Saturday Poem / Thinking about Warhol & Stein in a Northside Pittsburgh Garden

Stein was born nearby on Beech Avenue. Warhol, on the far-side of town ...


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Do you think Gertrude Stein would have liked

this garden, its cloistered & European vibe?

I believe Warhol would have liked the flowers,

 

how the glass glitters & repeats. Stein was born

nearby on Beech Avenue. Warhol, on the far-side

of town, no radio, no hot & cold running water.

 

It’s said that Warhol was shaped more by Shirley

Temple than Jackson Pollock. Stein had no use

for Hollywood. She was Rabelaisian in sandals

 

& velvet robes. Her brother Leo called her writing

godalmighty rubbish. Gertrude drove her old Ford

down the Champs Élysées & when she and Alice

 

fled to a little village, the villagers protected them.

Or as the mayor later told her, We knew you were old

& would not survive the camps. Warhol was his own

 

Do-It-Yourself Landscape behind wigs of electro-

platinum, as he exhaled, I am from nowhere.

She, of course, had a passion for sentences.

 

In my generation, I am the only one. What might

she have thought of his turbulence — in stillness,

the tincture of forbidden, his pentimento of petals?

Joan E. Bauer

Joan E. Bauer is the author of “The Almost Sound of Drowning” (Main Street Rag). She has worked as a teacher and counselor and lives in Shadyside. With Jimmy Cvetic, she co-hosts and curates the Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series in Oakland.


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