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2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 27

Categories: November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2013, Poetry Prompts, Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog, What's New.

We’re getting down to the final days of this challenge, but don’t use that as an excuse to ease up on the gas pedal. Rather, put the pedal to the metal and rock these final few prompts!

For today’s prompt, write a local poem. By local, I’m thinking of something that happens or has happened in your neck of the woods, but you know, I’m never against poets bending and/or breaking my rules. So feel free to play with the concept of local however you wish.

Here’s my attempt at a Local Poem:

“Duluth”

One has to ask if she took a wrong turn
in Albuquerque. If only she’d hopped

a train, she could have traded one city
for the other. The first mall, pizza rolls,

and pie a la mode, though the winters get
so cold. Did she feel trapped by the “I do”

she never said? Does she ever look back?

*****

Learn the Fundamentals of Poetry. Click to continue.

*****

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and a resident of Duluth, Georgia, which is home to the Runaway Bride from 2005 (click here to read the story). Ironically, Robert actually moved to Duluth upon marrying the poet Tammy Foster Brewer; he finds the downtown area charming and a bit of Dayton, Ohio, moved down with him afterward (as NCR changed their long-time HQ from Dayton to Duluth). Robert is the author of Solving the World’s Problems and a former track star. Nowadays, he’s chasing his kids around the house and wishing he still had the speed of his teen years. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

*****

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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

153 Responses to 2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 27

  1. seingraham says:

    PUTTING THE PLACE ON THE MAP

    The house is dark, the Christmas house is
    It’s a pretty big deal this house; once the guy
    gets everything lit and all
    Every inch of the place has something going on:
    twirling, glistening, red and green, gold and silver
    blinking on and off, strobing — you name it
    The Christmas house has it…so much so, it’s been
    photographed…from space!
    There’s a rumour the owner is in a fight with the city
    What?
    But city council is forever talking about ways to put
    this city on the map
    Let the world know who and where we are…

    We are, after all, getting a world-class, multi-million
    dollar sports arena down-town
    And it’s supposed to revitalize that whole area plus
    put us on that darned map
    We fight to have events brought to the city, like world
    soccer, and celebrities of note to perform
    And we are the capital of this fair province – shouldn’t that
    count for something?
    But that Christmas house — that’s something special —
    I hope they can work out their differences, I do.

  2. Local Anaesthesia.

    Straight in through your eyes
    direct to your brain
    no messing no fussing
    to target your pain
    here are the words
    to get you through
    an injection of affection:
    I love you.

    Michele Brenton

  3. bjzeimer says:

    A Local Poem. PAD 27

    SMALL TOWNS, FAMILY, AND FRIENDS

    I am thankful for my little town
    for my neighbors
    the little store and gas pump at the corner
    my mailbox at the post office
    I’m thankful for the one traffic light
    the Village Animal Clinic across the street
    where I take my puppy,
    the VFW club on the corner
    the American flag they fly
    the brick sculpture
    inscribed with the veterans names.
    I’m thankful for Pa’s Place
    the guy on the corner of High Street
    that fixes tires and sells used ones.
    I’m thankful for my family,
    the newborn baby
    friends that will give you the shirt off their back
    the turkey that’s roasting in the oven.

  4. JRSimmang says:

    IT’S GOOD TO BE IN TEXAS

    Conundrum:
    eating local
    while
    adding luscious
    pounds to midsection.

    -JR Simmang

  5. Yolee says:

    In Seminole County

    My boy was locked out of the house. I left work
    that Monday in November to let him in. It was 1:30ish
    Helicopters hovered near our neighborhood.
    Did someone escape from prison?

    I checked things out at home and was
    ready to head back to the office when
    my daughter sent me a message via
    text of a link. It was a photo of a street corner
    where officers and police cars blocked
    most of the scene. I recognized the street
    name. George Zimmerman does too.

  6. Earl Parsons says:

    Surviving BP and the Media

    The media flocked to our beaches
    The President scooped a handful of sand
    No oil tar for him to inspect
    Just sugar white beaches unscathed
    By the disaster of the BP oil spill

    Oh, sure, some oil tar washed up
    But the media proclaimed Armageddon
    Had taken place in the Northern Gulf
    The rest of the world had witnessed
    The end of the Emerald Coast as we knew it

    But we locals knew the truth of the matter
    And we got together to make things right
    Even though the so called experts proclaimed
    This the worst oil spill disaster in history
    But, then, who listens to so-called experts?
    Apparently a lot do

    Regardless, we survived the BP oil spill
    And the onslaught of media misinformation
    Purposely hyped to gain ratings
    At the expense of the tourism industry
    And the livelihood of many who depend on
    The money spent by those that visit here

    So come on down to the Emerald Coast
    Disregard the hype of misinformation
    Our waters are still emerald green
    Our beaches are still sugar white
    And our seafood is still most delicious

    Come to the coast
    Have a good time
    We’re open for business
    We always have been

  7. Michelle Hed says:

    Stumped In Minnesota

    I sat
    and thought
    but nothing came to mind.
    So I
    walked away
    and ran some errands
    on this
    blustery, frigid day.

    The ground
    the color of peanut brittle
    lined with cigarette wands
    and tar
    beneath my wheels
    the roads I travel on –
    gives me
    nothing to be inspired upon.

    The sky
    is a murky soup,
    a weak sun tries to filter through.
    My view
    is a bleak, boring mess
    of a sleeping earth dressed
    in dirt,
    no words to scrape off my shoe.

    So I
    went to bed
    hoping today would be a better day
    and here
    I sit, still pondering
    the words I need to say
    on another
    bleak and dreary day.

