Editors Blog

2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 12

Wow! What a turnout this year for the poetry challenge! Chances are pretty good that by the end of the weekend, we’ll have more than 10,000 comments on the prompts–with a chance at surpassing 20,000 for the month. That’s a lot! And if you’re trying to follow a specific poet (even yourself), it can turn into a challenge (within the challenge).

That’s why I’d like to thank Anders Bylund for continuing to make his poetry challenge search tool available to everyone. Go to http://gowrite.me/pad.pl?writer=&day=year_2014, find the name you want in the dropdown list (contains all the usernames) and click the “Search!” button. There’s even an option to get the results in pure text–in case you haven’t been saving your poems on your computer. Thanks, Anders!

For today’s prompt, write a city poem. The poem can take place in a city, can remember the city (in a general sense), be an ode to a specific city, or well, you should know the drill by now. City poem: Write it!


2014_poets_marketPublish Your Poetry!

Learn how to get your poetry published with the assistance of the 2014 Poet’s Market, edited by Robert Lee Brewer. This book is filled with listings for poetry book publishers, chapbook publishers, magazines, journals, online publications, contests, grants, and more!

Plus, it contains articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry. There are interviews with poets, original poems, and so much more!

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a City Poem:


shattered glass & cigarette butts
she doesn’t need him anymore

& he knows he’s a no parking sign
every fire hydrant a marker

keeper of unspoken secrets
shoes hanging from phone wires

they exist together but travel
separately when trains pass

they both think of escape


Today’s guest judge is…

Victoria Chang

Victoria Chang

Victoria Chang

Victoria’s third book of poems, The Boss, was published by McSweeney’s Poetry Series in 2013.  Her other books are Salvinia Molesta and Circle.

Her poems have been published in Kenyon Review, POETRY, American Poetry Review, Colorado Review, The Washington Post, Best American Poetry, and other places.

You can find her at www.victoriachangpoet.com or @VChangpoet.


PYHO_Small_200x200Poem Your Heart Out

Poems, Prompts & Room to Add Your Own for the 2014 April PAD Challenge!

Words Dance Publishing is offering 20% off pre-orders for the Poem Your Heart Out anthology until May 1st! If you’d like to learn a bit more about our vision for the book, when it will be published, among other details.

Click to continue.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. He grew up in the suburbs but spent a few years going to college in Cincinnati. Learn more about him here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.


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555 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 12

  1. Suzanne_Noelle

    The Jungle

    It’s a concrete forest
    Brick by boring brick
    The buildings rise up from deeply-rooted basements
    Branching to the sky with spires and smokestacks

    The forest floor is carpeted with pavement
    Sticky with discarded gum and the sluice of automobiles
    Trampled by the feet of the beasts that dwell within
    The sleepless atmosphere of the bustling wilderness

    The city never sleeps
    The air is always thick with noise
    Almost as thick as the smog that hides the
    Winking stars above

    There is a beauty to this place, however
    A kind of wonderment that comes with the grandeur of it all
    It may be skewed in places by corruption and muck
    But no jungle can be completely without poison.

  2. azkbc

    City Sand Park

    The city sand park is 20 feet by 20 feet.
    You find a spot and nestle down into the sand
    warmed by the sun that’s made its way
    through the trees planted to hide
    the apartment houses nearby.

    You push your truck back and forth,
    filling it with sand then push it two feet
    to empty the sand in a spot near your friend Dan.
    Dan pushes his truck to where you had first squatted.
    Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.

    Kids twice your age and size challenge each other
    to be atop the center fountain, still turned off for winter,
    and swing around the pipe from which the water
    will gurgle in June. Sand dribbles down on you and Dan.

    Sirens blare but no one turns. Daddy sits and talks
    to Dan’s Daddy. He wants you to have your own sandbox
    so he won’t have to come over here when he could be
    at home working in the yard and Mommy wants you
    to have your own because the sand has been here a long time
    and who knows what germs you’re picking up.
    You and Dan trade trucks and the daddies head for the cars.

    At home you are whooshed into the bathtub
    where grains of sand swirl and sink to the bottom
    as you push Dan’s truck through the water and play car wash.

  3. bookworm0341


    The trains at night
    soothed my weary soul
    when sleep could not be found,
    and sheep were not around
    the trains lulled me to
    a gentle slumber in the city

  4. ianchandler


    Towers are reflected in puddles
    the size of my torso,
    the size of the bathroom mirror.

    Acetaminophen spills out the gutters,
    rainwater drinks itself
    and the scarved windows.

    The pond is ersatz.
    The homeless man smokes on the corner
    and stares at his worn boots.

    I can’t help but imagine
    his lit cigarette

    falling into a chemical stream
    and igniting the skyline,
    charring everything.

    Everything has been charred;
    there is still smoke in my eyes
    from before.

  5. lily black

    City Girl
    A big city raised me as a Tall Texan with the ability to accessorize at an early age
    Big hair at eight tumbleweeds chased me home from school under red dusty skies that crept under closed screens sleeping on soon cleaned sills we followed the money and left everyone but not everything behind
    A small town sacrificed me at ten forever changed a statistic in sixth grade we took everything again
    Saved by five cities by the river accessorizing with friends not things opening eyes raising two or one fingers freely Peace man smoking laughter running to something leaving everything keeping everyone close this time
    Another city was small yet big created for kids to discover I left too quick after I discovered you
    Traveling from city to city we went far together on a thumb Montreal girls sold flowers on the street I sang out loud, “Beep Beep Hey Mr. have you got a dime?” We spare changed our way out in potato chip truck with hot fresh chips and headed to the mountains far from cities
    From across the mountains we landed in Chicago driving over the river was that North Avenue? Smelling Palmolive singing Talking Heads finding a city to live in is tough graffiti covered hallways shock a mom with babies at home so
    Back to Texas to the sweetest river and poets that sing songs all the nights long surrounded by things left behind again and people
    The ones that are gone seem closer now

  6. suddenleigh

    Boston Stronger

    The world
    Is all eyes today
    For the yellow and blue
    Sea of faces by the finish line
    Boylston Street hopping with hope
    40 thousand miles
    Through tangled waves of tar
    Across outstretched hands
    Of water
    Bridged by
    stone and metal bow ties

    Each crosser of the line
    Passes by the Copley train stop
    Saying, “We are not afraid”
    Saying, “We are faster than fear.”
    The buildings huddle and cheer
    Like people along the sidelines.
    Windows weep
    With memories
    Of nights of missed sleep,
    Days of tattered and missing limbs,
    Afternoons of blood and bombs,
    Now gone.
    And gladdened as the runners
    run on.

  7. julie e.


    Houses banked with flowers,
    sweetness of jasmine and
    orange blossoms attend my
    walk to the neighborhood
    grocery store.
    Greeting each other,
    the Knowns, no one speaks
    to me in this local store.
    Walking back to my daughter’s
    house in this Berkekey
    neighborhood I realize
    I am invisible, people
    passing me on the
    sidewalk with blank
    faces, eyes trained
    on the horizon.
    I consider jumping
    up and down and singing
    to see if i become real
    in this silent place,
    then stop to stare in awe
    at the deep blue-red
    of tree leaves as the
    sun glows through.

  8. TuLife

    “Savoring the Big Apple”
    By: Tuere Aisha

    When I first left home,
    Brooklyn stuck to my mind
    like crimson on cherry candied apples.
    Home is where butter drips from bagels
    the way oil rolls down a slick street,
    where 2 a.m. means a visit downstairs
    to the Chinese restaurant
    for chicken and broccoli,
    where broccoli means the bushy part –
    not just the stump.
    Home is where the cheese
    strings off the pizza
    the way branches jut from sugar maples,
    where a hero makes your lunch
    while the Subway is just for trains,
    where a Cry Baby drains sinuses
    the way salt clears the snow,
    grown folks cling to Stickball
    like Chick-O-Sticks hang on gums,
    cheesecake as rich
    as 5th Ave. on a good day.
    Home – Sustenance to my soul.

