USA: A Love Letter to Philadelphia

What is it that makes me love you, Philly…

It is the eternal lesson that the cure is rooftop R&B.
It is block parties east of Broad, the fire hydrants spilling out their guts onto Little San Juan.
It is talking strategy for afternoon bocce in Bardascino Park, as if I know what I am doing.
It is the number of capital B-Y-O-B neons that gives us an excuse to drink more wine.
It is the lines of rowhomes, a structures that stand straighter through sharing walls and screams of glee.  These, these are its humans, and you believe in their DREAM.
It is waking up at Fern Rock when I fall deeply asleep one night on the Broad Street Line.
It is the vision from the night stoop in Penn’s Treaty Park, of the changing lights from your bridges dancing off the Delaware.
It is casting a vote for the first time in your corner’s Free Library.
It is the front porch culture of your western pocket and all the smoke rings from rocking chair stations.
It is feeling overdressed when I wear tights.
It is the favorite taco truck that tricks us into eating cow tongue one day so that we know that we love it.
It is crossing the cobblestone streets of Old City and realizing that I’ve never visited the Liberty Bell because I’ve been too busy tracing your other histories.
It is the wheat paste on the outer walls of the galleries and coffee shops and corner stores that reminds me to look up and to walk tall and take no shit.
It is watching a parade of RVs and horses cross through your northern corridor on a Sunday on the way to church.
It is the deep bellow, that primal howl, that we unleash all the way through the 6th street tunnel and hearing it reverberate all around you, the only slope on the bike ride to Temple University.
It is the intersections you asked me to cross, and the good people who were on the next block.

I like you even when I get stuck behind the trash truck on a one way street through Chinatown.
I like you even though snow looks nice on you for exactly 15 minutes.
I like you even when I see a rat that could eat a dog run across the SEPTA tracks, getting fat off of Rittenhouse leftovers.
I miss your grid, and while nobody has ever called you a great beauty, it was your consistency instead that brought me to your many alters.

You are my cardinal educator because you never held my hand.
No, you are tough love.
You’re not exceptionally nice, but instead of nice, which is an excuse for an adjective, you instead have your honesty and your brash scoffs at glitz and pretension.
I see your bones.
I navigate them, and I am home.


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