he was gone and
his name was written in black coal on the
stone overpass foundation and all it said was that
he was dead
had been robbed and shot
and that his friends were
taking up donations at a shelter
in his name
and now i hear that the neighborhood
is going to get another faceshift
we've been told that we need new stadiums

---- e b bortz

(published in 3 Tombs, 1998)

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