  9. starrynight3

    The City

    The high infernal hum
    (Infernal being a word my grandmother would use)
    I’ve only heard in New York City
    And I was the only one.
    I could hear and looked for the source of it.
    In August, the garbage smell wafted,
    Oozed from the sidewalk pores
    Occasionally gagging.
    Juxtaposed against an already
    Fading summer in Homer.
    I was in the city on a blessed errand:
    The multiple birth of my grandchildren.
    Somewhere back in Alaska the brown
    Oval bodies of the Sandhill Cranes spelled
    The message of migration above the bay,
    Their deep throated whoop! whoop! a call
    From across centuries,
    While in Brooklyn my blouse stuck to my back
    Pasted in sweat; my daughter’s womb grew
    Gigantic with triplets. A sign I noticed
    On the building next door in the shape of an arrow:
    “Aggressive Heating & Plumbing” shot streams
    Of bad feng shui toward us.
    She lay prone on the hard sofa inside drinking
    Water out of gallon jugs from the freezer. I climbed
    Onto the fire escape and taped up a small mirror,
    Aimed it in the direction of the arrow.
    The hum I could not help.

  10. clcediting


    Cities never sleep.
    People are always
    rushing through shift changes,
    school endings, going home,
    going out, working, and playing.
    As nine to fivers wake up
    and stumble for coffee,
    a jolt to greet the day;
    third shift heads home
    shoulders sagging with exhaustion
    looking forward to blackout curtains,
    ear plugs, and bed.

    Cities are never silent.
    Everyone is talking, laughing, or crying.
    Construction workers with jackhammers
    are Rat-a-tat-tatting.
    Taxi cabs are bleeping their horns
    only half covering the obscenities
    the drivers are shouting.
    But even when it grows late
    and the volume of the city
    drops down a few decibels;
    there’s always the low
    of the subway cars
    far underground.

    Cities never sleep.

  11. ASperryConnors

    There’s a BEAT in this city

    Punta Cana Punta Cana
    Punta Cana dance
    Punta Cana bailar
    Punta can romance,

    Punta Cana Punta Cana
    Punta Cana green
    Punta Cana flores
    Punta can serene

    Punta Cana Punta Cana
    Punta Cana teal
    Punta Cana agua
    Punta can surreal

    Punta Cana Punta Cana
    Punta Cana drums
    Punta Cana pulses
    Punta Cana hums

  12. bxpoetlover


    Horns and sirens
    Scattered papers and black plastic bags pushed along by
    Gusts of wind above ground
    Gusts of wind from oncoming subways
    below ground

    Walk tall and straight or you’ll get pushed around

    Well-swept blocks of brownstone
    Sheltered trees on the front walk
    Grass and flowers in the back

    Central Park
    Jogging, cycling, speed walking, meandering
    Vendors hawking paintings, hot dogs, water along Museum Mile

    The Freedom Tower
    Recollections of falling bodies still makes me shudder

    Sundays in Harlem
    A French tourist asking for a church that plays “ze gospel music”
    almost makes me laugh. I point her in the opposite direction of mine.
    Some things are still sacred.

    Times Square. Bright lights, dance studios.

    Food for every Thai/Chinese/Italian/Greek/Ethiopian whim.

    My forever love.

  13. Benjamin Thomas


    The city never sleeps.
    It’s alive.
    It only thrives on elevated pulse.
    The inhabitants give it breath,
    character, and never let it rest.
    It’s skyscrapers rise up on high,
    standing tall peel the sky.
    The atmosphere is compromised…
    daily by pollution.
    But the people breath the disguise,
    still don’t know the solution.

  14. SRK027

    Spring thaw

    I watched the city melt
    from gray to green
    and all these dripping colors
    in between
    ran off the siding,
    down the gutters,
    till I could no longer see my breath.

    The snow
    that sat in heaps and hardened
    into slick sheets on the sidewalks
    and on the stairs
    seeps into the pavement.

    On the corners
    where murky puddles pooled,
    green shoots are crawling up
    through the concrete,
    reaching toward the emerging sun.

    I watched the city melt
    its brittle shell
    and bud anew: trees dropping leaves instead of flakes
    and the dogs below kicking up raw dirt.

    Sarah Karpovich

  15. larrywlawrence


    Black jersey and a Phillies cap, we drove down
    early in the morning with him belted in the backseat.
    He read the directions printed out from the internet,
    we found the Philadelphia Zoo, I called him My Navigator.
    I remember being amazed at how the Monkey House hadn’t
    changed since my kindergarten class field trip back in ’72.

    Been a while,a long time since we’ve been back.

    We rode on to Independence Mall and took photos
    with the Liberty Bell,people in Colonial costumes and
    stopped to hear songs played with a hammered dulcimer.
    Dinner was Tony Luke’s,a small steel structure surrounded
    by chain link fence, wedged under the Walt Whitman Bridge
    Cheesesteaks with onions and Wiz never tasted so good.
    We kicked a soccer ball in the empty parking lot at the new
    basketball stadium named after a bank,not the old Spectrum.

    Been a while, a long time since we’ve been back.

    In the game,the Sixers and Wizards dueled it out on the court.
    It was April,both teams had no chance of seeing the playoffs.
    We sat in the cheaper seats,marveling at the three pointers of
    Arenas, gasping at Iverson’s crossover dribble magic,high fiving
    strangers and the old black guy next to us who shouted loudly-
    C’mon now AI don’t let Gilbert show you up, not in your house.

    Been a while,a long time since we’ve been back.

  16. PenConnor

    Night Air (a quatern)

    That’s the night air in the city
    tastes like remorse mixed with regret.
    When you can’t see stars for neon
    glow of traffic, just forget it.

    When the moon as pale as smoke is,
    that’s the night air in the city.
    Caterpillar blows his smoke rings,
    questions floating, “Just who are you?”

    Sounds like bike tires on the sidewalk,
    swishing, swishing, just a whisper.
    That’s the night air in the city,
    filling your ears with nothing new.

    Turn the corner, follow footsteps,
    She’s the rabbit in a white dress,
    always slipping out of your sight.
    That’s the night air in the city.

  17. gloryia


    London Town it rules my head,
    with bright lights and city buses
    crawling by, all bright red.

    Childish thoughts, they live forever,
    with foggy nights, and old gas lamp’s
    yellow glow, forgotten never.

    Remembered rain coursed our faces,
    laughter loud, how it hardly stopped,
    I was young, but my heart it races

    with memories of London Town.

  18. Alaska Christina

    City Sounds that Frame my Days and my Nights

    Every morning they come
    Rolling their carts up and down the empty streets
    Plunk, plunk, plunk go the wobbly wheels
    – These bottle pickers

    Every afternoon they stroll
    Bouncing their orange globes down the dusty sidewalks
    Wham, wham, wham go the basketballs
    – These young athletes

    Every evening they ride
    Revving their engines throughout the neighborhood
    Boom, boom, boom go the stereos
    – These hefty bikers

    Every day they drag me from sleep
    Pluck me from work
    Keep me awake
    – These welcoming sounds

  19. Jay Sizemore

    This city

    is a guitar with one broken string,
    still capable of music,
    yet unable to hit all the notes.

    This city is the last swallow
    of beer that no one wants,
    mostly backwash and warm.

    This city is a drunk driver
    with a record player
    instead of a steering wheel.

    Sleeping bags are garbage bags,
    a begging sign is more pitiful
    with a few misspelled words.

    The sun has arthritis and nerve damage,
    the river has a hangover and stinks
    like dead animals and piss.

    This city is an overripe peach
    left on an anthill,
    one bite missing.

  20. horselovernat

    Where the River Burns by Natalie Gasper

    I live in a place where the river once burned.
    Smog creeps high into a gray dinged sky
    Car horns blare as traffic seems to inch backwards,
    Detours and construction at every turn.
    Here is home to serial killers,
    Cannibals, thieves, and unstable kidnappers.
    A city still sneered at by most
    But one that has more ups than downs.
    Sunrise gives way to a breathtaking skyline,
    Sunset reveals brightly lit towers and streets buzzing with life.
    Fans that are loyal through every season, no matter what
    Where someone can walk on her lunch break without fear,
    Home to unique history, innovative art, and all things rock and roll.
    A place I am proud to call Cleveland.

