Pops

Pops

Whining shrills and drum-beat thuds

shatter the evening’s black-glass calm.

Like Ramadi air raids or sectarian blasts

the air pulsates in shock therapy;

cloudless skies give way to varicolored orbs

discharging their smoky excesses

like sulphuric fumes from the nostrils of Hell.

Those who congregate on the esplanade

watch the spectacle then shuffle home in droves.

And on a Red Line rail car at Charles/MGH,

a dreadlocked guitarist yells at the train man

to stop letting so many folks in.

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Lynn

Lynn

Stretched tight, like a belt

across the North Shore waistline.

A double-verse of city and town,

where factory shells and mill hollows

whisper industrial secrets

to blacked-out storefront windows.

A stimulating multi-ethnic maze,

where Monroe Street

feels like Boston’s Latin Quarter,

while pubs on Broad

have the Irish taste of Southie.

A raw jewel flaunting its gritty allure,

where the promenade on Lynn Shore Drive

points its green and sandy finger

into the Atlantic’s indigo abyss,

where what seems constant

are the saints and a stranger’s front porch,

offering up itself as a peeling front row seat

to watch one’s life transfix in stasis

or set sail to a sanguine horizon.

 

 

 

 

Food justice

Food Justice 

Grocery store:

Washington Street,

South End,

Cathedral of the Holy Cross

along the way.

Fruits of the vine,

produce of the earth,

packed in air-conditioned chambers.

 

Grocery store:

Warren Street,

Roxbury,

Mandela mural

along the way.

Snacks,

sundry goods,

No WICA Acccepted.

 

We are what we eat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head rushing; head rowing on the Charles River

Head rushing; head rowing on the Charles River

I’ve barely been to Roxbury, Matapan,
South Boston’s Irish Town.
I have not thought to stop like some
lost tourist to compare and contrast
features, challenges, triumphs,
hopes, dreams… lives.
Why?
The head rush of race and classism rushes
like the unlikely chance of a Charles River flood –
a flood that slugs lethargically downtown,
uptown, low-town
leaving the debris of history behind:
Civil rights marches, police confrontations,
bus and school rulings, blood spilt.
I see it, I live it all in my zoned out
head rush dreams.
It’s the Head of the Charles Regatta
and I’m an illegal participant,
head rowing against the tides of bad old days
I pray not to meet again.
I’ve barely been to Matapan, Roxbury,
South Boston’s Irish Town.
But for the sake of similar differences in this city
and nation’s story, I’d like to visit them all again.

Subway: Copley Square

Here is another urban (or city) poem that I didn’t add to the Urban portraits series I did  a some posts back. If the Copley Station described here looks inauthentic that’s because it’s done for a reason.

Subway: Copley Square 

The Green Line whistles

to a momentary pause

beneath Copley Square.

As the doors hiss open,

one can feel the underground

heat stick like velcro to

one’s clothes; smell —

the warm sweat hanging in the

air like a noose, the violent meeting of

hissing wheels on archaic tracks

and somewhere close, the delightful

stench of morning coffee and baking pretzels;

hear — a blind saxophonist blasting his breath away,

rats scurrying on the tracks, dim light bulbs,

busy shoes and the railcar doors hissing shut behind

me before chugging off — to where I can not tell.

But he who daringly jumps the turnstiles before me,

his aim, if not his end, can be assumed.

In tow, the policemen’s whistles blow.

One can only observe them leap over a law

so stringently enforced.

The turnstile-jumper sprints, he leads the chase,

barreling toward the approaching pit…

He halts, leaning over the yellow safety line

as the next train clocks frantically in,

and is cuffed and hauled away.

Thus concludes another hour in the subway,

this sub-city street wonderland.

(Where things are more exciting

below ground than above.)