  8. Tracy Davidson says:

    Spaghetti Junction (Birmingham, England)

    after the crash
    when my ears stop ringing
    I look up
    and see a broken ball
    of blood and bone
    where his windscreen
    used to be

  9. DWong says:

    Unfelt Boom

    blue green light
    filled the sky
    a boom

    a rumble
    rippled through
    the ground

    but the source
    can’t be found
    now the

    snow and rain
    and snow fell
    cov’ring

    any signs
    of blue green
    light filled

    the sky rumbled
    boomed nearby
    unfelt

    as I sat
    eating my
    dinner

  10. (Apologies if I posted this already, but I can’t find it and I don’t think it went through the first time.)

    Here

    Sky blue burning.
    Summer is here
    as always, ahead of time.

    Hot, hot, hot, we love it
    from inside our cooled houses,
    our beaches and swimming-pools.

    Evenings, we sit out
    on shady verandahs,
    watching the local birds.

    Mornings, we’re up with the sun,
    watering and weeding
    before that sun climbs high.

    Nights, we lie under
    just one sheet, with the fan on.
    Here in the Caldera, living is good.

  11. MichelleMcEwen says:

    06002

    We never had a 7-Eleven 
    but Cumberland Farms 
    in the center of town 
    was just fine. Summers, 
    we would bike there if
    my father was in a good mood
    and let us but most times we had to
    stay on our side of town: had to
    go up the street to the A-1
    gas station to get our candy and soda. 
    Mama’s friend Melody worked there,
    but she never gave us anything
    free and whatever she didn’t have
    we could get at Sav-Mor which was
    across the street and up a ways. 
    A-1 is gone now, but Sav-Mor
    is still around and I’m glad ’cause
    this place wouldn’t be the same 
    without it or Dom, the owner, who, 
    if you know him & if he knows your mom &
    if you used to work there & if you are a regular
    & if you live nearby, will tell his son
    to give you a ride home
    if it’s pouring out. 

    • Missy McEwen says:

      Sav-mor, heyyyyy! Poem so good felt like I was there again, I mean I’m still here, but like I was there during that time when a-1 was there. I thought that place woulda been around forever.

  12. Cin5456 says:

    The following was written late this summer while attempting to concentrate on poetry. The noise outside was so annoying I wrote this in response.

    The Intersection between Life and Insomnia

    The intersection never falls silent.
    Tires hum, a continuous monotonous
    thrum. Approaching, the tones rise,
    contralto; leaving they dwindle into bass.
    Roaring engines speed through the light.
    Tires scream in braking protest. Worn
    brakes squeal. Engines grrr… all night long.
    Wheels screech, announcing a racing start.

    Sirens split the night like knives.
    EMT sirens warble, fire engines howl.
    Cop cars wail and bellow, commanding:
    “Get Out Of My Way.” Cops have
    “Important Appointments!”
    “Dangerous Destinations!”
    Police privilege? Auto-bullies!

    People crossing at the intersection
    don’t knowing someone’s listening
    to their (expletive deleted) nonsense.
    Couples quarrel. Dealers wheedle.
    Teens squeal and shout. Friends laugh.
    Gangers cuss a blue streak.
    The homeless talk to themselves
    in whispers, or rant nonsense
    at everyone passing. Some babble
    like babies as their shopping carts
    rattle down the sidewalk.
    One lone man shouted, “fuck, fuck,
    fuck, fuck,” for three hours as he
    paced the street outside my window
    after the bars closed at two AM.

    I hear gunshots, firecrackers,
    and wobbly tires thumping
    worn tires exploding,
    and new tires clicking.
    I hear loose fan belts,
    and whistling radiators.
    Once in a while road-rage
    breaks out at the light.

    Yesterday a woman
    yelled, “give me back
    my phone” and “get out”
    for half an hour at someone
    who never left her car
    before she drove away.

    I cringe at racial slurs
    and sexual taunts. The worst is
    hearing husbands shout
    hateful derision at wives.
    I’ve called the cops four times
    in my first eight months
    living with a busy intersection
    outside my bedroom window.

    Just when I think a silent night
    has returned – a head banger –
    How could I forget the headaches
    from cars waiting at the light with
    BASS DRUMS AT FULL VOLUME?
    Rap music loses its rap, leaving
    only the bass line thumping
    deep into my brain, making
    my nerves jangle and tangle up.
    I’m thoroughly tromped, beaten down.

  13. Cin5456 says:

    Sacramento, California

    At the confluence of two rivers
    lies the City of Trees, a terminus town.
    Gold rush gateway, county seat, state capital
    named America’s most diverse city,
    Sacramento has a rich history.
    All roads, rails, and expresses led here.
    Ships delivered goods for the gold fields;
    the Pony Express’ first and last stop,
    the Transcontinental Railroad’s west end,
    site of historic floods and disease outbreaks.
    Old Sacramento, the historic section is beside
    the American River just upstream of
    the Sacramento River. It’s the only part
    of downtown not raised above old flood levels.
    The Railroad Museum, Veteran’s Museum,
    and a smattering of shops lead the way to
    the dock where an old riverboat was raised and
    restored to include two dining rooms and theaters.
    The city of Sacramento suffered disastrous floods
    in 1850 and 1861, the first giving rise to
    epidemics of cholera and influenza.
    According to Wikipedia, in 1861
    Governor Stanford reached his inauguration
    by rowboat, and afterward, entered his home
    through a second story window. For ten years after,
    the city worked to raise the downtown area 12 feet
    by building-walled brick squares filled with dirt.
    In 1847 the city founder, Sutter, brought 2000 fruit trees
    to the city. Continuing that tradition, each year
    in our green city, the electric companies and
    volunteers plant 13,000 trees on private properties,
    a coordinated effort to lower electric consumption.
    I live less than a quarter mile of the American River,
    in the Natomas area, the last incorporated section.
    The only downside to my research was the discovery
    that Rush Limbaugh used to live near here. Yuk!

