This City

Pittsburgh.
Pitts-burgh.
Armpit. Steel town. Robber barons. Industrial city that can’t be pretty because it has one thing: industry.

Try telling the decades-old bridges that guard the city’s riches
That there is no worth to be had in the city of champions
Tell the city lights flitting like fireflies in the river that they have no aesthetic appeal
In the city of steel.

Try convincing the gothic chapel next to the glass castle that downtown is just too foul.
The museums and galleries aren’t enough to make up for the mismatched architecture built from the ground up over centuries.

Even those smokestacks—remnants of that Pittsburgh it seems everyone used to know—that steel town, that town of industry.
Those smokestacks suddenly are so ugly silhouetted against the dusky orange sky

You try to tell those smokestacks with the smokey black rings
That their creation is meaningless because they are ugly.
Not because their slim shadows against the fallen sun are displeasing but because, let’s face it,
A city like this can’t be pretty.

Not with the groves of trees, campus after campus, block after block,
winding roads following carriage tracks following footsteps following the scenic route.

Surely the stars that peek out from above the cars and city lights don’t really point you home.

Unless you’re wrong and stereotypes don’t tell the whole story.

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