I am convinced that deranged Druids were the architects mapping the roads of Boston.
They must have cut open a goat and inspected the twisted entrails as they plotted the
most propitious paths to get lost on in this misplaced metropolis, this place that the
gods dropped among us, this urban mess that waylaid me last summer. Rebels and
madmen sired this empire, John Adams greatest among them, a man who once told
Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence because Adams believed
himself a Boston cur whom no one would go along with if he penned those hallowed
words. Though, as I stroll beneath the cackling canopy of wires and stoplights in
mangled Cambridge, I wonder what King George would have thought if he had
received Adams' letter instead of Jefferson's grandiloquence, if the queen would have
fainted and wet nurses covered the ears of royal children as a blushing herald read
Adams' blasphemous oaths to the court—that's an alternate history I would pay to
America began here when straitlaced purists uncivilized New England, or so said the
guide to tourists who gathered around Plymouth Rock, surprised to find that it was
only a rock. Those that I overheard who got bored of staring at rocks returned to the
shore to indulge in Boston's fish fetish: here men smell fish and catch fish and buy
fish and house fish in the aquarium and if they are feeling frisky they pay to ride fish
in Codzilla, a harum-scarum boat ride rivaling trials at Salem.
I left the cape and its kind and went to Walden to get transcendent in mind, but the
Scrod People followed me on their unicorn floats, a plague of loons hunting for
Thoreau, and I only got transcended when I read afterward that I just soaked in a pool
visited by over a 250,000 swimmers every year. And there, bathing in trillions of
germs and diseases, I got as close as I will ever be to being one with humanity.
Alex Pickens has spent his entire life in the Appalachian mountains between Virginia and New England, where he has stared down bears, nearly died in freak ice storms, and ran a marathon on his driveway. His poetry appears in The Inkwell Journal, Pretty Owl Poetry, Jersey Devil Press, Litbreak and Crack the Spine. His flash fiction has been nominated for a Best Microfiction, 2018 anthology and his screenplays have earned him invitations to Hollywood.