10 tagged with #pittsburgh

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To Mayor Bill Peduto (2)

original note left via mayoral feedback form 4 June 2020

Dear Mayor Peduto, I have been a Pittsburgh resident since moving here for college in 2005. I love this city and all the vibrancy and beauty of it. I'm disappointed in the use of excessive police force against protestors in East Liberty this past Monday, and disappointed in your rhetoric that supports this use of force. I have generally trusted you to do things right, but that trust started breaking when you claimed that there was no tear gas deployed during your statement Monday night, contrary to the experiences of my friends who were present at the protest as well as the reports from your own police. I expect better of you.

I see your statement about training and policy implementations for "8 Can't Wait", and yet I still hope for a redirection of funds used to equip police with the means for deadly and excessive force, and putting those funds towards resources that would better support community safety and well-being. I do not want to live in a city where "peace" is kept by a militarized police force; I want to live in a city where all community members are valued and their needs for health and dignity are met. I am not interested in building trust between my community and the police, no matter how many bias and de-escalation trainings the police are required to attend. Undoing these systems of damage means someone needs to take the radical step of putting down their weapons. The police are not responding to violence, they are instigating violence, and we may not achieve peace until they stand down.

04 June 2020 13:08


i spend all this time in the cemetery because it's a large expanse of grass and trees and paths next to the woods and i know there won't be a lot of cars zipping by. the deer think of it the same way; they curl up against headstones warmed by the sun, chewing on delicately trimmed grass. i see them with legs in a knot beneath them, ears twitching gently as they track my movements from one side of the hill to the other.

give me twenty minutes and i'll find you a deer, i tell people. i know all their favorite bedding spots. sometimes, i'll push through a stand of bushes and my nose fills with musk, and the weeds crushed into the mud at my feet show cloven indentations.

they're docile, here, knowing that there's nothing much that will hurt them. they live and eat and sleep and die in this cemetery.

it's hard to forget that we share space.

13 June 2018 22:16


after thirteen years of living here, i've lived in at least nine different places; maybe eleven or thirteen if i count temporary rooms, or times i've stayed with others. i've had three mailing addresses outside of my residences, maybe four if you count the times i have mailed things to my employer on my behalf.

but i never know what to call a home.

'if you don't understand,' my mother told me over a decade ago, 'i'll tell you. home is where your parents live.' i was unwilling to call her house home because i didn't like the house, didn't like the town, didn't want to live there forever. before moving away for college, we'd lived in six different places, three different states.

but i never know what to call a home.

i get a tangle in my gut if i think about leaving this city forever. i get a different tangle if i think about staying here until i die.

06 June 2018 23:58

breakfast fellows

when the chipmunk creeps across the brickwork, its position is given away by the rustling of weeds above its head. it pushes its head out, looking at me while i have breakfast; experimentally, i lift an arm, in simulation of a spreading wing. faster than i can see, it's gone, leaving a trace of quivering stalks. i smile; this one has learned how to hide.

i've watched a single squirrel for years; it's old now, for sure, moving with a relaxed swagger along the curb. it's black from head to rump, with a rust-red tail and two lighter splotches on its back. this squirrel, too, flinched when i raised my arm, but only to flatten briefly while regarding me with suspicion. but it knows i'm no predator, only an occasional antagonizer.

there's a rabbit i recognize because it likes to sit in the shade of my motorcycle wheel while ripping at the plantain leaves pushing up through the brickwork. some years, i try to defoliate all the weeds myself, because the dying hemlock needles collect under them and make a startlingly slippery surface. this year, i don't think i'll bother.

05 June 2018 23:16


i waited with the crowd to cross the street. a grandmother spoke in wide vowels to a young girl, who impatiently lifted one leg after another in a mock demonstration of stepping off the curb before the traffic stopped. when the pedestrian crossing chirped its signal, we flowed diagonally and perpendicularly across the juncture.

"hey," cut in a friendly-sounding man, his tone curious. "was that german?"

the grandmother didn't stop walking, but turned over her shoulder to give him an incredulous stare. "hebrew."

"oh. i guess it was," he backpedaled, shame flushing his face as we all drifted closer to the jcc.

30 May 2018 22:41

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