“when do you know?”

a smitten friend of mine once asked,
“when do you know she’s the one?”

i laughed and made eyes with my shoes.
i could tell that he was hoping
for a clearer answer than i could muster.

 

“you know…” i would reply:

…when your search for the answer
stops being defined by your options,
and starts being defined by your choices.

the moment you know, is the moment
that question – and its answer – become irrelevant.

boston is.

boston is.

a juxtaposition of worlds old and new.
skyscrapers taking counsel with their centuries-old kin.

the river charles.
gentle waves nudging endlessly upon forgiving banks.

brownstone townhouses,
each as storied as the brick sidewalks they neighbor.

a maze of one-way thoroughfares,
charmingly circuitous routes granted life by
the treadmarks and footprints from
generations of commutes and strolls.

whose hands have built these streets,
and whose feet have walked these paths?
whose laughter and tears have graced these places?
pores and cracks filled with the silt and sinews
of human experience.

boston is.

those perfectly crisp two weeks,
which fall with such serendipitous precision
between dog days and frigid nights.

the roar of a spirit, ever-vigilant.
proud of its history and confident in its future.

a town which cannot be shuttered.
not by shouts of revolution, or fear or joy or sorrow;
not in winters which carry bone-chilling wind and snow,
nor through any challenge which dares befall it.

boston is.

roger – a man who cuts a mean head of hair.
angled, auburn eyes and a crew cut.
he speaks in mumbles from the corners of his mouth
as if he were constantly spilling secrets.
hanging above his stylist’s chair; a picture of boxing gloves.

diana – a soft-spoken yet bright-eyed barista.
nametag, cursively penned in colored chalk
and flourished with half-smudged hearts.
the ivories of her early morning smile always
seemed to hold back a tongue full with words.

the impossibly cheerful homeless man,
with dark, gravely skin; full, ashen lips resting
beneath a weathered nose and deepset eyes.
perched on a box, in the street, sing-talking to passersby:
“does anybody have any change, change, change?”

rory – a texan-turned-parisian-barkeep,
whose hazel eyes dart mischievously
under a loose-fitting black beret,
as he deftly mixes magic and memories,
from behind a scuffed, nickel bartop.

boston is.

adventures on balconies and rooftops.
single-malt scotch and hand-rolled cigars.
that wooden bench on commonwealth.
anxious journeys on the amtrak.
fifteen-course dinner parties.
emergency room visits to mass general.
lord of the rings marathons.
brunch.
zebra-print snuggies and chutes & ladders.
mid-day dance parties.
red sox: world champions.
early morning flights out of logan.
a marathon in memoriam.
friends and loves, made and lost.

boston is.

where the traces of the man i was to become
first filtered through the sieve of experience.
pieces annealed in a crucible of
failure and suffering and heartbreak..
forged by pain, yet quenched by such sweetness;
friendship. love. and kindness.
all things, both meaningful and menial.

boston is.
and – quite simply – always will be.

if it’s all the same to you

if it’s all the same to you, i’ll take my pride to go.
packaged alongside other leftovers
and shoved hastily into a white plastic bag,
featuring a smiling yellow face and the words,
“thank you. have a nice day!”

if it’s all the same to you, i’ll leave out the front door.
i’ve been climbing through windows for years,
and my feet ache for solid ground.

if it’s all the same to you, i’ll fix my gaze ahead,
lest nostalgia (or curiosity) turn this Lot to salt.

 

if it’s all the same to you, i’ll never be the same.