So, the other day I was internet stalking one of my dates*** and I decided to Google myself. Well, that’s an interesting experience. If you do a Google image search for me, I am a wide variety of retro recipe cards, plates of food, screenshots from the X-Files, and pictures of my cousin, Jessica, who was a professional basketball player.
But through a regular search–you get my LinkedIn, my blog–the usual suspects–and then you get a lot of my poetry. Yeah, I probably never mentioned that: when I was in college I was a Creative Writing major. And my focus (which is the most practical and the most awesome!) was poetry. I am still apologizing to my parents for my choice of major.
Well, so I started looking at my old stuff and I thought, “man, some of this shit is kinda good!” Or at least it seemed that way a couple cocktails in. Anyone read any good poetry lately?
I thought so. Because who reads poetry? I sure as hell didn’t when I was in college and it was my major.
Anyway, I have some stuff that was never published anywhere (and some stuff that was–but gosh, I think a lot of this was lost to the ether of the Internet), so I might occasionally post some of my work here. Is that OK? Don’t worry. It’s not complete esoteric bullshit. A lot of it isn’t much different than my dating stories (which you all love!) and some of it is based on movies. And everyone loves movies. I think I would just add another tab at the top and throw them all in there.
OK, at the end of this post I’ll hit you with one, but in the meantime, here’s a good ol’ Pittsburgh favorite: FRIED JUMBO SAMMICH!
So I am sure that you non-Yinzers are thinking, “WTF is JUMBO?”
It’s baloney. Or bologna. Or whatever you wanna call mechanically separated pork and chicken that is then shaped into a HUGE hot dog-type cylinder and sliced into perfectly round slices.
And those round slices? They get cooked up nice and crispy in a few tablespoons of margarine:
And then I put the cooked slices on some good ol’ American-style white bread with a healthy schmear of mayonnaise.
Yep. That’s it! Pittsburgh Jumbo Sammich:
I ate it with some canned French-cut green beans and some applesauce. Talk about old school!
The fried jumbo tastes a lot like a BLT. But without the lettuce and tomato. And the fact that it’s all squishy because the bread isn’t toasted. And yeah, it would be totally good toasted and with the L&T, but that’s not’s how I remember having it as a kid. And that’s not how I wanted it now. This is Yinzerella-style.
Anyway, now I’m gonna hit you with a poem. LOL. And in the spirit of my Fried Jumbo, it’s one that’s all about Pittsburgh.
I only fall in love in bars in Pittsburgh,
not the chichi clubs in Boston or New York.
I like a hole-in-the-wall joint
with dark wood paneling and weak lighting,
a decent jukebox and lengthy beer list,
where the cocktails are strong and cheap
and the bartender knows your drink.
Manhattans at Mardi Gras.
Sidecars at Kelly’s.
Highballs at the Cage.
I long to sip obscure Belgian brews at Chiodo’s
under a canopy of bras.
The cigarette smoke fog filter, heavy enough to cover Doris Day’s freckles,
the haze obscures scars and imperfections, my smorgasbord of sins.
I only fall in love in bars in Pittsburgh,
and it’s always a filmmaker or a writer,
still young enough to believe that the grass is greener anywhere but here,
(because they’re never from here)
and they don’t yet realize that anywhere but here, things aren’t any better.
Their optimism bleeds all over the table like the mess after shots of tequila.
I collect them and their funny names.
I stuff their sideburns and t-shirts and scuffed Chuck Taylors into my pockets.
I’ve kept some of them for years.
I find honesty in the old man alone at the end of the bar, nursing his Imp & Iron.
He keeps the establishment from becoming tragically hip.
And when I’m away I miss them,
because I wear this city like a birthmark.
I keep leaving only to boomerang back
like the swallows of Capistrano.
The boys, the artists and idealists,
always ditch me in bars in Pittsburgh;
the same dark, noisy places
where I always take my parting shots.
So if you got through that, please let me know–should I keep sharing? Or just keep this shit to myself? I’m gonna open it up to a vote! And it’s Steelers colors!
Later taters!*** BTW, your ex’s Twitter was so goddamned boring I wanted to gouge my eyes out so I could no longer read it. LOL.