Punkass Wildfire | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Punkass Wildfire 

100 miles an hour down Lake Shore Drive
Salvador, a big bear chef with a blue bandanna, saysYou usually get on motorcycles with strangers?
He's old enough to be my father/could
drop me off anywhere
without my ID and lipstick/
no way to get back.
Chicago has never looked more magnificent than from the back
of this Harley, the skyscrapers are wildfire
burning from the sidewalk up.
My friend Brent is waiting for me at the Uptown Lounge,
holding my purse and sunglasses as collateral
in case I don't come back, choose the road
over graduate classes and teaching job.
When I ask him to go faster, Salvador
looks back like I'm nuts, says Lordy Lordy.
We share the same punkass blood,
craving speed like a morning cigarette.
Where you from, anyway? he says.
I loosen my grip on his thick side, tell him
I'm from concrete, on the run in Chicago.
I'm the steel in street lamps — all Pittsburgh.
I'm nobody's girlfriend.
I'm burning up.

— Kayla Sargeson

Kayla Sargeson earned an MFA from Columbia College Chicago, where she served as a co-editor for Columbia Poetry Review. Her poems appear or are forthcoming from 5 AM, Chiron Review, Paper Street and the national anthology Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye. She lives on Pittsburgh's South Side. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.


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