  14. Cin5456 says:

    Change Please

    Lately the homeless pull at my heart.
    One asks for a cigarette, another asks for change.
    I wish the world would change too.
    Yesterday on a walk to the store, three people
    held out their hands and asked for hope.
    No change in my purse, only a debit card,
    I said, “Catch me on my return – wait here.”
    As I paid for detergent, milk, and candy
    I thought of those three, so
    I asked for cash back in fives, and
    passed them out on my return home.
    This evening outside the pharmacy
    A man held a sign, “Homeless Veteran.”
    Before exiting my car, I palmed a twenty.
    When handing it to him I walk away quickly.
    I don’t want thanks, I want change.

  15. Julieann says:

    Modern Norman Rockwell Venue

    Victorian homes bedecked
    With all manner of Christmas ornamentation
    Carolers dressed in period garb
    Ranging from top hats and tails
    To fur capes over velvet dresses
    Going from house to house
    Greeting everyone they meet with
    Warmth and friendliness and genuine
    Greetings of the season

    Thousands of shining lights strung
    Over and through hundreds of trees
    Surround the circular lake in town
    The lights reflect in the
    Night black water like fireworks
    Emanating from the lake’s depths
    The Chamber building stands open
    Offering hot chocolate and cookies
    To those seeking respite from the cold

    Horse drawn carriages transport
    Visitors and townsfolk alike around the lake
    Oohing and awing over
    The Santas of lights and Christmas decorations
    With manger scenes tucked in here and there
    Decorated signs proudly boast our Victorian heritage
    And honor our hometown heroes
    While Christmas carols coming from the old church
    Encourages everyone to join in the Christmas spirit

  16. Sara McNulty says:

    Peculiarities in Portland

    Mushroom hunter gone missing,
    hikers lost on Mt. Hood, heated
    debate over paper vs. plastic
    rages, while the anti-fluoride
    brigade continues to protest
    ‘foreign additives’ in their water.
    Dogs rule, new restaurants are
    all sustainable, with odd menus.
    There are farmer’s markets
    with fresh produce, and baked
    goods. Arts and crafts fairs
    display the work of local
    artisans and craftsmen.
    Portland has its priorities,
    number one being,
    `Keep Portland Weird.’

  17. Missy McEwen says:

    Some Things Last a Long Time

    Remember
    Pluto’s diner with its few booths
    and stools at the counter? When
    The Donut Shop was the only place
    in town where you could get donuts,
    bagels, coffee? When Copaco was
    a store and not just the name of a stop
    on the bus schedule? When where
    Starbucks and Ruby Tuesday stand
    was all land? When you could
    count the number of churches on
    one hand? The black hair salons
    and how there were none? The carnival
    that came every summer in Sav-Mor
    parking lot? How the rides and lights
    made Bloomfield seem bigger
    than it really was Friday-Sunday,
    then it was gone? Like the mom
    and pop hardware stores. Remember them?
    One on Tunxis and one on Walsh?
    And when a bookstore (a nail salon now) was in
    Wintonbury Mall? And how Wintonbury
    mall wasn’t a mall at all?
    But there are some things that last
    a long time like Isaac’s Mini Mart and Stop & Go
    in the center of town and the nostalgia
    I get when I step foot inside, like going back in
    time: I am my ten year old self flip flopping
    down aisles grabbing State Line potato chips
    and honey buns, eyeing maxi pads
    and tampons– adult things, scary things, intriguing
    things like cigarettes behind the counter–
    and thinking about how I knew girls my age that needed
    them and knew girls my age that smoked too.

  18. bethwk says:

    Mt. Pisgah

    It may feel like a secret,
    like a spider hidden in shadow
    in the corner by the bookcase,

    but I see how your heart opens
    again, like a flower, like the view
    when the trees have shed

    their summer dresses
    and the view from Mt. Pisgah
    opens toward the River.

    The riot of green, then autumn,
    though lush and rich, has hidden
    the heart from the valley below,

    and now, when the trunks stand bare,
    the truth of the valley
    is laid out before you.

  19. cbwentworth says:

    Just little haiku today. :-)

    Mountains seek the sun,
    Monsoon skies breathe coral pink
    Desert moon glows bright

  20. Nancy Posey says:

    The Locals

    The locals wouldn’t be caught dead
    eating at Outback, having a cup
    of latte at Starbucks. They buy
    their lawn mowers and fly rods
    from Jimmie up at City Hardware.
    Charlotte at the cafe knows,
    without asking how they take
    their coffee–hot and black.
    She knows to hold the mayo.

    They read the local paper, cover
    to cover, even now with the new,
    young editor–city fellow–
    keeping up with Dagwood
    and Beetle Bailey as if
    they’d played on the team
    together the year they won
    the State Championship,

    The locals give directions
    more historical than accurate–
    steering folks past the old plant
    that close back in eight-five,
    turning at the old Henry place.
    Sometimes they talk about
    leaving, seeing how other folks
    live–before it’s too late.
    Everyone knows, nobody says
    it’s already too late.

  21. rosross says:

    I wrote this while living in Angola some years ago after seeing some street children beating a dog in the gutter next to our house.

    BITCH CRUCIFIED

    Through creatured screams rise deathless cries of pain,
    full tortured on the sullen, restless breeze
    that plays around Luanda’s littered veins;
    as bowels open, children laugh and metal bars are raised.
    A cry unearthly, streaming through the cloud of dusted skies,
    to settle grimy feathers at the door;
    as mercy calls in broken-winged appeal,
    with voice full human, terror-drawn through teeth canine.

