Just drifting off,
Twin bed my niece used to sleep in-
Far up in the White Mountains,
And all I can hear is the Pemi through my
half open window.
Except, that sound,
The one I listen harder for,
The one that sounds like the collective sigh of relief,
Of a city named Boston.
I’ve Got Seven Lines Before I Lose It
I fell in love with you on the Esplanade when I was just 19,
you, with your cow paths and waterways for streets,
your elegant Back Bay constructed over landfill,
your triple deckers, three up, three down- houses you can not find anywhere else.
And though, we see each other so rarely these days-
I am never more at home then when I get the first glimpse of your Pru as I pass through the AB Tolls.
Dear City of Neighborhoods, My heart is built out of the apartments I have dwelled in, and it’s belonged to you since I was 19.
So- I hate John Mayer
And he cries after sex.
Those two things are mutually exclusive.
A friend from college was rumored to have hooked
up with him back during his college days in Boston.
I asked – inebriated at a bachelorette party in nyc-
So, John Mayer really?
and she nodded back and I pushed,
wait, is your body a wonderland?
In return she grinned back, no.
–No we really only hooked up a couple of times.
Just a couple?
–Yah, see he cries after sex. Read the rest of this entry
I shouldn’t be surprised, by what house lights reveal.
By now the shows I’ve been to number near three hundred,
and probably that is understating it.
The venues have varried
from dive bar to stadium
from music hall to theater,
once there was a ski lodge,
oh and an old stone church.
But no matter the place, when the lights start to rise,
reality begins to settle in,and last night,
was no different, so really,
I’m not sure why I was surprised.
First of all, the floor is always horrifying,
it is sticky, and littered, there are shards of glass,
some girl dressed in flip- flops, with an anesthetic level of booze
has inevitably left with a terrible souvenir.
And the couple to the right, who looked so perfect for each other,
he is too tall, and she is just drunk, and somebody is obviously lying.
And the good dancer to you left, turns out he just got his hands on something
brought in from somebody’s older brother out on the west coast.
And the healing I was feeling in my heart,
the cure I thought was finding with each drop
of the bass drum, with each new chord on the keys,
turns out that too was just brought in for the night,
delivered not by doses, but by nostalgia.
And we can be honest, because given the opportunity,
I will continue to be disoriented by the harsh glow of the post midnight lighting.
I will arrive into the club in the dark, and dance my way through
the funk, and the ballads, keep my feet moving through the refrains and
revel in what can be hidden by a six piece and a lighting board.
And in the morning, under the real-time burn of the sun,
I will flip through the digital captures of the night before,
and remember what it was like to be fooled by the shadows.
Insanely good night – good poetry – good readers – and I had a good reading.. even while I recognized the terribly solemn. . .there was good stuff to be found.
Because When You’re Six –
To be honest, I would like to forget, I would prefer not to remember. I would enjoy not knowing. I don’t want to be given some CNN, narrated by Wolf Blitzer, version of the event.
And to be honest, there’s no way I could forget feeling by 9:45am that world was bound to be ending. People fell out of the sky. Men ran not away from, but into fires. And me, I became a grown woman by 10:22.
That day was perfect, blue skies in Boston, as far as you could see. And while I was downing a coffee to erase a Monday night Jack and Coke bender, I remember smiling as I rounded the corner on to Huntington ave.
But then within minutes, in only the time it took to start a computer, every email I sent to someone I knew in NYC said, “are you okay, is everyone you know okay?”
Every phone line was jammed, I woke my brother in my mother’s house, and said “turn on the tv”.
The Harvard docs we intended to send to Atlanta out of Logan that day — – so we were afraid –had come back to our conference room – and I watched grown men with PhD’s shatter.
When released from work, like most of Boston that day, The paper box on the corner held the Globe’s first Extra in fifty years. “War” is all it spoke.
And the walk out to the bus stop, the free bus ride home, it was as if Boston had been abandoned, because every doc who worked in the medical area that day, had caught a ride to NYC, because they thought there would be more wounded, more survivors.
I walked into a six bedroom house full of all those people, my family by circumstance, not birth. More home at that minute, than it had ever been before.
And that TV that I said to turn on, stayed on for days, and my heart hurt for every mother, father, wife, husband, and child. My heart hurt for my grandfather who was no longer bordering on stupendous.
Dan Rather lost it on Letterman, and I lost it too. Wondered how anyone managed to live through anything like this with all of their heart intact.