  21. kimberleetm


    Walls hold you in,
    girdled as you expand
    with grill tellers and bier.
    Walls cradle you to
    cathedrals and chant
    their history.
    Bees land on pastries
    and the clocks put on shows.
    The escalators run only
    when you need them.
    The trains know their gate,
    unlike Penn Station,
    and tickets are on the honor
    system. Steeples tell
    you where you are.
    Everyone greets, “abend”
    and girls walk safely
    alone at night.
    Still a bus ride from my friend’s home,
    I always felt like I was home
    after venturing forth.

  22. Penny Henderson


    A city holds too many people for me.
    I like a place with space for birds
    other than pigeons or starlings and sparrows,
    where speech is not just noise, but words;
    a spot in which I can swing my arms wide,
    fly twisting and twirling around;
    a site where I don’t have to go inside
    to remain undiscovered, unfound.

  23. Yolee


    You were a wild onion before every train led to your concrete spine.
    Rebirth after the great fire gave you broad shoulders. I love your
    multicolored coats and high heel buildings. I counted on your ability
    to move me because you were easy to access around parks, theaters,
    and interior places. And you stirred me with your Midwestern accent
    in a sometimes whisper, sometimes flamboyancy. You trained me
    with wintered hands, rolled me in summer breezes.

  24. alana sherman

    Day 12 City Poem

    The Blue Hour

    There is a singular light
    at a particular hour in cities
    all at once everything glows:
    avenues glitter

    windows scintillate
    bridges are luminescent ropes
    strung over the river.
    It happens in spring

    and all you hear in that instant
    as the moon rises above spires
    is the wind pushed along
    by the river’s heart beat.

    Sirens, horns and traffic seem to stop
    Everyone on the sidewalks
    breathes deeply for a moment
    and looks up.


  25. Snow Write

    The “City of Love” is not so to me
    It’s not where I met you
    Only made me feel dirty

    My city of love came as a surprise
    Exotic, I suppose
    A place that opened my eyes

    Here you amazed me as much as the sights
    My heart burst at the seams
    I wanted more day and night

    The castles, old buildings, baths and fountains
    Were beautiful to see
    With the backdrop of mountains

    Somehow my focus was captured by you
    The rest, background visions
    Though to be short-lived, I knew

    The joy and sadness that came with this tour
    A whirlwind of travels
    Doomed our love though it was pure

  26. LCaramanna

    Under the Umbrella

    If I had walked in Manhattan today,
    I would have been prepared for rain!
    Ready for rain down on Broadway,
    If I had walked in Manhattan today,
    An umbrella in tote a mainstay,
    Would I be a dry city slicker urbane,
    If I had walked in Manhattan today?
    I would have been prepared for rain!

  27. mbramucci

    Baltimore’s Finest: A Culture Apart
    By: Michelle Bramucci

    Bethlehem Steel
    Allen Poe
    Lexington Market
    The Old Pimlico
    I’m over here hon, on my
    Marble stoop
    Old Bay on the crabs
    Ravens cast on a loop
    Every sculpture’s kinetic
    Screens are for painting
    Fells Point
    Is for more spirited entertaining
    Natty Boh from a can,
    Enoch Pratt Free books
    Ships docked at the harbor
    Tourists come take a look
    Atman’s corned beef
    Cal Ripken had game
    Unitas was here
    Lemon Peppermint fame
    The Star Spangled Banner
    Under firework skies
    Row homes in formstone
    East coast charm city cries
    Aquarium fish
    Pit beef on a roll
    And how ‘bout a game of duck pin bowl
    Really can’t say enough for this town near the shore
    This place is my home, it’s my dear Baltimore

  28. JayGee2711

    Puerto Vallarta

    Sitting at a table on the beach
    at Langostino’s, happy hour
    margaritas, our feet in the sand.

    A girl with sad brown eyes
    tries to sell us a doll on a
    string. We shake our heads, no, gracias, no.

    The waves pull back, the ocean meets
    the setting sun, the sky burns red,
    the pier lights flicker on.

    We sip our wine, and in the bay
    the whales sleep, the same as they have
    every night since time began.

    Julie Germain

  29. lidywilks


    on your
    streets, my
    lungs searing
    through my chest, passed
    the dog shit and broken glass,
    reflections of the old you. even
    as I tripped on you’re the crumbling steps
    pulled by desire to get away, for a little respite,
    I still ran. But this reprieve has lasted an eternity
    And now I wish to see the new you and though I’ve
    left your side can I ask, “Are you doing well, old friend?

    by Lidy Wilks

  30. PSC in CT

    Emerald City

    by a wondrous variety
    of early birds
    and night owls –
    (far more real
    than any
    flying monkeys), these
    sturdy skyscrapers,
    majestic, magical,
    sift sunbeams between
    their verdant towers;
    colossal remnants
    of an ancient civilization –
    filtering sunlight
    through sacred canopy
    to settle upon
    the forest floor.


  31. Michele Brenton

    This one was a hard one to write. Those of you who know my history will understand why.


    The prompt was to write a city poem
    and my thoughts and my heart went to you
    with your twinkling lights in the velvet night
    all the clichés were yours and were true.

    Those walks in heat of the morning
    next to the glimmering lake
    watching for turtles in moonlight
    to see them for pure seeing’s sake.

    The smells of the boats in the harbour
    the sounds of the sailors aboard
    clinking their crystalline glasses
    regaling the catches they’d scored.

    The salt water meeting the sweeter,
    on the bridge demarcating the two
    the fishermen smoking and talking
    the motorbikes trying to get through.

    The earth has moved over and over
    you have changed as indeed so have I
    but you have no heart and no memory
    while I love you and will till I die.

    Michele Brenton 2014

  32. Puja

    Mumbai Day

    Poets sing of
    a lit up gateway,
    slum truths
    and a city
    that shows dreams
    and teaches reality

    While people get off from
    glass elevators,
    that play gracious saxophone,
    into brick, tin and dust

    and laugh away mundane
    through dirty jokes and abuses,
    through littered lanes and fumes

    Poets sing of
    old Parsi colonies,
    traffic and railway
    and a city
    that makes living easy
    and makes life difficult

    While people munch,
    at a gutter dhaba,
    through biryani and keema,
    that would embarrass Mughal dastarkhwans

    and toy with the egg
    in their bleeding shezwan rice
    dreaming of tapas in Madrid

    Poets sing of
    beaches and sea faces,
    skyscraping innovations,
    and a city
    that belongs to gold and stars
    that belongs to whores and smugglers

    While people feed leftovers
    to one starving mongrel,
    feeling kind and generous,
    bitching and gossiping about work

    and return to glass walls
    to punish their keyboards
    and frustrate their deadlines

    Poets sing of
    parties and vices,
    floods and terrorist blasts
    and a city
    that rises through everything
    and never goes to sleep

    While people pack up,
    elbow oceans of humans,
    slither past roadside romeos,
    meander through sleeping beggars

    and plop before televisions
    belonging a little bit more
    to the city which is everybody’s
    to the city which is nobody’s…

  33. pcm

    Manhattan Mosey

    Big city
    keeps me warm
    in the day
    with the rhythm
    of its cool nonchalance
    as the subway rumbles
    and a vendor calls
    a Jamaican drum pops
    notes in the air
    that rise and fall
    above genteel balustrades
    that ignore made in the shade
    Mercedes parked below.
    Parents chase
    toddlers to and fro
    while clip clopping horses
    in plumes pull carriages
    west across Central Park past
    chess players, newspaper readers
    and kids climbing statue pedestals
    as cabs honk like eager geese
    crowding the light at feeding time.
    Night falls and I wrap a scarf
    around my neck as the
    shadows wrap
    around the streets.
    Beneath the streetlights
    and the weather
    in the City
    we are all
    of a feather.