    In serpent shriek, death’s fingers tease life’s song,
    upon the lyre of Africa’s cruel heart,
    where trickstered being rules the world
    and flesh of dog or man may wear the welt of striking rod.
    In childish dance, creeps laughter, light-limbed in horror’s world
    in pebbled strike upon the broken form,
    teasing bloodied paws from unforgiving edge,
    in joyful celebration of cruel sacrifice; the figure flayed and scorned.

    And in the dying moments, when screams are whimpered births,
    then wiser, older voices call an end;
    cruel ignorance takes breathless flight
    and day draws dusky gown to shroud the awful truth.
    Dark night creeps slowly, pleading touch upon the bloodied brow,
    as Sun burns fading light upon the wounds
    in shadowed fire, and healing kiss,
    upon the cross of shattered limbs!

  22. Jezzie says:

    The Royal Oak

    The focal point of an English village is its local,
    the old country pub at the hub of the community,
    where people frequently will take the opportunity
    to spend time unwinding, bonding with a friend at the end
    of a stressful day at work, where one can relax and talk
    and sup away until the cares of the day disappear.
    With the combination of convivial company,
    the calming comfort afforded by flopping on a chair
    in front of a flaming log fire or propping up the bar,
    slowly sipping, slipping into a soporific state,
    you will be sure to smile again after a while and then
    maybe you will start to sing or become very vocal.
    But beware! Never drive home after leaving your local!

  23. De Jackson says:

    Flavor

    Taste,
    he says and I do
    and ohmyword but this beau
    -tiful brown man knows his chilies.

    Habanero,
    he says and ohhhhh
    the heat and the bite hold
    my tongue just right.

    Serrano,
    he says and shhhhh
    don’t talk while I savor this
    something hot in my soul.

    Tomorrow I may wander these
    streets, discover the sites,
           but tonight
    my heart lies
    in my taste buds.

    .

  24. De Jackson says:

    Grace City
    Where sin abounds, grace abounds more.
    - Romans 5:20

    They call us Sin
    City, but we know this is
    really just a desert shoreline
    where more broken shells collect
    than usual, waiting to be found and
    polished and restored to something greater.

    They say we never sleep
    but we do and when we do
    we dream beyond bright lights
    and 24-hour buffet lines. We hold our
    children’s hands when we cross the street,
    wave at neighbors as we trim our xeriscaped lawns.

    They speak of crime
    and nightlife and scantily clad
    deeds, but we know that grace covers all,
    and we do most of our living by the light, right
    alongside the others pushing through each day with
    some semblance of peace and hope in this place we call home.

    .

  25. Broofee says:

    Walking home…

    On my way home
    I saw them
    Standing there
    In their blue and white uniforms.

    I felt like I am the one who did something wrong
    As I usually do
    When I see them
    Standing in small groups.

    The bank was robbed
    After five years
    One guy
    A lot of cash
    So the news said.

    Everything else seemed normal
    Old guys sitting on the bench
    Book salesman
    In front of a grocery store
    People drinking coffee
    Kids yelling
    Just a regular day
    In my old neighborhood.

  26. BezBawni says:

    Narrow-hearted

    I love the most the ones I know.
    I don’t know many.

    To those few I give my love.
    If I have any.

    Among those few is you, and I
    may sound vocal,

    but there is God to love the world –
    my love is local.

  27. LeAnneM says:

    Raised in the forests of Kentucky
    A place of deep greens and sharp shadows
    Where trees and clearings organize the view

    I found the salt marsh disappointing
    Islands of reeds and rushes
    A prairie you can’t walk on

    The landmarks –
    Topless palm trees killed by salt
    And crouching mangroves, their exposed roots
    Unnatural and strange

    I admired the birds –
    Ibis, egrets, herons, cranes –
    Like ornaments on an ugly tree

    It took years to see the beauty
    To need to be there
    To miss it when I went too long

    It took years before I could accept
    The shade of smaller trees

  28. randinha says:

    For Elk County, Pennsylvania…

    ELK APOCALYPSE

    It started with an antler
    through a window down the Valley.
    Bob “Bear” Meyer woke up
    with his kids hollering and his wife hollering
    and himself hollering
    as he leapt up in his flannels
    to where his rifle stood on hand, and the vandal
    didn’t get too far
    even on hoof in the driving snow.

    Old Joe the neighbor, who hadn’t bagged
    so much as a doe
    since the new supercenter came in,
    called up the Game Commission
    and told ’em all the low-down
    underhanded tactics
    of the Bear.
    But before they could zip those coats
    or don those peaked green hats
    the day of elk judgment
    had come.

    They emerged between
    the black snow-laden
    trees, dripping velvet
    from their antlers and spouting
    plumes of mist from their snouts.
    And all at once the bugling
    began, bugling to shake
    all the windows of
    all the houses
    from Boot Jack
    to Benezette. And the Diamond
    in St. Marys damn near
    cracked.

    The elk stampeded
    through fields and barns and yards,
    through windows, kitchens, and garages,
    through factories, churches, and bars.
    The white-tailed bucks and does
    ran behind and between
    in droves.
    They swept through the brewery
    and came out staggering—
    the Elk Creek swelled
    to a river and the Straub
    Eternal Tap ran dry.

  29. LeonasLines says:

    Yay! I wrote my first Shadorma today and it was about my favorite mountain–Mt. Hood! This is my local poem posted at http://leonaslines.com/2013/11/27/mt-hood/

  30. AT THE SENIOR CENTER

    They circle, high-step, skip and give a twirl
    at morning fitness class. An aching back?
    At 70, Marie is still a girl

    in yellow trousers. Iris wears blue-merle
    sweats, stylish. Fit and trim, no time to slack.
    They circle, high-step, skip, and give a twirl.

