Spring 2019|volume 12|Issue 3

    Pittsburgh Poetry

    On the Way Home

    Somewhere between Philip and Harmony
    the streets, I think,
    there is a space where I find the latter
    and a life that exists even when I am gone and
    one that picks up just where I left it
    every time I return.

    There is a dear friend in that space
    who says we are spiritually related,
    and I cannot find better words to describe
    our connection, or the love of our
    infrequent breakfasts.

    Philip,
    not the street, I think,
    plays the King,
    not Elvis, I think,
    but the gentler soul named Cole.

    Sometimes, I sit with pipe
    and puff out dancing plumes
    around Mr. Phil’s voice
    and we smile ’cause we both
    appreciate certain magics that this
    life sometimes blesses us with.

    Afterwards, we talk about love and
    women and music and poetry or
    we don’t talk much at all
    and just let the bartender wipe
    down the counter and lock the
    shutter doors of the Bayou Bar.

    There is a sky in that space
    like no sky I’ve seen before,
    not even in the wide-eyed innocence
    of my youth.
    There is a purity about it
    that baptizes the sins of Bourbon Street
    and whitewashes the inequities of booze and
    inhibition down across Canal,
    making St. Louis stand even more austere.

    That sky pours over me and
    tries to keep me here,
    but the usualness of life
    makes me leave.

    So I am flying again …
    fleeing perhaps …
    and every time I leave New Orleans
    it feels like I am leaving home.

    But this time it is different,
    this time I am floating
    and not just thrust along by jet fuel and physics …

    and as I look out over the evening
    of Pittsburgh, I feel that
    the airplane is upside down and
    that the city’s lights are stars …

    and I feel for the first time
    that I am coming back home.

    Somewhere between Philip, my friend,
    and harmony, I left one home
    and came back to another.

    and somewhere between New Orleans
    and Pittsburgh …

    I found peace.

    Christopher Cussat’s  first chapbook of poetry, Fallen Leaves, won the 2015 Vibrant Poetic Voices Award, which recognizes poets whose contributions to the written word are redefining the genre. His poetry has been presented at Duquesne University, Ashland University, Shippensburg University, the Pittsburgh Literacy Council, and the 2017 Pennsylvania Communication Association’s Annual Conference. Read more of his work at cussat.com.