The half a pack-of smokes began to border on a whole, the two beers, became more, and I was dying to be able to wave a magic wand, and stop all those kids from being shipped away to fight a war in some frat boy’s passion play.
Forget, how could I – how could anyone, when four planes managed to rip out the heart of our Constitution, and deliver us an Act so Patriotic, that we began to question the Quakers in Maine.
Not remember, how would I – when it was just people going to work, and doing their jobs, like I did that day. Except mine was the just the city they flew the planes out of, not into.
So pardon me, if I don’t let the media get one more ad buy from my viewing today. Pardon me, if I sound a little bitter, but, there’s not a person over 13 who can’t tell you where they were that day–
“We had gone to Atkins for a field-trip for Preschool, Ms. B, to get cider donuts , but we had to come home, and eat our donuts on the bus. That’s what I remember Ms. B”.
Ms. B, I thought it was our Northampton airport that it happened at – though the planes had crashed there, silly huh, Ms. B?”
Not so silly – because when your six, your world gets to be that small.
So if I tell you that my heart still breaks, that I still hold my breath when a plane flies too low, and that I still get tears when I see a fireman in NYC, If I tell you all that, then, will you just let me be, will you just let me forget.
To be honest, I would like to forget, I would prefer not to remember. I would enjoy not knowing. I don’t want to be given some CNN, narrated by Anderson Cooper, version of the event.
And to be honest, there’s no way I could forget feeling by 9:45am that world was bound to be ending. People fell out of the sky. Men ran not away from, but into fires. And me, I became a grown woman by 10:22. Read the rest of this entry
“Normal things make you feel normal,” my Mom said that to me in the middle of a panic attack one night. I was in Boston, she was home. We were connected through a hundred miles by a phone line. ” ‘Normal things make you feel normal’, Gram said that to me once in the middle of the only panic attack I think I ever had”.
Dinner. Pull out all the stuff, work like the French chefs do. Mise en place. Everything in its place. Pretend that everything isn’t out-of-place. Read the rest of this entry
Once I was dating this boy. It was the summer after graduating UConn, and about four weeks out from a break-up of a longterm relationship that had been around since high-school — but there I was dating a new boy. I was about eight weeks from moving to Boston. I didn’t have a job lined up, and I had already given up on the dream of moving to DC to work for the Feminist Majority – and there I was dating a boy – sitting in Ted’s, the ubiquitous-where- everyone- knows-your-name joint on campus – and we were talking what we were going to be when we grew up – and I said in ten years I’ll either be working for UN commission on women, or an English teacher and mama and wife – and he said – if you’re just an English teacher, I’ll be sad, you’ve got bigger things to do. Read the rest of this entry
I’ve never made cranberry sauce from scratch before – And after creating this jewel like brew, I can’t believe I’ve waited so long. Honestly, it tastes as good as it looks. I didn’t use the clove in the recipe above (since I can’t stand clove in anything but cigarettes, and only on a November day, when you’re 19 in Boston). I subbed some cinnamon in instead. It is, I imagine, just as lovely.
A six bedroom house where I think I had twelve roommates in the 18 months I lived there. A house on the hill, that once held an entire band. I knew the band because I grew up with the drummer. The band was in Boston, and after finishing college, I migrated there, because god knows, I needed the hell out of dodge. I lived outside of the city for six months till my two roommates up and fell in love and both moved to NYC with their new boyfriends. That’s when Shannon St. took me in .
Six bedroom house – full of red-headed crazies, keep-to them-self hermits, coffee addicts, artists of all stripes, and dear friends. We had a kid who only lasted a weekend once. We took people in, and they took over the couches. We planned parties that people still talk about. Once we dressed a mannequin in disco Christmas gear, lowered him to the a porch roof from my third story bedroom, and lit him with stage lights, red and green of course.
A roommate and I once sat at the kitchen table and drew a map of our friends, dotted lines for roommates, circles for band-mates, and double dark lines for hook-ups. Oh the boundaries were so blurred. But blurry is fun when you’re 20 something living in a six bedroom house in city like Boston.
Tonight, and it’s nearly ten years since I made this state my home. And those roommates, most are married now, and some have kids, and instead of being up till two singing tunes while someone plays a guitar, we sit in circles and chase the babies down. We pack sippy cups in our coolers now. We watch our mouths. Though for the briefest of moments today while some of my dearest were joking around, it felt like just yesterday. Ten years now I’ve called these people my friends, and so often they feel like family.