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March 6, 2013

We went to Pittsburgh and back on Sunday just for pleasure.

How’s that for an unlikely statement? But it was great–we met a friend we’d never met before in real life (Freshhell), wondered our way through the Warhol museum, froze riding up the Duquesne Incline to see the view from the top, and then the three of us enthusiastically made our way through most of the vegetarian options at the most vegetarian-friendly restaurant in Pittsburgh.

The Most Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurant in Pittsburgh–that’s a good title for something; it’s like the title for my chess mom memoir: The best hotel in Akron. Walker was too busy with theater to enter the Pittsburgh Open this year, which is why we originally thought we’d be in Pittsburgh when Freshhell came, so then we went just to meet her there.  And I already have a reservation at the second-best hotel in Dayton for a chess tournament a few weeks from now. As Les Nessman used to say on an old TV show, “oooh, Dayton!”

Being a tourist in such workaday and not-very-far-flung places can make a person feel like the speaker of this Mark Halliday poem:


Some people just seem to exist, as opposed to live,
in a foggy drift. I am so glad that’s not me!

I am certainly so glad I have such thumping
zest for life. The way I dig into life
like a bowl of hot Texas chili with sour cream
and shredded sharp cheddar—I’m so glad

I have such a pulsing intuitive grasp
of how short and precious life is
and how we are impassioned clay
and each incredible diem is there to be carped

so therefore I skim speedingly over the waters of life
alert to every flick of fin
and super-ready to jab my osprey talons into
the flesh of whatever sensation swims my way
not fretting for a second about any other plump fish in the sea

and so for example when I see young couples
groobling moistly at each other’s burger-fed gamoofs
I certainly don’t waste my time with any type of envy,
I’m just like Yeah you kids go for it!—
Meanwhile I am going to listen to Let It Bleed LOUD
and totally rock out with all my teeth bared!

Man, it’s so great not to be the type who falls asleep watching baseball
and wakes up with Cherry Garcia on my shirt.
I figure I am at least as alive as Little Richard was in 1958
and it’s such a kick!

Does it get tiring?
Well sure, occasionally,
but who cares? I embrace the fatigue,
I KISS it till it flips and becomes defiantly voracious vim

and when I read that line in Wallace Stevens
“being part is an exertion that declines”
I’m like What in heck is that old guy talking about?

Better to go to Pittsburgh, even if the price was a long drive home in blowing snow and an early morning on Monday. And, in fact, we received only one warning about not standing too near the art when we were at the Warhol museum.

What other exciting things can happen during spring break? Well, next weekend I’m going to Cape Girardeau, Missouri…oooh, maybe we’ll drive down to see how high the Mississippi river rises after the recent snows upstream!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2013 4:19 pm

    Such incredible diem to be carped – for sure! I enjoy playing tourist in unexpected places – or at least, places that aren’t usually the top of the “I want to see” lists.

    • March 7, 2013 8:07 am

      Sometimes it is fun, when it’s your choice and when you’ve already been to some of the places everyone wants to go.
      It sounds to me–especially in the part about listening to Let It Bleed–that he’s not enjoying what he’s doing, but going through the motions to prove he’s still cool and what he has is enough.

  2. March 7, 2013 7:23 am

    I love the poem! We’re so busy working these days, we embrace the fatigue too!

    • March 7, 2013 8:12 am

      So the trick is to “kiss it till it flips” and you can get all silly from tiredness and enjoy to the hilt what a younger person, newly in love and back from a Hawaiian honeymoon, might call lameness!

  3. freshhell permalink
    March 7, 2013 6:29 pm

    So, so glad y’all could come and spend a day with me! Enjoy the Cape! Hope it’s so warm it goes into your bones and warms you from the inside out.

    • March 7, 2013 8:04 pm

      It will be warmer than Ohio. And as you know, this time of year, sometimes that’s enough.

      • freshhell permalink
        March 8, 2013 4:16 pm

        Yes – I imagine it will suffice. Enjoy!

  4. March 7, 2013 9:10 pm

    Kiss it till it flips! I’d put that on a t-shirt if I didn’t think it would attract the wrong kind of people.

    • March 7, 2013 9:48 pm

      I guess we’ll have to make this poem more famous before you can get it on a shirt, then. Work, work work.

  5. March 9, 2013 9:50 pm

    I figure Cape in March > Ohio in April. At least it should be warmer.

    • March 11, 2013 8:44 am

      It was 72 and sunny on Saturday. That was great. Also, we went to a chain restaurant that night, and it was packed. It was THE place to go in Cape…and also Poplar Bluff and Jackson, to judge from sports uniforms and conversation.

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