Urban Camping

“Urban Camping”


Boston bustles below my warm and weary perch.

The nearby roofs look like castles, and my kitchen curtains

sway in the top-floor wind like princess hattails.

Boston must be part of my kingdom, too. I claim it. It claims me.

We cut each other at the harbor and swear by the blood, singing.


A long faint of driving freed me from a life of sleeping.

I steered my own way into this city that welcomed me

with hate-scrawled walls, too-friendly men, and bedbugs,

along with resplendent murals, bookstores, and Victorian houses

under the ever-changing northeastern sky above the laughing Charles

wrapping cowpath pavements, greens, and markets—

this random point on the map, the GPS, and the plans,

all of which broke in the end

under the strain of spilled coffee, stormclouds, and exhaustion,

blurring this random line in space and time marking the end of one journey,

the beginning of the next, and my always-failure to let the line lie.


Everywhere, Boston shows me pretty squares of neatly contained history.

Houses here are built to last. The natives are frank about the presence of the past.

I still don’t know how to say mine is a book not closed, but under revision.

I’m still writing the first forty thousand words on every old battle.

Can’t say who I am. I withdraw into the woods of books and my own head.

Can’t bring myself to buy a bed. Furniture is so permanent and food so expensive.

I don’t know how long I’ll be here and I don’t trust them, but even book-diving

on the T, the natives draw me out to talk to me. That’s how I came to realize

this is my home city. One of many.