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ISSUE:  Spring 1978
In the Pittsburgh airport
which is not in Pittsburgh
I am looking for a good book.

Past the luggage carousel
the latest models from Detroit
revolve, displayed like wedding cakes,
temptation to change
horses in midstream.

Once I was here, being returned
to Boston like a book
read, reread, enough to loosen the spine
& slightly overdue.

Under the monitors we shared a drink
& sat like parting lovers; upset,
you left your new sunglasses at the table.

I can’t find the table, Can’t even
find the bar, though that boutique—
surely misspelled, incomplete—

must certainly be new. The cars are new.
The mannequin missing her service arm
is new; there must be romance
in Pittsburgh to sell tennis panties
at an airport—that’s new.

Against my will
whatever isn’t new
shrinks like a star,
collapses like the has-been

who blows his last gig & goes under.
How hard it gets for the girl
to care for him; on Thursday she packs & leaves.

I am leaving Pittsburgh, though not on a Thursday
& as I said, it isn’t really Pittsburgh.
I’ve nothing better to do
than read; there’s no pleasure

in memory. An utter stranger,
with no attraction or connection to the posters
of steel mills
or the blazing confluence of Three Rivers Stadium

I need to be lifted
to a world with a present
& a past. Checking the lucky dream books

& my horoscope:
Don’t travel on Thursday—
I find Emma. Soon I will be a passenger
& disappear
into a sky more black than blue.


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