Saturday, April 12, 2008


Writing Boston

At first there is no reason
to describe
a vacation in Boston,
no reason to recite lists of dishes
served at dusk
and carefully recorded in your notebook:
strip steak
artichoke hearts
tangerine flan.

No reason to relate a meal devoured
across from your brother
in a strange but familiar town
you lived in for just two years
(he says it like that, just…)

You try to forge stories from meals and memories,
and you drag him to that theater
with your name carved in the seat
and the magician’s dirty yellow robe
under plexiglass in the lobby.

But no amount of sitting
on the public garden bench
by the white gazebo
can transport you back
to those two years,
place the subway card in the reader,
conjure the smell of beer and newspaper
for the cuff of your sweater.

On the plane ride home, though,
storyless as a shopping list,
you think about tangerine flan
and waking up
on your brother’s busted air mattress
to children in blue hoodies
suspended on jungle gym bars.

Then suddenly you reach up
to push the tiny round button
with the light bulb in the center,
flounder for a pen
because you’ve remembered
the little blonde girl
with a crooked smile
who stood at the fence with a stick,
peeling back the layers
of leaf and stem
like so many words.

Friday, April 4, 2008

#5 in a series on Young Adult literature

"Then I must have slipped into a sort of sleep for a few minutes before I was standing on a starting-block, then swimming around in the sea and between me and the shore was this gigantic surf, not the rolling kind which you could, with luck, ride to safety, but the evil dumping kind, which makes a point of hurling its victims head-first into the sand, breaking every bone before washing your body ashore, and now I have to choose between the surf and a school of sharks, I am Tinman again, crumpled silver tossed ashore, but look what else the surf throws up on to the moonlit sand, Miss Macrae in full costume as a witch from Macbeth, with blacked-out teeth, more skull than face, Andy in school uniform, but covered with blood and his handsome face set in a smiling death mask, terrifying in its smoothness and perfection, and a female body, broken and twisted by the force of the sea, which I recognize as myself..."

-- from Tessa Duder's In Lane Three, Alex Archer, pg. 235-236