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 of 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.

you will never grow old

 

don’t get me wrong, juan ponce de leon.
you see, i don’t actually believe that you’ve discovered
the fountain of youth.

when i say – “my dear, you will never grow old.”
i mean it in the figurative sense.
because i’m trying to be poetic and shit.
(and btw, i’ll add “and shit” because i’m trying
to sharpen this cheddar – the cheese, that is.)

to clarify, when i say what i’ve written that i’ve said,
i don’t mean that i could look at you all night and day.
or even spend time with you endlessly,
without needing a break from time to time.
nor am i implying that there won’t be times when you bore the
h-e-double-hockey-stick (*ahem* HELL) out of me.
because who knows? you just might.

but listen.

because what i am really trying to say.
what i really mean by all of this. is that
i am so completely thrilled and altogether terrified by the fact that
i will never run out of things to learn about you.

and how do i know that, you wonder?
how can i know that the moment won’t arrive someday, when
we look at each other with disappointing familiarity
and wonder – “good lord, what have we done?”

well, the way i see it:
one, we don’t spend every minute together (and thank god for that).
two, we were already many, many minutes old when we first met.
and three, there’s an infinite number of things we are still discovering about ourselves, and an infinite number of ways in which we are still changing, growing, and evolving.

now i’m no mathematician.
but when i add and subtract the relevant sums, i find that
there simply aren’t enough minutes in this feeble, finite lifetime
to cover it all.

an eternity could pass, and i could never learn all the wonderful things about you. the moments – both memorable and minuscule – that make you who you are.

but i am here now, and you are here now.
and my appetite for you is insatiable,
paling only in comparison to
the infinity of you.

so as the years roll by, we will continue to age.
but you, my dear, will never grow old.

the roof

 

limestone steps.
two, three at a time –
our famished legs covered such ground
with unexpected ease.

i looked back at you
right index pressed to my lips,
dissecting a cheeky grin.

holding back hushed laughter,
we’d kept it together past security
and couldn’t dare lose it now.

at last, one obstacle remained.
i jimmied that old bronze lock
and whispered a little prayer.
the deadbolt shifted;
and in an instant, we were free.

the manifesto: part one

 

i’m a midwest boy
with heart in my lungs
there’s seoul in these bones
(though it missed my tongue)

youngest of three
by a margin of ten
born to a home
ruled by a hen

five of us all
four parents, i cite
each working hard
to raise me up right

one taught me duty & principle.
another, serenity.
the third piqued a desire to create,
and the last defined how to lead.

more a result of others
than indeed, of myself
makes one quite humbled
to have been granted such help.

peace

 

these notes have addressed many you’s over the years,
but it feels as though eons have elapsed
since the last time a “you” was… you.

…yet here i am.
eyes heavy; heart slow; breaths deep;
the sun – come and gone.
and you..
your fragrance seeps serenely into my mind.
fills in those cracks the way it used to…

we spoke on the telephone,
recently.
for the first time
since the last time
i whispered your name to the night.

slowly, you decanted reparations
for debts i hadn’t known.
from times long enough ago, that
the memories i recalled seemed more like
– frozen frames –
from a long since forgotten film.
efforts were made to remember relevant
scenes, contexts, and plot twists.

 

when you had finished,
i paused.
considered.
inhaled, then exhaled.
responded with few words,
which stayed with you more than i had expected them to:

“it will always matter,
but it will always be o.k.”

…i didn’t quite know what else to say.

you used to say that life is what happens
when we’re busy making other plans.
in the most tragically beautiful sense,
i do agree.

ivories

 

the way she played them ivories,
breathing life into those keys –
they crackled as twigs do when fed to fire.

the way her poise relaxed ever so slightly
as she sensed his approach.
he; mesmerized by her melodies,
heart swaying to the rhythm of her soul –

lost… and found, in one serendipitous beat.

 

he loved those collarbones,
and how the nape of her neck
gently ushered flowing sinews
over her shoulders.
her delicate skin
draping neatly upon her figure,
silhouettes of the beauty of her being
hiding just beneath the surface;
forms barely made visible,
like the way one would protect fine furniture with a cover.

he didn’t dare disturb such magic
as was simmering in the air
and she, sporting a coy grin,
continued playing on… playing on…

heart strings

 

the strings of this heart,
once tied tightly in earnest
– quivering at mere whispers –
have since loosened in their resolve.

such supple sinews had hitherto stretched forth,
gayly greeting hands that might have played
implacably dulcet melodies.

if only practice made perfect.

how can it be
that after so few years
and even fewer loves
these strings have so frayed?