Burlington,­ why do I sill love you and all your useless glamour

of fur coats and string lights and work boots?

Burlington, I can’t get a job I can stand for more than a month,

and all the poets are leaving to New Orleans, New York City, Nebraska.

Burlington, the Progressive Party is sinister and bourgeois.

Our protests and marches in City Hall Park always end in a circle

like the rim of a giant asshole.

Are we sending smoke signals to our enemies a thousand miles away?

Are we doing are part to fight fascism?

Burlington, why haven’t I left yet?  Why do I still want to be one of your crowd,

your fierce young women with dirt and paint on their hands,

your somber young men unimpeachable in rabbinic beards and vintage suits,

your transcendent transsexuals in perfect purple tights?

Why haven’t I grown out of this?

Why are none of my clothes still good enough for you?

Don’t all of us say this behind closed doors?  No one can figure out how it happened.

We all know the air is bad, that soon the rent will be too high,

that we will be stuck reliving the summer of 2015 forever,

that maybe you don’t love us back, but still,

we can’t make up our minds to leave your shaggy womb.

Burlington, am I even talking to you?  Is this even real?

Won’t it be like this anywhere I go?

What is regional culture?

Burlington, you’ve got me crazy.

Burlington, don’t think I don’t see you,

your down-jacketed co-eds, your brilliant head-scarved refugees,

your townies and bums yelling in the street,

your old Vermonters refusing to pronounce their French last names properly,

your politicians and lawyers in fancy wool socks,

your vampire-young lululemon yoga teachers,

your beautiful Franciscan herbalists.

Burlington, don’t think Church Street’s got me fooled, or North Street, either.

Don’t think I haven’t loved them both.

Burlington, I have to get out of here.  I’m losing my mind working nights,

and I can’t afford the avocados at City Market.

I’m scared: I can’t remember what it’s like outside Vermont.

What if there’s not a place for me anywhere else?

Burlington, the sea is rising, but you are inland.

It’s getting hotter, but you are always cool.

I’ve seen the national news.

Burlington, how does it feel?

Burlington, help!  I just want to live!

Burlington, I swear I’m serious this time.


-Samuel Hughes

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Author: Genese Grill

Genese Grill is the editor of 05401PLUS.