  34. nmbell


    A thrill shot through me
    The first time I heard
    The Pirates of Penzance

    The name called me
    Tugging at my heartstrings
    I had to look it up on a map

    Then I dreamed of visiting
    The little Cornish seaside town
    With its view of St. Michael’s Mount
    Across the shimmering Mount’s Bay

    Old and steeped in memories
    Surrounded by moorlands
    Studded with the remnants
    Of stone monuments

    Stone circles and dolmens
    Hill forts and fogues
    Logan stones and faery rings
    Fishing boats still sail from Newlyn Harbour

    Narrow streets run all uphill
    Yet all somehow lead me
    Down to the sea
    Church bells sound in the mist

    I set foot at Penzance station
    Breathed the salty air
    Gazed across the bay
    At St. Michael’s Mount across the Marzion marsh

    And knew I’d come home

    Nancy Bell 2014
    Still catching up LOL

  35. Mickie Lynn

    Standing on a Street in New York

    Alone in the sea
    of concrete humanity
    watching the waves pass,

    Quiet solitude
    smells of asphalt after rain
    and new beginnings.

  36. Anders Bylund

    Ten years didn’t make a difference
    An eternal grey haze still in the air
    Even on bright summer days
    On a good day, you smell the coffee forever
    From Buckman to Dames Point
    So many bridges
    Just a few left unburned

  37. Beverly Deirocini


    city of one love and alter calls
    biltmore house and cardboard homes
    yoga poses and kneeling knees
    drum circles and wine tastings

    mothers walking barefoot
    fathers sporting suits
    heat and snow
    organic food and organic love


    city of the sky

  38. Emma

    City Life

    I’ve never used to be a city girl;
    I grew up the daughter of commuters,
    With the edge of the Cotswolds decorating the horizon
    Seen from my childhood bedroom window.
    Sunday mornings meant being woken to the sound of shooting,
    Not from criminals
    But rather rifles aimed at lumps of clay in the air.
    It takes a while to get used to moving,
    To a capital
    Where everything is written in two languages
    And pizza can be ordered at 4am.
    Sometimes I miss the glorious green
    Of the place that used to surround me,
    But then I remember:
    It was a pretty prison.
    Far from perfect.
    I was bored and lost and trapped.
    Now when I wake in the early hours, and stare
    Out at the amber glow, I see
    How the city is wilder than the world
    I used to inhabit. So alive.

  39. Debbie


    Where you land is one thing
    but where you stay is another.
    My parents chose the city life
    with me, my sisters, and brother.

    An apartment, a house, a yard
    we made do with what we had.
    No woods or ponds or hiding creatures
    but our comparison wasn’t all that bad.

    We played in yards with Slip ‘N Slides
    and crazy hoses of Water Wiggles.
    The sun, the grass, the outdoor action
    was filled with friends and many giggles.

    The constant locals, the ice cream truck
    all brought joy to a daily routine.
    The kids, the adults, and dogs galore
    Our block was a framed family scene.

    We didn’t hide in the forest or trees
    We had garages and parks for that.
    Wherever we found a neat space
    The counting started, so hide your hat.

    “Here I come, ready or not”
    Was often heard from near or far.
    Look behind the house, over by that bush
    Sshhh, over there, behind the car.

    Playtime is over, it’s getting dark
    The street lights slowly start to light.
    As we wave to our friends until tomorrow
    Our city street is now part of the night.

  40. Mark Conroy

    “Sharing Shingle Hollow * The Un-City”

    Sharing friends in Shingle Hollow was easy for me.
    The creek that runs between us, you bridged the week after we met.
    An old telephone pole you dragged in with a tractor
    Fell into place between four trees.
    Two on your side and two on mine.
    You just started building your cabin and pushed in a road.
    We found the place someone else had begun, fought over and forgot.
    They were from the city just like us.
    Now everyone around us here are people like you.
    Mountain people who survive and thrive because
    That’s what you do when you have good friends like you.
    I’d tell you my plans and then watch your face.
    You tried to read me and decide how polite to be.
    Most of my dreams came true because of you.
    You asked hard questions I had to explain.
    When I heard those words repeated back,
    I knew they were all wrong and needed some more work.
    We kept on talking until I made more sense
    Later at night, sitting at your place, I listened to your stories of how it had been.
    You’d remember the ones “not worth killin’”, or those “In church every time the doors are open.”
    I’d climb up the ladder and crawl under the covers in the loft above.
    There, I’d dream of all the places and people that you talked about, and meet with my new friends—
    You, all the others—and me.

    Mark Conroy

  41. Heidi


    The schoolgirl speaks fluent French
    in Mexico City. Not a true fit as
    these streets chafe her heels raw.
    His kiss lingers on her lips.

    She races through catcalls spewed
    from cement trucks and gyrating jeers
    launched from taxicab windows.
    Today they met in secret.

    Her oxford shoes slap concrete,
    bobbing, black and white sails on city gray.
    Bleached socks circle her ankles.
    She waited below the Jacaranda.

    Proclaiming her skin Mediterranean,
    she turns at the gate fumbling
    with the intercom button, red.
    He is forbidden she knows.

    The servant answers, “Quien?”
    “Soy Lluvia.” She says. Beer bottle shards,
    like jagged brown and green swords,
    stand in cemented salute to her guilt.

    The door through the black lava
    palisade gapes open, the house Papi built.
    The marble’s chilled breath, gropes at her cheek.
    She trips across the threshold.

    Cilantro and chiles crushed on stone,
    with salt and lime, their pungent odors
    mingle with acrid fumes of a braking bus.
    Kissing greetings she climbs away.

    The smell of tortillas grilling, and blistered
    tomato, wafts up winding stairs, in pursuit.
    Outside the knife sharpener whistles
    a shrill warning, “Stay away!”

    Through the midday chatter of kitchen cooks
    flirting, and Zote soap rubbing on washbasin
    ridges, she scrubs French lace.
    Ridding her panties of his scent.

    Clotheslines criss-cross on the roof.
    A gridlock of today’s wash, dripping, drying
    before the 2:00 rains. He said he loved her,
    so why weep hot tears?

    Heidi R. de Contreras

  42. sbpoet

    city dream

    there is a city in your dreams
    it encompasses all the places you’ve ever lived
    small towns nestle in its arms
    rivers, the sea, bicycle paths
    vehicles abandoned along its streets
    it always rains, the streets shimmer

    you know where you are, but you are lost
    your destination should be there, just across
    that bridge, that road, that mountain
    if only someone would answer the phone
    respond to your calls for help, for direction
    if only you knew where you were going

    ~ sharon brogan

  43. Domino

    Driving in the West

    On the road, here in the west,
    is much different than in the large
    eastern side of the country.

    Our freeways are not toll roads,
    for one, and so there is no need
    to stop at all unless one needs gas
    or a convenience break.

    And our towns don’t run together;
    signs of cultivation and human
    habitation running together like
    a water-color painting, blending one
    town into the next, into the next,
    into the outskirts of the city.

    In the west, the cities stand like
    islands in the vast open land,
    islands with millions of people,
    perhaps, but islands nonetheless.

    Driving so as to circumnavigate
    the city center, we find our way to
    the artery that leads to our destination
    and once we leave the suburbs,
    it is open country with little sign of
    life other than the fence that lines the roads,
    railroad tracks and the occasional hawks
    or cattle or cotton or alfalfa.

    And there are long stretches where only
    desert surrounds the freeway, cacti and
    drought-loving trees and dirt and rock
    and mountains in the distance.

    The sun is merciless and our AC
    keeps us cool, music surrounding us with
    a taste of our modern world.
    I often wonder at the stubborn strength of
    the sturdy souls who tamed this place
    and made it their own.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  44. k_weber

    In the Blink of the City

    I sleepwalk
    this city
    and wish you lived
    in red brick
    a block away
    with wrought
    iron fire escape

    I’d sit outside
    an entire season with you
    and an ink black sky
    and no cloud
    and stars like someone
    threw confetti
    and it stuck
    to the ceiling

    I want you
    where the bus
    just misses us
    and we are distracted
    by all the groceries
    and the screams
    of anybody and a siren
    for whoever needs
    to hear it

    – k weber

  45. Delaina Miller

    City of Fountains

    Every winter they turned off
    not to become frothy mounds of fluffed ice.
    Fountain Day, a community sign of spring
    when all the fountains come to life again.

    Waters leap high in the air
    or flow rippled cascades.
    On Opening Day the fountains gush Royal blue.
    Here for Breast Cancer Awareness week
    fountains emit pink.

    There are mermaids and warriors;
    delicate nudes, even a muse.
    Memorials to Nichols and Bloch
    and Firefighters too.

