I USED TO BE A YUPPIE
Frost heaves, upcountry buckling asphalt, no braking, only the kawhoosh ba-thump of these natural speed bumps and the flash of blossoms in the gold-green foliage. Bug Season’s behind us; no ambulances, no diesels squealing, no deafening bass rumbling, chest-shaking, shit for brains at the stop sign below our bed.
Feels too, like we’re submariners coming up in a lake, finding herons at dawn and morning glories on perfume fringed boulders. It's good to get away.
Yesterday, we rambled by our beach-kitsch Sergeant Pepper, by the formal gulls, keeling and flustered, by the big KONA cranes, rasping at the water and groaning at the steel skeletons of downtown Boston. Our space age quadrupeds, heads at the trough, scraping, screeching and boinging replaced the shouts and songs of the old days. We need lots more stuff.
When I was a little kid we left Southie for a duplex beyond Lower Mills where the first mill in the Americas was built and later, Baker’s Chocolate crossed the Neponset River. The ocean breezes made spring smell chocolaty upriver. It was wild then, a brand new neighborhood, no fences. We had snapping turtles and those birches we swung on, bending us before we ever knew of Frost.
Southie drew us back though. Every Easter, every Thanksgiving, every Christmas, and again in summer. The big kids in the backety-back, cigar smoke making us sick, off to see our cousins and grandparents, and go to Castle Island.
So here I am, born here, fifth generation South Bostonian on one side, third generation on the other, I’ve lived on L Street, in my grandparents first home, for the majority of my 67 years, with my wife, whose family also goes back generations…
But I was schooled in Mattapan, and Roslindale, Fenway and West Roxbury from age six to sixteen so I’m never really gonna be “from here.” You can ask anyone.
MUSINGS OF AN ADULT LEARNER
Sounds, to old ears, and those of us with oceans in our ears, are only sensed in the low middle drone,
the frequencies best known; the people pitched mid-tone hums, the bass thumps, the talking tom-toms.
The rest is a noise dump of underwater gurgles. Those high register aires, the “S’s” and “T’s” and snares
and kids and girls and squeals and rustles and shushes, all slipping by undeciphered.
What’s still left is the song, the brain treat of it, the coming of age focusing on rhythm, timbre and pitch,
full flowing at adolescence, streaming for life. Pockets of evocative words stirred in, bringing a welter of
personal dimensions. Descriptions are entirely inadequate.
I love my guitar.