    And now it’s shoulder-press, squat, stretch, arm-curl.
    No giving up! Twelve seniors on-attack.
    At 80 Eileen is still a girl

    who walked all over Frisco in a whirl
    last week. She takes 10-pounders off the rack,
    then circles, high-steps, skips, and gives a twirl

    with attitude and gumption. Furl-unfurl
    those muscles. “Use it or lose it.” On track!
    At 90, Jo will still be quite a girl.

    “Breathing hard feels so good!” The sun’s a pearl
    of light that gleams through windows, winking back.
    They circle, high-step, skip, and give a twirl.
    What’s age, when in your heart you’re still a girl?

  31. Luis Enrique says:

    here’s mine:

    http://wp.me/p2CQD-9J

    i hope i did it correctly.

  32. Bruce Niedt says:

    In Walt’s Shadow

    “I see great things in baseball.
    It’s our game, the American game.”
    - Walt Whitman

    In a pocket of a troubled city,
    along a rejuvenated waterfront,
    you will find a minor-league field
    named after the local industry,
    Campbell’s Soup.
    Just beyond the outfield,
    looming like a friendly blue giant,
    stretches a majestic suspension bridge
    named after Camden’s famous resident,
    the poet who spent his last years
    just a few blocks away,
    revising Leaves of Grass.
    The local team takes its name
    not from a poet, but a rare species
    of fish, the river shark, which no one
    has ever found in the nearby Delaware,
    the river that Walt’s namesake spans
    and carries us to Philadelphia.
    All this is backdrop for the game
    n a family-friendly stadium,
    where we watch players who hope
    for glory days to come, and others
    who remember theirs. They play into
    the evening, as Walt’s steel shadow
    wraps them in benevolent gray.

  33. Jane Shlensky says:

    Speedway

    News moves fast ‘round here,
    rides the breeze like odors
    of hamburgers grilling,
    claims the ears of the pool
    aerobics ladies, the Ruritan,
    the Zumba classes and woman’s
    club, the loafers at Patel’s
    Quik Pik, the gun shop hunters,
    the dirt bike juicers and book clubs,
    the senior center walkers,
    and nine local churches,
    through choirs, up pews, among
    youth groups, who when told,
    “Speedway is closing!!”
    say, “So what?” because
    the kids like “real” fast food
    from chain franchises or
    drop their money at
    Eno River Eatery, home
    of smothering cheese.

    “But Speedway?” We moan.
    “Why? We love them. Why?”
    We know, for we have ignored
    health ratings for years, even
    had a party when they earned
    a B and then a grudging A-.
    We asked Bertha who she slept
    with to get an A- and she grinned.
    “Made him a bacon cheeseburger
    and a promise to clean the grill.”

    What happened, we wonder, like
    we’re new to aging, never anxious
    for a change, tired of smelling
    like what we serve. And truly
    we only went when we were in
    a “Speedy mood” after swimming
    an hour or wanting to surprise
    our bodies with grease and salt,
    hamburger, cheeseburger, dogs.
    That’s it. The place always packed,
    its eight booths and bar lined with
    working folks in muddy boots,
    blue-haired ladies out for fun,
    people who followed their noses.

    “Can’t sell it,” Bertha says, not
    the least bit sentimental.
    CAN’T sell it. Condemned.”

    • PressOn says:

      It hurts to see old places go, especially those that didn’t change with the times. I felt the same way you describe when a place in Batavia called the Checkerboard closed; it served the wettest, sloppiest, best-tasting Beef on Weck there was. Your poem, even unto its surprise ending, brought that all back. Thanks.

    • Missy McEwen says:

      Wow! All your poems rock! Love this one!

  34. I live in Colorado but writing “local” Ketchikan, Alaska.

    Ketchikan, Alaska

    There are no roads to Ketchikan
    of Revillagigedo Island,
    the first city in Alaska.
    We venture out by skiffs and ferries.
    The airport lies across the Narrows.

    The dock seams the ocean
    to the small town crawling up the hill.
    Ketchikan Creek flows through
    making houses on stilts look like women
    holding up their long skirts in a flood.

    We’re still the salmon capital of the world,
    but we no longer log the Tongass Forest.
    The Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian live here.
    We have more totem poles than most
    and tourists toting cameras.

    The Misty Fjords National Monument beckons.
    We have a moderate climate
    and you won’t find polar bears.
    Yep, (silly) we take American currency.
    And keep the change.

  35. LACKAWANNA STEEL

    Lackawanna was home long before I knew I’d roam,
    and find another place that fills this space in my heart,
    From my start I was forged in Lackawanna Steel; a real
    sense of structure and foundation built upon the
    rigid girders of steel. Bethlehem Steel gave us al we had,
    or all that Dad earned to set us up to succeed.
    He worked hard and lived harder with liquor the answer,
    and a demise from cancer. The plant had long since closed,
    and I suppose it was just as well. The swell of steel workers
    had found a similar fate, much too late to save them.
    But this steel town outside of Buffalo, found itself
    deeply seeded in each native son’s hearts. From the start
    they were all “Men of Steel” goo to feel at home
    just south of where the Buffalo roam!

    • PressOn says:

      This resonates with me, being from Rochester. A friend worked at Bethlehem, and I can still see the dark, massive plant, mostly silenced by the time I saw it. Never thought then that Kodak Park would look, now, like Bethlehem”s plant did.