    The City of Fountains
    falls short only to Rome.
    With bubbling gurgles for children to play
    the fountains are art in wet sprays.
    Just a few of the reasons to call
    Kansas City home.

  46. Autumn

    This is actually a small excerpt from a poetic short story I wrote, but I figured that would be too long to submit.


    In the daytime, I get lost
    in the seas of robots,
    rocking to and fro;
    they carry me down
    sidewalks and across streets,
    tossing me relentlessly
    as if I don’t exist.
    I can’t even hear my own footsteps,
    so maybe I don’t exist.

  47. Earl Parsons

    Not For Me

    So many people love the big city
    They love the exciting lifestyle
    Always something do to in the city
    No matter the time of day or night
    But for me, it’s a big no thanks
    The city just ain’t my thing

    Oh, the big city has its advantages
    But quick in-and-outs do me just fine
    No need to stay until after dark
    Or make special unplanned excursions
    And with the Internet in our lives
    Ordering and delivery saves gas and time

    I’m more attuned to open fields
    Views of the sunrise unobscured
    Neighbors within view, if necessary
    But not within hearing distance
    Fresh air; green, healthy lawns and
    A porch from which to watch the world go by

    My porch is my city
    Come sit with me sometime

    © 2014 Earl Parsons

  48. PatsC

    Homeland Security

    30th Street Station,
    Nine-to-five urbanites,
    College students,
    Flower show goers.

    Pre-conference anxiety,
    Arriving too early for the D.C. train,
    Seated on the long wooden bench,
    People watching.

    Carrying a small black bag,
    Traveling alone,
    Sect identified by wardrobe and beard,
    A member of Old Order Amish.

    Approaching and asking,
    Please watch my bag,
    Feeling chosen in a world of sinners,
    His plain soul recognizing my good will.

    I’m the guardian of the small case,
    Watching as he strolls the terminal,
    Unhurriedly and assured,

    Tourists view a rarity,
    A faith observed,
    Finding faith through Order,
    Belief and culture combine.

    Deeper into the crowd,
    Out of sight,
    And so i wait,
    And wait.

    Constant announcements,
    Citizenship alerts,
    Report suspicious activity,
    The unattended bag.

    A downtime mind,
    Fretful possibilities,
    Was it evil in disguise?
    Am I the chosen chump?

    One drop of sand,
    The slowing of time,
    Friends meet beneath the city’s angel,
    Welcoming and unafraid.

    The distance reveals width of hat brim,
    A step of nonresistance,
    Retrieval of belongings,
    Humble thanks.

    The pride of good deed overshadowed,
    By fearful possibilities,
    The quiet car does not still,
    Post 9/11 imaginings.

  49. Reynard

    people bustling loudly
    cars buzzing quickly
    lights burning always
    some see things to do
    or places to be
    but I see cages
    cages with walls
    cages with wheels
    cages with workers
    some see things to do
    or things to get
    but I see waiting
    waiting for food
    waiting for money
    waiting to die
    loud bustling people
    quick buzzing cars
    always burning lights

  50. Jaywig

    With the Best Intentions

    The train belted along.
    We were bundled into the city
    with an urgency we didn’t need.

    We strolled through laneways.
    We could have eaten food from
    a multitude of nations. We chose

    gourmet Italian and had no time
    for coffee. We needed to get somewhere.
    We were meeting friends & strangers.

    The city flung its glass tresses at
    the cloudless sky, and left us in
    darkness, down here at the feet

    which were hard and hard-wearing.
    We ached just with the strain of standing
    and just had to sit, watch the parade

    coffee at last driving blood through
    elderly hearts and bloodlines, even
    though we paid dearly for the day.

    With an urgency we welcomed
    we were propelled out of the city.
    The train belted along

    and we slept most of the journey home.

  51. jsmadge

    How It Is

    Once at home around torn edges of a city,
    Decay overtakes expectations.
    Worn ordinary and overuse once noble
    Shift the dream to drudge,
    Tilt the mirror to someone else
    On the TV; rent to own.
    You don’t live on west sixty-fifth.
    You stay. Until you don’t.
    And then you wear out somewhere else.

    Jo Steigerwald

  52. jasonlmartin

    La Grange, KY

    What defines a city
    is what it has in plenty.
    A few art museums,
    Buildings as far as you can see them,
    trails and passageways for dogs and bikes,
    places for kids to play and moms to shop
    spaces for festivals and weekend hikes
    highways under construction where traffic stops.

    What defines a small town
    is focused around what cannot be found.
    One lone train passes through Main Street
    about twenty-one times a day, casting a sheet
    of a shadow over the ice cream parlor and antique
    destinations. There is no repeated luring, no mystique
    that brings visitors back again. One visit to La Grange
    is all you need, and to visit again, you will, for sure, be strange.

  53. gus

    Day 12: The Life of Living In Miami

    Beyond the glitz,
    Beyond the glamour,
    Beyond the city streets,
    The nighttime buzz,
    And beautiful beaches,
    There is nothing so great
    About living in Miami.
    The people, though “pretty”
    Are spiteful in spite of your kindness.
    Nobody knows each other,
    Nobody stops to say hello,
    Or even to return one.
    The circles are tight,
    And if your me,
    You might feel lost.

    -Gus Gonzalez

  54. gus

    *not an entry*

    Has anyone else had the problem where you can’t access certain days earlier in time? Like, I can access day 10, but when I tried to go on day 11, it didn’t work (some kind of error). Also, practically none of the days in the search tool are working for me, displaying the same error message (including days 2 and 7). Can anyone help me with this?

  55. SeekingSoltitude


    Away from here

    I wish one day
    I’d get to leave this house-
    this city, these roads
    abandoning costumes and hoards

    The city shouts and screams
    in these ears of mine
    The honks of desperation
    of finishing an examination

    The grey air darkens
    on the pavement
    When it finally reaches
    my house and into my lungs it breaches

    This place is vast
    and greenery is minuscule
    Its difficult to remember my days in the Alps
    its time to return, perhaps

    I want to be free from here
    I want to run to places far and wide
    where fresh air is abundant
    where joy is redundant


  56. jean

    A Rispetto for Milwaukee (iambic tetrameter, ababccdd)

    Though people rarely think it so
    Milwaukee is a nifty town
    A destination? Let’s all go!
    Oh! Ethnic festivals abound
    Free concerts on the streets, in parks
    Museums? Bars? What int’rest sparks?
    Most folks will talk, quick as you please
    And food comes all covered with cheese.

  57. BezBawni

    Velleity of a City Spring

    Oh, nasty spring, how long
    will you be so cunning,
    stunning everyone
    with icy winds? and snow?
    Oh, grow a pair of balls
    and come already,
    against all odds, come strong!

    by Lucretia Amstell

  58. Amirae Garcia

    Dreams Like London – Amirae Garcia

    dreams like across the ocean,
    dreams like cobblestones,
    dreams like the sound of bells for miles,
    dreams like buildings you have prayed for,
    dreams like rain and rain and rain.

    dreams like dark clouds,
    dreams like your heart bursting,
    dreams like wide eyes,
    dreams like crying eyes,
    dreams like this city.

    when you find your city,
    you will know why it took so long.
    when you find your city,
    you will know why you’ve called it home.
    it will come to you and it will be magnificent.
    and you won’t give it up. you won’t give it up.

  59. Rolf Erickson

    The City

    Rhymes with anonymity
    and beauty and complexity.
    With density and familiarity
    with gentility and hostility.

    Rhymes with jocularity
    and kinesiology and liability.
    With mobility and nobility
    with personality and quality.

    Rhymes with Rose City
    and stability and tactility.
    With variability and washability
    with xenophobility and yackability.

    Doesn’t rhyme with zilch.

  60. Aberdeen Lane

    urban loner
    concrete jungle safari
    vines of bridges
    constant movement
    caught up in movement
    gears, currents, cycles, routines
    coffee trends
    word on the street
    contagious on trains

  61. ToniBee3

    “Hot Air Balloons”

    Posed in the sky as
    polychromatic marionettes to the horizon.
    Daybreak welcomes this charm.
    They witness the distant valley —

    A swelling metropolis of
    floppy brims and sandal straps
    promenading through Old Town.
    A fusion of rural and refined.

