For the Presumably Homeless Man Peddling Harvard T-Shirts on Boston Common After Dusk

Boston, you give me the creeps.
I can’t say it’s your gridless, faux-European streets,
That encircle the center like rings in a pond
(although they are ridiculous).
I can’t even say that it’s your unnaturally azure skies,
Stolen from the Indians you blamed your tea party on.
What gives me the creeps, Boston,
Is the innumerable Harvard t-shirts that circulate
Throughout every facet of your existence,
Like vital blood rushes through an animal.
It’s as though, despite Fenway Park, Faneuil Hall,
And the damn Cheers Bar,
People rush to Boston to get their hands
On half-hour old hickey colored shirts
Emblazoned with “HARVARD.”
Parents asking for child sizes,
Thinking that they missed their chance
At the American dream,
But they’ll be damned if the kid follows their lead.
Parents violently pulling them over their child’s small head,
As if this were enough to cement their acceptance.
And the poor, dirty old man,
Collecting $20 bills and bottles,
Pushing his cart with his hunched back
Through historic Boston common every day,
Bellowing his mindless mantra:
“T-shirts, folks, T-shirts.”


Brian Thomas is a rising sophomore at Ursinus College. He is the 2014 recipient of the Iris N. Spencer Undergraduate Poetry award from West Chester University. He has been published in The Lantern, Ursinus College’s literary magazine.

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