  36. DanielAri says:

    Revising “bills in a breeze” from 11/17…

    “Welcoming the new normal, late September, 2008”

    Who left the money for the breeze
    to squander? Grant turns into pulp
    in the gutter. The rosemary
    bush wears Benjamin like a cap.
    “It’s an ill wind,” say the neighbors,

    but the sun still lights up our crap,
    all the doodads we’ve said thanks for
    now priced and arranged on our tarps.
    But no one’s selling wrapped foods or
    wool blankets, so nobody trades

    in currency, only rumors.
    At least we have fresh rosemary
    to make our spaghetti gourmet.
    Gift-giving traditions may be
    impeached this year—but you don’t shop

    for what I want most. Luckily
    my favorite gift from you is free. 

    DA

  37. james.ticknor says:

    “News Shouldn’t Be Spelled With The Word ‘New’”

    The drone of the TV
    Filled my living room
    Like flies all around
    A big pile of garbage

    A clink and a clatter
    A splash of suds-
    My hands submerged-
    Scalding over dinner plates

    A murder on Broad Street
    I didn’t blink
    A rape on 1st Street
    I groaned at soap on my shirt

    I heard countless more like it
    Then, a man who found a boys dog
    I drew my hands from scalding matter-
    Stopped everything, and smiled.

  38. Hannah says:

    Himiko

    Magenta and swirling
    whirling of primordial gas,
    she’s unveiling visions
    how our cosmic neighborhood looked
    before stars bathed our universe in light;
    secrets of the cosmic dawn
    being drawn
    from primitive distant systems.
    A trio birthing possibility
    Queen being revealed
    merging,
    a single galaxy
    in the making
    and we three-
    thirteen billion light years away
    take turns dramatizing
    airplane accidents.
    A toy spiraling-
    spinning plastic fashioned red.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013

    I chose to reveal happenings in our neck of the cosmic neighborhood.

    Himiko (after a legendary queen of ancient Japan), a far-flung trio of primitive galaxies nestled inside an enormous blob of primordial gas nearly 13 billion light-years from Earth. It’s possible the trio will eventually merge into a single galaxy similar to our own Milky Way. This exceedingly rare triple system, seen when the universe was only 800 million years old, provides important insights into the earliest stages of galaxy formation during a period known as ‘cosmic dawn,’ when the universe was first bathed in starlight.

    • PressOn says:

      I love this, so much so that it made me hope that Himiko survived.

      • Hannah says:

        I’m so pleased that you enjoyed this…thank you and also for causing me to dig deeper…I’m now researching Himiko.

        I found this Wiki snippet interesting:

        “This early history describes how Himiko came to the throne.

        The country formerly had a man as ruler. For some seventy or eighty years after that there were disturbances and warfare. Thereupon the people agreed upon a woman for their ruler. Her name was Himiko [卑彌呼].”

        • PressOn says:

          So the best man for the job was a woman.

          I presume you realized this, but I was wondering if teh galaxy survived. Given that the image is from that far back in time, it might be gone by now.

          • Hannah says:

            Yes…exactly…the history there is pretty intriguing.

            Oh I see…the article speaks of it in present tense but I don’t know. I hope it survived, too.

            :)

  39. Rosemarie Keenan says:

    TERRY AVENUE

    Ten steps from Amazon’s front door
    a pair of work gloves on the sidewalk
    soaking in a light mist
    forgotten.
    Like crutches on the makeshift floor of a revival tent,
    no longer needed.

    Hallelujah!
    A workman confessed his sins:
    his addiction to the power in his arms
    and the thrill of making something real.
    Confessed and was transformed
    Hallelujah!
    into a coder.

  40. Domino says:

    Living Local

    Shopping local, eating lo
    -cal, just a loco California transplant
    living local in the desert.
    Who would have thought
    living local meant
    eating food farmed in the
    irrigated land once populated
    by Tohono O’odham and Pima
    and Apache and Ak-Chin and others.
    The farmers still use the same canals.

    The farmer’s market woman,
    discreetly nursing her baby,
    promises it’s all organic, but how does she know
    pollution didn’t graze it once, accidentally,
    on a heavy-particulate day?
    Or does that count in organic food?

    It couldn’t be worse than
    GMOs produced by massive
    factory-farms, the future-food fed chemicals
    through water, soil, and science
    invented, patent-protected, fiercely litigated
    so that various bits of insect and
    “other” DNA will change it at a molecular level.
    Safely pre-poisoned with insect repellent and
    ready-freddy, let’s feed the masses.

    So I figure local must be better than that.
    and take the oddly-shaped zucchini home,
    remembering the chubby baby’s milky smile.
    The tomatoes are sun-ripened, not yellow-green
    and hard. The eggplant is shiny-purple, and
    has an insect bite-mark on it.
    Oh good.

    Safe for insects probably means it’s
    safe for people too.

  41. Linda Goin says:

    Overcast

    Overweight angels hang in the sky this morning,
    the day before Thanksgiving in this tiny town.
    Too tired to stand, they slump, and small points
    of their feathers drift down, barely
    covering the ground. This light shrapnel softens
    the sound of sirens wailing along Jericho Road.
    If any walls fall around here, I’ll know.

    But my friend sends me
    a picture of a pair of wooden shoes
    in a dirty sink, a reference
    to my own clogged drain, and I grin
    at an image I’m sure was shared
    many times over. Who wouldn’t laugh?

    My girl’s rotted tooth,
    my mom’s stage four cancer,
    the heart that skips beats, forcing a machine
    to kick my father’s chest
    like a angry mule bucking to break out of a cage,
    all are unseen elements in that image’s background.
    I could paint more, but the heat from this brush
    could melt bullets, and everyone agrees
    that my perceptions need alterations anyway.
    More than anything, it’s those overstuffed angels
    hanging overhead, and their points of light aimed
    at softening the landscape. The sirens are silent.