    Drop a pretty dime at antique shops
    swathed in aromas of musky tobacco
    and funnel cake adhering to each inhale.
    Buskers paint caricatures across the lot.

    Vast mountains lend its trails
    to intrepid dirt bikers and coyotes.
    Teeing grounds are requisite.
    Winters are fiction.

    Vines and wines are the jewels.
    Horses relax to soft strokes.
    Folk under the sunset host a
    toast to the taste of Temecula.

  62. AC Leming

    Gotham City

    Gotham City stays perpetually dark,
    allows both criminals and vigilantes
    to creep out once twilight descends
    upon the city. Each man, each woman
    each and every last one of them
    fight in the Gotham’s streets.
    They hide behind masks,
    lurk in the long shadows
    cast by Gotham’s heart.
    She breathes death.
    She breeds discontent
    as abundant as the bats
    which swarm the few lights
    illuminating Gotham City.

  63. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    I live in an itty-bitty city,
    Lit at night by a big old moon.
    Springtime here and the trees are pretty,
    But I know summer is coming soon;
    I know summer is coming soon.

    I live an itty-bitty city,
    Underneath a wide blue sky.
    Sometimes life gets hard and gritty,
    But I know better than to wonder why;
    I know better than to wonder why.

    I live in an itty-bitty city,
    The only thing large is the open land.
    Folks uptown look down with pity,
    But I know help means lending a hand;
    I know help means lending a hand.

  64. Deri

    Lexington, Kentucky

    City like a wagonwheel
    or a pie, each wedge
    containing its own
    encapsulated culture.
    I have lived in almost
    each one at some point.
    That one when I was first married
    that other when first a mother
    this one when divorced
    and found new love
    and lost it again
    and again.
    There’s no part of this city
    I haven’t seen
    in my younger days,
    my older days,
    from my time hauling
    people like so much
    fragile cargo
    in my ambulance days.
    I have driven New Circle Road,
    which takes you from wedge to wedge,
    sometimes long into the night,
    wondering at the manicured lawns
    melding into ghetto dust
    to rolling horse farms
    to brownstones
    and homes that stood
    at the birth of our nation.
    This is a city of mint juleps
    and moonshine,
    where you can go
    to the corner bar
    and dance to country
    and rap in the same night.
    This city talks to me,
    and tells my story,
    the one of a girl
    full of love and vitriol
    who has seen the best
    and the worst of her adopted town
    and always calls it home.

  65. seingraham


    Is the amount of energy they give off
    It’s hard to be in a place like NYC or Paris
    without noticing the palpable hum there,
    the very air vibrates
    And the lights – first of all, the artificial
    lights are phenomenal; there’s nothing
    like coming into a big city at night,
    landing at an airport and seeing the
    array of lights below you spread like
    fields of jewels…and it doesn’t matter
    where…Toronto, Rome, London
    They’re all different, yet all similar
    The thing about cities, is they’re all magical
    And if you’re lucky enough to waken
    at sunrise in a big city, you’ll notice how
    differently old Sol bathes a city to how
    he treats the countryside…not better
    necessarily…but different
    The thing about cities…well, there are
    so many things about cities, I could
    write a book.

  66. Blaise


    White wine, sunny piazza,
    not close to San Marco,
    no cars, no scooters,
    stone arch over a small canal
    confirms I am nowhere else.

    First hour in Venice and
    already swept away,
    unsure of my century,
    cobblestones silent,
    somehow familiar.

    Renaissance? Baroque?
    When am I?
    Who rules the Adriatic?
    Who is Doge?

    Serenissima conquers another tourist,
    eyes swell, ears seek
    the spirit of Monteverdi,
    heart sings I am home.

  67. kh42711

    Emerald storms raging
    waves break the surface,
    crashing upon the bank.
    the calm recess of water;
    a veil, hiding the turmoil below
    restless spirits are stirring
    in their city under the sea.

  68. EbenAt

    Height of civilization
    or nadir of destruction?

    Paris or Rome
    from ground level
    delights the senses;
    From 46 miles up,
    they look like cancer.

    American sprawl,
    urban geography,
    amok time.
    Up or out,
    we’re never content.

    If the drive were motivated
    by human need,
    not greed,
    what then?

  69. rlmatt7

    The cannibal city – Day 12 (City prompt)

    Into the city they poured in millions
    Hugging theirs hopes close
    One, by one, by one the city ate them away

    The city was built with sand and muscle
    And with dreams that moulded metal when
    Into the city they poured in millions

    They built castles with laughter spun into glass
    Built tall towers, standing on each others shoulders, until
    One, by one, by one the city ate them away

    Deep tunnels they dug with will as their weapon
    Filled them with trains, to ride all day, to-ing and fro-ing
    Into the city they poured in millions

    Their fingers turned to claws, grasping at the thinning air
    Their bodies shrunk narrow, to fit the houses so spare, and
    One, by one, by one the city ate them away

    So gradual, so quick, so clean, so dirty, the withering
    Dreams to denude, eyes to empty, masked shrivelling
    Into the city they poured in millions
    One, by one, by one the city ate them away

  70. jclenhardt

    DC in Spring

    We rest
    the falling gifts
    of friendship,
    almost lost,
    but given,
    in good faith
    of the other’s
    we love,
    the cherry
    in the breeze
    of the
    we hear
    their words
    of freedom,
    forever etched
    in stone.

  71. lethejerome


    There is no connection
    Nothing synesthetic about how it dawns

    details of fiction
    someone else’s narrative
    words I’ve been meaning to formalize.

    You took me here once.

    (I’m not here, I’m with you, twelve years later.)

    You took me here once
    and I’ve allowed the details
    to sink into daylight.

    Staged a picture in Bruderheim
    stopping for a sign but not for lunch
    slept like your friend in the back of the car
    while you drove us three through five o’clock shadows
    stole flowers – just one – from someone else’s table at karaoke night
    because you told me I wouldn’t

    and maybe got you to
    climb up on that post on Whyte ave again
    so you could recreate a smile over the streetlights

    Jérôme Melançon

  72. Mokosh28

    Flesh and Leather

    Know a city by its stones, oldest
    streets worn to ghost step. Both
    flesh and leather marched here. Reign
    of sun, rake of rain, flood and drought
    a buckle. I remember sideroads

    best: shops, apartments with tiny
    window gardens. I see shadows
    of their blossoms. How the woman with
    scissors scattered roses down on
    soldiers who looked up laughing. Later
    her petals would be barefoot as
    slaves. So many sorts

    of blood. They say it takes a thousand
    years to shine a stone, another hundred
    to lay them, make them perfectly
    uneven, so that, with a stumble,
    the city bends its knee.

    Joanne Clarkson

  73. RamblinRose

    This is My city
    Gargoyles peering down onto cobblestone alleyways
    Granite and brick intermingled with clapboard
    Gothic and retro, circa 1970’s crumbling from neglect
    Eclectic, Three Sisters, 1880 castle, and lighthouses perched on boardwalks
    The past present and future co-habit the same street
    Lost identity reformed and renovated and restored

  74. emmaisan0wl

    I once met an artist
    who made sculptures from layers
    upon layers of paint. that
    is the soul of this city-
    layers upon layers of
    hearts that burned and fingers
    that refused
    to be forgotten.


    there’s a synonym for ‘fool’
    on a street sign
    because that family wouldn’t move
    for the cathedral,
    and in the end,
    the rafters of their house
    fell to fire. there’s a bricked-up
    window where someone once tried
    to kill a prince.
    there’s poetry on the walls,
    scrawled by hands
    that ache for revolution.
    I hope they never stop cracking their
    knuckles. I hope the city
    never rests.


    I never truly fell in love
    before the smell of smoke
    on the cathedral steps
    under the stars.


    breathe with me. listen to the river.
    listen to the sirens,
    the traffic. listen. I want you
    to see the city
    that everyone else will miss.

  75. cdonnelltx@yahoo.com

    Here’s another one for another City

    Lost in Salinas
    Carolyn Donnell

    I found the way.
    The map was clear.
    Straight south, then left and left again,
    and I arrived at Steinbeck house.
    It was daylight. Problems none.
    A snap.

