–A Resident of Allston, Massachusetts
In between groans and guffaws
a dial tone and Yoko Ono
strangling each other,
Big Red is telling
one of the hemp-scented girls
that the police are
“a bundle of vermin-headed,
sons of human trash.”
If Allston Village
lived up to the insolence
of its vagabonds,
and the undaunted mettle
of its counterculture impresarios,
its residents would be
black-and-white VHS tapes
of the unhinged,
a barely restrained
bucketful of bile.
Local cafes would showcase
a series of paintings
where young men
chase an emaciated bird
through a back alley,
a series entitled
Love Riddled By Starvation.
But the truth is less glamorous.
Across the radius of Linden and Gardner street,
sin-blissed bedrooms leak smears of onomatopoeia.
Their cacophony is ubiquitous and insidious.
Some nights, lying in a softly-sighing bed,
you can imagine custom-ordering
these lascivious soundtracks
from laminated menus:”Alfred and Christine,
your sex noises fried
silk-smooth vowel enunciation
and a side of epileptic fits.”
Allstonian silence is not unheard of,
but one is never more than a stone’s throw
from shedding their sweat in claustrophobia’s basement,
where 2 a.m.’s finger-licking guitars
roll & shake & rattle inside a solar plexus,
and anyone who’s anyone lets their tongue wail
like a karaoke fool with infectious migraines.
Get too close to that scummy fuzz
and it’ll take a chunk out of your cheek.
Come back next year and everyone’s gotten younger.
Yes, I have lived in this neighborhood for several phonebooks,
amongst the hipsters hotrodding on streaks of minor chords,
the fratpack with a bathtub full of absinthe,
the perennial freshmen vigorously swimming in their hormones
like player pianos that are just trying to keep up with the music.
I have lived here, and continue to find myself unperturbed and receptive.
I apologize Allston,
I don’t think I’ll ever meet you
with a consciousness
that frolics like urban tumbleweed,
that gapes in astonishment at your bare feet
hanging from the side of a car window.
But please, free fall ten years down the wells of my eyes,
show me how elastic my generosity can be,
know that the wet babble you record on my eardrums
will be fawned over for the rest of the night,
and then fondly forgotten in the morning.
Now go smear some crunchy peanut butter over your body,
and ease those headphones back over your ears.
Michael F. Gill has lived in Boston for fifteen years, and has had work published in Amethyst Arsenic, Spoonful, and Best Indie Lit New England, Volume 1 (BILiNE). He runs the Brighton Word Factory (a bi-weekly writing group in Boston,) organizes the 365/365 challenge (an online group designed to stretch one’s writing abilities in community with other poets,) and is always on the lookout for a good bagel. His website is http://www.bbtp.net.