    I’ll use the rest of my day in this small town
    to reshape those clouds into something more comforting.

  42. kldsanders says:

    This is my first time doing this challenge and I have enjoyed keeping up with it. I’m very shy about sharing my writing, so I haven’t posted any on here, but I really enjoy reading everyone’s work.

  43. candict says:

    27 Longmont
    -
    between
    the two college towns
    between
    1920′s corn fields
    1990′s suburban traffic
    between
    the rushing river
    the stretching plains
    and the snowy mountains
    between
    farm subsidies
    and natural grocers
    lies Longmont

  44. priyajane says:

    A Public Market Party
    A public market communing alliance
    Of Agro economic social science
    A Trade and passion mingling cirque
    An exhibition of farming art work

    Trendy palettes, tempting our bellies
    Fashion displays of harvests and veggies
    Bundles and baskets lined up in rows
    Supply and demand in a constant smooth flow
    A kaleidoscope of colors that greet
    Beckon all senses, not just body, to eat

    Tomatoes, tri peppers and lacy leaves
    Zucchini, beets, turnips and all kinds of cheese
    Vineyard treats of homegrown grapes
    Spicy tellings of faraway tales
    Domestic fish on icy stands
    The butcher, the baker with rolling hands

    Handiwork of bees, so sweet and pure
    Pretty jam jars of a grandma velour
    Vibrant petals that seasons bring in
    Parking quests, quite challenging

    There is so much more than just seed and boot
    A homey aroma that seeps in the loot
    Buyers and peddlers all in a rhythm
    Language of food stringing in algorithms
    Fringes of bustling sidewalk cafes
    Flavors of gossip, amusing lattes

    Some familiar faces now nod and smile
    All thro the year they come loading their pride
    Their green patient eyes shine ancestral training
    Intuitive to the cycles of frostings and waning
    Farmers that need to sell to survive
    And I’m looking for, the best deal, to derive !

    I try to read their industrious scales
    Through, the crevices of their earthy nails
    Their tired callouses have so much to tell
    Indebted we are to these diligent nobels

    These farming dates have a special decor
    Snow or shine, there is dance on the floor
    An intimate experience amongst the crowd
    Traditions of a Rochester, —- proud

    • PressOn says:

      This is just wonderful: so descriptive both in sound and imagery. The Rochester I’m from is in New York, and this sounds like that Public Market. Whether it is, or describes the market in another Rochester, I love it.

      • priyajane says:

        It is the Rochester ,NY public market. I had never seen any market like that in any other place I lived. I just moved from there- it used to be a Saturday morning ritual

        • PressOn says:

          I still live in the region. I have seen one other market like it, on a bigger scale: Pike Place Market in Seattle. That one is probably more commercialized than Rochester’s, but the ambience is similar, or was; I was there more than 15 years ago..

  45. bartonsmock says:

    -sledding-

    inside me, the baby
    is eating
    snow

    -

    the phone is on
    in my turned
    off
    home

    -

    at the top of the hill
    a boy means
    to hop on the disc
    with his dog

    -

    bring back
    a memory?

    I am too poor

    • PressOn says:

      This is rich in images, and the ending is sobering, sort of like the end of the slide down the hill. It arouses a wondering mind and tender emotion. Thanks for posting.

  46. PressOn says:

    THE ORIOLE

    I spied a bird in gold and black
    but drew a blank at naming it.
    The bird I saw was full of pride:
    he sang out loud, declaiming it.

    I asked a nearby resident
    to help me, since my mind was slow.
    He look askance at me and said,
    “You are in Baltimore, you know!”

  47. Clae says:

    Nearby
    (my neighbor town)

    one hundred
    twenty five
    years ago
    we became
    our own town
    complete with
    post office
    library
    theater
    all so small
    neighborhood
    full of great
    old churches
    historic
    old houses
    built around
    our own lake
    city of
    Lake Helen
    somewhere in
    the state of
    Florida
    which is now
    discovered
    five-hundred
    years ago
    this same year
    two birthdays
    in one place

    T.S. Gray

  48. Day 27
    Prompt: Write a local poem.

    Chickamauga

    Waiting for more news,
    holding breath,
    knowing name might ring familiar,
    in next-door sleepy little town,
    of person who pulled trigger,
    person who died prowling their property
    at four a.m.

    Can you wait for the sheriff,
    when any second now, they can burst
    through your door and do harm?
    Even protecting life, family, and home,
    how do you live with killing another human?

  49. JanetRuth says:

    To my neighbor…who recently lost her husband…

    Down the road in a bed for two she sleeps, when she can
    Alone
    Somehow, on a night like this when I hear the wind grovel
    And moan
    I think that lonely is lonelier and the dark night darker
    …more cold
    And I think of that widow who wonders how she will bear her grief
    Until she is old
    Then, I shed a tear and plead to One who knows each sorrow
    And each grief
    And I pray that somehow He will hold her now and let her
    Find relief

  50. writinglife16 says:

    THE ROMANS COULDN’T HAVE IMAGINED

    The whole day rearranged,
    plans definitely changed.
    We would remember.
    One hundred ten thousand
    at night under the lights.
    The spectacle began,
    the gladiators took their stands.
    We would remember.
    One hundred ten thousand
    at night under the lights.
    Once the arena was shaded,
    and the cars music faded.
    we would remember.
    one hundred ten thousand
    at night under the lights.

    Even the Romans couldn’t
    have imagined this sight.