    But getting back
    was not the same.
    No right, then right, and turn to north.
    A one-way street, a dead end there,
    and circle back where I began.

    No other route
    was on my map.
    Lost in darkness. Swirling mists
    brewed my mind to panicked tears.
    Alone in a new universe.

    Police cars scream,
    rush by, to where?
    Can’t stop. Murky neighborhood.
    What menace lurks in this unknown?
    Consumed with fear I turn around,
    have to get away from here.

    My compass says
    I’m going west.
    That’s not right. Oh Lord please help!
    Finally – a street I’ve seen,
    leads me back to bright North Main.
    Safe again.

  76. Mustang Sal

    City Playground

    Run fast and laugh loud, children.
    Swing high.
    Pump your legs as hard as you can.
    Hold on tight to the ropes.
    Let your hair fly behind you
    as you take off into the unknown.

    Inflate a dream.
    Bounce it around the court.
    Pass it to a friend,
    but then get it back,
    and slam dunk it into the future.

    Chalk your name
    in big letters on the sidewalk
    while avoiding the cracks,
    so you can hopscotch
    a grade ahead.

    Go up and down
    on the teeter-totter,
    whirl on the merry-go-round.
    Stagger off, but
    take time to regain your balance.

    Drink from the silver
    fountain that flows
    with living water that
    sustained your parents
    and their parents too.

    Come in
    when your mom calls supper,
    and read by street light
    until, in your dreams, you slide
    into a new playground.

  77. Azma


    That tree
    down the third alley
    which boasted of being the tallest
    among its green companions,
    which was studded
    so generously
    with vibrant chirping birds
    is now dwarfed
    by glass giants
    and the birds are now replaced
    by dust and grime.

    -Azma Sheikh

  78. Poetess

    Crow Town Days

    The crows sit along the peak
    Lined up at attention they named the town
    Where three rivers come together
    The canal boat fallen, the flood gone

    Yellow, yellow, black, yellow
    Butterflies follow me around
    The crows line up on the wires
    What’s the next stop to be found?

    Surf’s Up Ice Cream, Lake Park picnic
    Apple Butter Inn, Knob Hill Design
    Views abound with hills all around
    The butterflies painting a path so divine

    We find this haunted antique shop
    And roam around its real wonder
    Cluttered with each room capturing
    Old days gone asunder

    As the day turns to evening
    Sitting on a bistro bench drinking wine
    Smiling, laughing, tasting the moment
    On some kind of margarita pizza we dine

    Among cocoon veiled Roscoe Village trees
    And Black Eyed Susan’s found in a crowd
    “Closure found me here”
    “Miserable happiness” she claims aloud

    Full circle thankfulness and peace
    With childhood friends dead and gone
    Listening to locust screams return
    The ravens surviving they belong

    The vintage red truck scene returns
    Carrying purple clad smiling girl dreams
    And laughing happy faces I see
    People filling up with purple ice cream

    “Cinderella” the washroom stalls
    Magical shoe imaginations adorn
    Word painted pink cursive walls
    Wearing dreams we’ve all worn

    Pen-on-a-shirt captures words for life
    A poem forms describing the hot night
    Suddenly rain whisks us as we reminisce
    Under the umbrella sheltering our delight

    Tomorrow explores the countryside
    Ordered Amish views inspiring awe
    Trusting the way it’s a sweet scene
    And the basket weavers’ factory we saw

    Little chip monks scurrying past
    Donkeys crossing our road
    Seeing little horses and little goats
    This Ohio landscape must be told

    We tasted cheese I read from a book
    Teaching us aloud our fear
    Words from “Motherless Daughters”
    Love who you ate truly we hear

    Remembering how our painted toes
    Led us curiously one step at a time
    I’ll always reflect on that day
    And how the ravens followed my line

    Writing my words a beginning an end
    I so cherished this bonding ride
    Women on a journey together
    A road that once did hide

    Daughters wrapped tightly in this era
    Reclaiming that something lost
    Keeping it alive as well as the honor
    The hard choices our mothers crossed

    The sun shines its bright light on us
    Revealing a rich history our ways
    Forever I’ll come back to then
    Connecting to our crow town days

    A tribute to the powerful legacy of my mother. She gave up her first born child, a baby girl – my oldest sister, who as a woman gave up her own first child, a baby girl; and how my sister knowing adoption from both sides of the coin found and united us.

    A tribute to the day we connected in the special place of Coshocton, OH. A rich with history city of refuge. The place where my sister grew up. The place where our mother traveled in shame to bear her in 1946. There we were, my “given-up” sister and her “given-up” daughter – my mother’s first born daughter and grand-daughter, giving life to her legacy.

    A tribute to the lives she gifted us. It was my mother’s losing her second daughter in death to leukemia at the age of six and my immediate conception that gave birth to my life replacing her double pain. It was her sudden death a month shy of my twenty-second birthday that catapulted me into writing.

    Hope Edelman’s acclaimed “Motherless Daughters” rings true. The bravery she writes of are echoed here. My mother’s bravery continues to teach us in the present stillness of her absence…my sister, my niece, and me…

  79. Zeenie

    dreaming of streetlights

    We picked up trash
    off the stone pavements
    of the city in which we dwell,
    but do not live –

    black and glinting
    like an alley cat’s eyes,
    we saw the remains
    of last night’s party:

    slammed beer cans
    and tiny silver rockets
    coiled among the grass
    of a family’s home –

    the mother wishes they lived
    in a real suburb –
    children sliding barefoot
    against a soft-prickle lawn,

    watching shooting stars
    off the back porch, dreaming
    under a canyon of streetlights,
    rich and warm like their bodies.

    I imagine them tonight
    as I sleep in the dirty hum
    of drunken voices outside
    my window –

    I know what it feels like
    to wish you were in
    another city.

    But I am nineteen and childless.
    I can go somewhere else.
    I can escape.

  80. Angie5804

    An Ode to Birmingham

    How do I find my way
    in this new city
    filled with the old flags
    waving in the echo
    of white only?

    How can I use my words
    in this city in the hills
    and valleys that echo
    with cries from the

    I will find my way
    with the light
    of what I know,
    a beam of boldness
    to guide me.

    I will use my words
    in this city of the south
    to pierce and soften;
    for peace
    and for love.

  81. mfitts847@gmail.com

    The Enduring City – Marie H. Fitts

    Traveling far and wide
    Searching side to side
    For a place to call our own
    A city to call our home

    Walking on foot, driving by car
    Searching for a city, near and far
    For a home we think is best
    A place for family, a place to rest

    Yet we search both night and day
    For a home in which to stay
    While poverty steals the sleep
    Unfortunate ones live in the street

    No roof above, no floor below
    No bed to sleep, no place to go
    No special place to call their own
    No enduring city to call their home

    Yet if we think about it long
    Believers too can sing this song
    For this earth is not our own
    This place not meant to be our home

    For we were never meant to stay
    This earth will too soon pass away
    Yet we still look for that enduring city
    Coming on that glorious day

    When the trumpets sound
    And the sleeping rise
    When we meet The Lord Jesus
    Up in the skies

    The place he prepared
    We will finally see
    The Enduring City
    Built for you and me

  82. SuziBwritin



    The first time I stood
    in the icy bullets
    from the spray of an open hydrant
    in 90 degree weather
    in front of my best friend’s house
    it knocked me on my butt
    into the street

    Though there were no
    well-manicured lawns
    with rainbow sprinklers
    playing pretty on the grass
    a garden hose would provide
    enough fun
    for a whole summer’s day

    we were old enough
    to catch the bus for a dime
    transfer to a train
    all by ourselves
    and spend a whole day
    in the hot sand
    and the wonderful freezy cold
    of Revere Beach

