Eris

It was never true that there was only one Eris. There have always been two on earth. There is one you could like when you understand her. The other is hateful. The two have separate natures.

-Hesiod

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After

“She always talks about after. Always comments
on the low light in the bedroom, how she can
count each ring of rib and pick out the blue pulse
at the hollow of your throat. I try to imagine what
isn’t mine: the softness of you in a bedroom that
smells like skin and her beneath you, nails in your
back like a crucifixion. I try to imagine the cocoon
of you, the possessiveness of your embrace, how

your fingers curl around her wrists like manacles.
She is slave to your passion and you are too—slave
to that untamed thing within you that croons with
wild abandon and hangs its head when you are
spent. I wonder how she can manage to keep herself

together and talk about it so normally, as if you do
not crawl into bed night after night together, feet
bound at the bases of each other’s spines like hands
praying. She doesn’t say the most obvious: that you
are beautiful, that the sight of you above her—or
below her—moving, eyes open wide and mouth

gaping is enough to shatter her. That the tilt of your
neck against the pillow and how pliable you become
beneath her hands and the little ‘o’ she leaves behind
on your shoulder with her teeth like a branding as
she comes makes her love you—impossibly, achingly—
more. It is

a love that leaves you both scraped out and hollow,
as if it has burned you clean through.”

— Kristina Haynes, “After”

Being a Woman

“When you grow up as a girl, the world tells you the things you are supposed to be: emotional, loving, beautiful, wanted. And then when you are those things, the world tells you they are inferior: illogical, weak, vain, empty. The world teaches you that the way you exist in it is disgusting—you watch boys cringe backward in your dorm room when you talk about your period, blue water pretending to be blood in a maxi pad commercial. It is little things, and it is constant. In a food court at the mall, after you go to the gynecologist for the first time, you and your friend talk about how much it hurts, and over her shoulder you watch two boys your age turn to look at you and wrinkle their noses: the reality of your life is impolite to talk about. The world says that you don’t have a right to the space you occupy, any place with men in it is not yours, you and your body exist only as far as what men want to do with it.”

— Stevie Nicks

What an astonishing thing a book is.

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

-Carl Sagan

Marathon Day

“Some thoughts for my Non-Bostonian friends.
As you probably know by now, Patriot’s Day is a holiday in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Pretty much everyone’s off. And while many Bay Staters do call the day by its name, most of my friends called it Marathon Day.

And every year, on Marathon Day, the Red Sox play a home game at 11AM. (For those so inclined —and most are— the Cask ‘n Flagon, the classic sports bar in the shadow of the Green Monster, opens for business at 11. I hear there’s a line.) The game’s unusual start time is set to coincide with the Marathon, allowing fans to leave the game and wander into Kenmore Square to cheer on the marathoners. A typical game will get out around two PM; most people walk through the square, following the marathon route onto Boylston Street, and the finish line. They’ll arrive around 2:30.

They can’t help it; they’re drawn there. In all of New England, the center of gravity on Marathon Day is Boylston street.

IF the weather’s right (and, honestly, even if it isn’t), no place on earth, not Times Sqaure nor New Orleans, offers a better pub crawl than Boylston street on Marathon Day. My friends and I would start at Division 16 before moving down the street, stuffing our way into bar after crowded bar, grabbing a round in each before returning to the street to cheer the runners on. By journey’s end, it’d be close to six PM – just in time to cut through the Public Gardens, up the Commons, past the State House and down the backside of Beacon Hill to the Boston Garden, where either the Bruins or the Celtics always seemed to have a home game a home game at night.

For a visitor to the city, it’s a glorious way to spend a day and really understand what makes Boston the special place it is. To a sports fan, Marathon Day is a little bit of Heaven on Earth.

Bostonians bristle at the notion that theirs is not a world class city. (Truth be told, Bostonians bristle at a lot of things— but that’s another tale.). But they fail to see the affection in these jests, for the size of the city is at the heart of Boston’s charm. “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” has the romance, “New York, New York” is timeless, but “Dirty Water” is pure Boston— a low-tech, rowdy stomp of a song that seems to say: “this may be the deal here, but it’s ours. And in in our own way, we love it just the way it is.” To the rest of the world, it’s Monday. But it’s a Big Day in Boston, for it’s Marathon Day, and if the weather’s good (and even if it isn’t)… no matter what else is going on in your life, all is right with the world. You can’t even bounce a check that day (bank holiday, dontcha know).

Why am I telling you all this? Because Patriot’s Day is Boston’s day, God dammit. The city’s own Special Day, when Boston – not New York or LA or London or anywhere – is the best place on the planet to be.

And whichever coward did this stained this day. For years to come.

Like all deep stains, today’s ugliness will fade, but it will never really wash out. In addition to the sox game and the marathon, Patriot’s Day in Boston will have new rituals: Moments of silence, tributes, prayers. This is, of course, as it should be. But to this Calvinist New Englander (if not by home then by ancestry), this day is a sucker-punch reminder of The Way Of The World: if you have something simple, something unstained, something that’s just plain good— someone, somewhere, wants to ruin it.

I want to say that the best way to honor the day will be to dance. Go to the Flask, cheer the Sox, cheer the runners, do the pub crawl. Treasure the one carefree day.

But somehow, that doesn’t feel right. At least not now. But adding another day of mourning to our collective calendar feels wrong too.

I don’t know what to do. And that angers me that I even have to contemplate it.

Here on Boston’s Day. Patriot’s Day. Marathon Day.”

Peter Kelley