|Posted by Nikki Yeager on April 9, 2011 at 5:13 PM|
Day two in Boston has been wonderful. I woke up incredibly late in a silent, pitch black hotel room (I LOVE the light-eliminating curtains cheap hotels use) with one of the most restful nights of sleep I've had in months behind me. After a free and delicious breakfast - after all, what is not delicious when free? - I headed out to the subway-shuttle. And was greeted by a hoard of guests in Yankees jerseys.
Turns out the Yankees were playing the Red Sox this weekend. I just can't escape NY even when I try... and I never try very hard.
Anyways, I found my way to "The T" and left the baseball fanatics at Fenway on my way to a Poetry Festival near Copley Square.
Now a poetry festival may seem like an odd thing to attend in Boston, but I never turn down a Couchsurfer's suggestion and this just happened to be the one thing someone was able to suggest to me last night. Plus, it was free. And again, free = fabulous.
So I headed into the Boston library (which is at least as grand as the NYC library on 42nd street) and gawked at the frescoes on the ceiling while making my way to the lecture hall downstairs.
Finally I found an auditorium with only 30 or so people seated near the aisles, and one man happily reciting his newest poem. Every man and woman was 40-60 years old with the same bespectacled, studious face as the person next to him or her. And that's when I remember I was in the academic center of the Northeast. Harvard, U-Mass, Northeastern, Emerson etc.
And every poetry or English professor from each of those schools seemed to be in attendance. Plus me, the backpack toting, boot wearing, messy haired girl from NY.
The girl on the stage announced the next poet. Who apparently had not come to perform today.
So she awkwardly rambled for a second or two and then called on a volunteer from the audience. A man in the back of the room who I hadn't noticed stood up timidly. He was the only black guy in the room. The only other person under 30. He wasn't wearing glasses, wasn't dressed in a sweater vest... had only sneakers to cover his common-man feet.
A few people snickered in the back of the room as he stepped up to the podium. And when he began to introduce himself, a diminuitive man in the third row immediately started to swirl his hand in silent circles - a signal to hurry up with it already.
The crowd grew restless after only 20 seconds and the man at the podium, who had proudly gotten to the library an hour before the festival even started, began to freestyle a poem.
After the mention of "freestyle" a highly educated professor in the back of the room loudly exclaimed "Well, she sure took a chance with this one!" as if the young man was the largest mistake to ever occur.
And the guy went on with his poem.
"...Sure we got Obama..."
He shared his thoughts, real thoughts, with the crowd. And everyone snickered. Not a single one of the words that fell from his lips would be found in an SAT prep book.
However, not a single amount of his passion could be found in any other face.
And instead of listening to the words, everyone scoffed as he neared to a close.
"...But America needs me."
And even though the quiet - yet articulate! - comments seemed to roll off his shoulders while he proudly walked back to his seat. I noticed that immediately after the next poet started, the poet from the back room snuck out, head hung low and shoulders slumped, never to come back again.
While those words bounced back and forth in my head with a whole heap of sorrow for that boy.
"But America needs me."