  51. RJ Clarken says:

    Once Upon a Time…

    Just
    a stone’s
    throw from home
    is a magical place with a secret
    hidden entrance. But if you can find it,
    adventure
    awaits
    you.
    Would
    you go
    there? Would you?
    Then, take my hand, and with the stars in the
    nighttime sky lighting our way, we shall find
    that place where
    dreams are
    made.

    ###

  52. Dare says:

    Goodbye

    “Congratulations!”
    She gazed up into
    impossibly blue eyes
    framed with long dark lashes

    “You too!”
    Crimson blossomed
    across her face
    Would he?
    Should she?

    She stared at
    at the gold-embossed
    letters on her new doploma
    Seeking an answer

    With a deep breath
    She decided
    Yes!
    Moistening her lips
    She looked up

    He was gone.

  53. barbara_y says:

    home improvement

    in the second wave
    of urban pioneers
    we moved here
    because it was cheap

    the Queen Annes
    (and their renters
    like their owners)
    were white and plain

    chain link fencing
    protected common flowers
    and a few odd cars
    in stages of repairing

    fast-forward to now

    our frontier is charming
    we have tasteful infill
    hidden swimming pools
    and urban farming

    we’re charming pioneers
    with five-color palettes
    discriminating palates
    coffee roasters, chocolatiers

    we’ve changed across the board
    from poor white ghetto
    to a rainbow
    people like us can’t afford

  54. Interstate 35

    35 morning crunch
    Sardines wail
    In their cars
    As they snail
    Tiptoe, bumper dance
    With a little
    Bump-n-grind
    Texas two step
    Work heavy in mind
    Subduing their rage
    Pressures mount
    Trying to hold the line

  55. annell says:

    My Companion

    You are stuck to

    The bottom of my heel

    I drag you behind

    Wherever I go

    You are liquid

    You follow

    You fill every low place

    Crack and crevice

    You crumple my lungs

    Take my breath away

    I remain tangled

    In my own heart strings

    One step and I tumble

    Into the hole

    Surrounded by the

    Hatters and the white rabbit

    And the deep cup of tea

    Brewed from my own tears

    So deep

    I could drown

    I glance

    You are there

  56. MLundstedt says:

    “Baltimore–Home of the Brave”

    Through clouds of smoke and fire,
    he watched the tyrants rage
    against new freedom; he
    proclaimed victory, with a
    poem that would become a song.

  57. THIRTY POEMS

    Once a year, they come with pen in hand
    from around the neighborhood, across the state
    along the coast, and places far
    to write verse for a cause –
    sharing literacy for those learning
    to be literate in a language
    foreign from their own.
    The poems written, collected, read
    become part of our history
    evidence that words do paint
    pictures, especially when focused
    on what touches our hearts most
    in this place in the valley of the pioneer
    where green has endless shades
    and people come from around the world
    to live and learn in a language
    foreign from their own.

    This poem is in celebration of the 30 Poems in November Challenge held each year by The Center for New Americans in Northampton,MA, which provides resources for immigrants and refugees including free English classes. Learn more at: http://www.cnam.org/30-poems

  58. Lori P says:

    Since my first one was so serious I didn’t another, more fun, one:

    Necessary Nomenclature

    Some cities have a variety
    of options to name their sports teams after
    a dearth of recognizables in New York or Chicago
    plenty of history in Philly or DC
    culture and ambition saturate New Orleans and St Louis
    but we grasp onto the thing all men have
    though we have more than most
    we are the Phoenix Suns

  59. Lori P says:

    January 8th, 2011

    I wasn’t living here when you fell
    wasn’t even thinking about it
    but I thought about you standing up there
    not knowing you were being a hero
    just doing your job, speaking, being heard
    no one knows why mad men pull the trigger
    more questions are asked if they are sane
    did you know you inspired a man to jump on his wife to protect her?
    do you have survivors guilt that children weren’t so lucky as you?
    its normal if you do, no one could blame you
    you stood up again yesterday, in a theater
    more conscious of, but no more proud in, your heroism
    now that I’ve moved here I remember you
    and take a small ownership of that moment
    when Twitter told me a congresswoman from Arizona
    had been shot

  60. bxpoetlover says:

    The Bronx

    Chirping birds early and evening
    Blue jays, red-breasted robins. Swallows.
    Raccoons. Rabbits. Groundhogs.
    Watch your step. More goose droppings than shootings, where I’m from.

    It’s the music. Hip hop. Parents hated it.
    O’Jays, Blue Magic, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes were more their style.
    Patti LaBelle and the Blue Bells.
    Singing Lady Marmalade in the courtyard
    swinging our little hips
    no idea of the naughtiness slipping from our lips.

    Handball courts. Aimed for that blue ball, always missed.
    Open fire hydrant, sweet water sips.
    Boom boxes. Break dancing. My poses, followed by falls.
    Right On! Michael Jackson, Prince, Five Star on my walls.

    Leaned my blossoming backside against my boyfriend.
    Somebody’s mama told me it’s wrong.
    In those days we listened.
    Everybody knew everyone.
    Candy rings.
    Bubble gum cigarettes.
    Razzamatazz I chewed all day long.
    Sugar candy poured in my hand.
    Blow Pops. If you don’t lick it hard three times you won’t reach the soft chewy center.
    Hopscotch. Firecrackers and foot stomping poppers on the 4th of July.

    Big wheels rolling down the hill.
    Bikes rounding corners.
    Come see my puppy.
    Never that ‘cause we don’t know you.
    Where is Etan Patz?
    Never trade the 70s and 80s.
    Lee jeans, all colors. Name chains.
    Leather and lumberjack jackets.

    Don’t need an armed guard. I got swagger.
    I am from the Bronx.

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