And Now For Something Completely Different…


[photo by Swenson/Getty]

“G-20 in Pittsburgh”
by Adam Perry

Why here?
No history in my hometown since 1960
when Mazeroski sunk the Yankees;
not a murmur unless the Steelers bring home another trophy –
that’s when husbands kiss their wives
and police cars are turned over

Pittsburgh is a once-proud & polluted steel-town
now a football town, last week a global meeting place
for leaders of our planet’s 20 most powerful countries
plus the WTO and World Bank
to make decisions sans democracy

The Prime Minister of Japan threw out the first pitch
when the Pirates played the Dodgers Friday night;
Michelle Obama had breakfast at Pamela’s Diner;
President Obama hosted world leaders at Phipps Conservatory
and was at least once heard asking the mayor
“how about those Steelers, man?”
while police battered protestors just blocks away
in the rain outside the University of Pittsburgh,
which became the first place outside of Russia
where sonic weapons were used on civilians

The city spent almost $20 million on hosting the G-20
and, as the Post Gazette reported,
the week was “unlike any other in Pittsburgh’s history…
local businesses lost money
to make room for global-level discussions
on how to right the world’s financial troubles”

Pittsburgh’s leaders hoped to reveal their town’s resurgence
but instead showed an international audience a deserted town
like Night of the Living Dead with protesters replacing zombies:
many restaurants and shops had boards instead of windows;
they expected record sales
and then found abandoned or locked-down streets
filled with 4,000 cops and 2,000 National Guardsmen
and the ubiquitous voice of God projecting
“anyone standing here will be arrested”

Some bad apples smashed windows and rolled dumpsters
& garbage cans down dirty, vacant streets;
mostly, hundreds of curious college students and journalists
were rewarded with nights in jail
for milling about in a public square
as they do on a normal Friday night

Schools closed;
tear-gas was shot onto dormitory balconies;
soldiers followed innocent young women into sorority houses;
rubber bullets struck every limb racing away from riot police
standing fifteen-across and several rows deep
to prevent students from walking outside,
which was “unsanctioned and unpermitted activity”
leading to softball-sized contusions

An 85’ x 30’ banner was hung from the Fort Pitt Bridge
urging G-20 participants to discuss Climate Change
rather than the economy, which doesn’t exist:
out of the 20 company-countries represented,
Japan was furthest into the black, with $426 billion to spare
while America is dead last, $706 billion in debt –
and yet we somehow spent tens of millions
to host a private party where three rivers found Obama smiling
“welcome to Pittsburgh”

2 thoughts on “And Now For Something Completely Different…

  1. It was Seattle once, and wasn’t that a time!

    the economy, which doesn’t exist. Oh, brother can you spare a dime? How true. Maya at its finest – an illusion that grinds us into the dust.

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