  83. shethra77


    this city sleeps
    dozes at least
    some peace at night
    broken on occasion
    by the car carrier
    unloading into the dealer’s show lot
    by a horse-and-buggy
    sharp hoof-clops advancing
    big traffic years before
    rerouted around town
    used to travel by my window

    gray dirt and noise
    constant struggle to install more trees
    (install is like plant)
    ones that won’t take out wires
    in ice storms thunderstorms
    because they want to be a Tree City
    oxygen and water absorption ever popular
    and the sparkling newest paints
    are meant to be the colors popular
    in colonial times
    to make the houses happy, maybe,
    because no people are still living to satisfy
    just the historic buildings
    those that were not torn down

    bad parts of town
    good parts of town
    code talk for who lives there
    in the greatest numbers
    across from the school district offices
    the Water Street Rescue Mission
    provides lifelines for homeless folks
    no subways so no warm grates to sleep on
    and for every homeless person dragging a
    cart down the street
    another stands with a sign
    asks for work
    one veteran stood at parade rest
    on the grassy traffic island
    baking in the shopping center entrance
    with his sign
    for days

    no job to offer
    my sister gave him some bananas

    the buses are too few
    and god forbid you should want
    to go somewhere not served
    by the Red Rose Transit routes
    Park City mall is well served
    first mall in the area
    called Park because they
    condemned half of Long’s Park to build it
    but the park still hosts
    a tiny petting zoo a big duck pond
    regular summer concerts
    the Sertoma Chicken Barbeque
    (the world’s biggest)

    and you can walk to the necessities
    milk and food and laundromats
    swings and slides and jungle gyms
    churches temples kingdom houses
    bars taverns and clubs
    there are art galleries
    and used book stores
    restaurants run by people from
    all over the world
    so much more than just the American standard
    and Pennsylvania Dutch
    I grew up with

    this place is alive
    full of growth and change
    as small and mean
    or bursting great
    as the people who call it home

  84. Joseph Hesch

    Corinth to Colonus

    When I close my eyes I can feel her pulse
    propelling my mirror heartbeat to the steel hum
    of dawn-cold wheels on night-chilled rails.
    In the gentle sway of this windowed womb,
    I desire not to gaze at field and factory,
    the blur of the close and the crawl of the distant.

    I fall into a traveler’s torpor, a mindful dream state
    in which I put aside my inevitable delivery
    to the harsh slap of bright city, of bumps and bangs
    of body and unsaveable soul. All day I am conflicted,
    guilt-ridden, wishing I was not here, pining
    for an Oedipal echo of the dawn of this damn day.

    How I wish to sin no more this way.

  85. emsytraut

    2014 April PAD Challenge Day 12
    Prompt: City
    I’m trying a limerick for this one:


    A city is really a sight
    Beautifully brilliant and bright
    But I don’t understand
    This does not fit my plan
    It ALWAYS looks better at night

  86. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 12

    Write a city poem.

    Cheesy tshirts stacked in booths,
    bars on the windows of electronics/camera shops,
    multi-level Office Depot,
    comic store near Grand Central we can’t drag our son
    away from, Grand Central itself with that take-your-breath
    movie set recognition all broad and high and bustling,
    brassy Ben and Jerry cashier urging me through the line,
    inconsistent volunteers letting a non-member into the Van Gogh
    drawings exhibit early and my husband pleading our case,
    Restaurant Row and Hell’s Kitchen feeding us different
    cuisine every night,
    dirty subway tunnels and clean Grimaldi’s Pizza in Brooklyn
    with its elbow to elbow tables and fiery brick oven,
    Brooklyn Bridge where we’re nearly run down by bikers
    loosely using the term walkway,
    Broadway bombarding our senses with “Wicked,” “Death of a Salesman,”
    “Spelling Bee,” “Ragtime,” so many more,
    pouring rain in October so that no one wants to disembark the red tour bus
    and we’re forced to buy ponchos,
    glorious blue skies above the gaping holes of 9-11,
    people of fashion and divergence and friendliness and disgruntlement
    rushing and crowding sidewalks,
    Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular
    complete with Rockettes and live nativity,
    lights, figures, and colors adorning holiday windows,
    FAO Schwartz, Disney Store, Fifth Avenue, Tiffany, Gucci,
    shady knock-off stores and good cheap food in Chinatown,
    Brooklyn Tabernacle lifting praise,
    Art Deco rules at old but elegant Edison Hotel in Midtown.
    New York City–smorgasbord of life experiences.

  87. pmwanken


    This northern
    girl has found
    a home
    away from home.

    A city where
    farm girl country roots
    blend with a love
    of the city of wind.

    Seventh largest city
    in the U.S.,
    still with the feel
    of a small town.

    Business suits
    accompanied by
    cowboy boots,
    seen at the office.

    A trip across town
    doesn’t take half a day,
    but rather a mere
    half an hour.

    Cultural differences
    have been overcome,
    to call San Antonio
    the place where I’m from.

  88. dsborden

    by D. S. Borden

    We claim this city,
    you and me,
    when we walk its streets,
    sharing our stride
    like gloves
    or hats
    or words
    that fit together in the cold air
    before they’re spoken,

    We have walked this unfolding map of memories
    a thousand times,
    or so it seems
    onward under streetlights
    instead of stars
    under neon words
    that replace our own
    as exhaustion overtakes us
    and the city surrenders

  89. Michelle Hed

    The Inner City

    The pulse of the city
    lays at the center
    where the great spires
    finger the sky.
    Some thrive within these walls
    but I,
    I see clogged arteries
    and congestion on every corner
    and spaces too defined,
    too close,
    and the weight of humanity
    sits on my chest
    like a stack of books.

    As I take a vein
    away from the city
    the books slowly
    fall off my chest,
    the spaces become irregular
    and the arteries
    open up
    and we are free flowing
    out into the country
    where my heart
    truly resides.

    I thrive here.

  90. spacerust

    “Diamonds in the Dust” by Karl A. Avila

    Diamonds where I once played
    no longer line the park,
    where bubblegum and coconut raspas
    were the rewards of catching one.

    The smacking sound that shattered “whack!”
    gave every kid a chance,
    scrambled ’round with eyes wide open
    search like army ants.

    The prize a race to find the ball
    that didn’t make the cut,
    but to all the seekers of the grail
    bubblegum was just enough.

    Now I walk the empty fields
    where all the diamonds were
    and think about the long gone days
    when baseball was the lure.

    To hours pass that days of when
    baseball was the town’s finest hour,
    star-spangled banners and apple pie
    could never turn things sour.

    Cardinal pride could be seen
    high upon the water tower,
    looking down onto its fields
    where kids had all the power.

    Now faded and no longer used
    the redbird riddled rustled,
    the voices of the children
    have been silenced by the muscle.

    Now faded and no longer used
    I muster for a moment,
    no one could have ever known
    that here was played the chosen.

      1. spacerust

        Thank you. When I read the prompt, I wasn’t sure what to write about of the city I live in; then I thought about when I was younger, our town only had one park and that was where all the baseball fields were. Now the baseball fields are no longer there and it’s such a shame to see that nothing is there at all, just empty fields. The water tower still stands with the faded logo of the local high school, which back then was only one. As I wrote this piece, so many wonderful memories came back that I had not thought about in at least thirty years.

  91. antoniabryanblue

    Midnight in Paris

    Wet marble reflects morrow’s dusk
    Glitter the rain basking life past
    While angel halos light up the streets
    Shredding spotlights on ghosts of all
    With Chanel added for good measure
    Painting the perfect image of her alone
    Golden raindrops turn her shoes into glass slippers
    Applauding her future steps through Paris
    Sugar-coating legend in her heels
    Tick tock, tick tock, chime louder
    Ringing out Madame in curtsey
    Days of old greet to tilt her beret
    At every bistro cafe and empty glass of bordeaux
    The ink of Hemingway leaks onto paper
    While Gertrude Stein barks vision beside the violinist
    Artisans tuck her chair in to perfect her poise
    Critiquing her smile like Mona Lisa
    Frog legs jump out of her plate in haste
    To catch a glimpse of heaven
    The stairway lights up, she squints
    Until the doorway is ready to open
    Her name is la tour Eiffel
    And they say, only the rain can reignite the magic
    Promising glass slippers to all who dream
    Only when the clock strikes midnight while the rain falls

  92. Margot Suydam

    Graceful City, (a found poem)

    Grace is a relatively large and permanent
    human settlement.

    To qualify as grace, it must have enough
    surplus of raw materials.

    Grace expands far enough to reach another;
    has complex systems.

    Agricultural activity appears necessary
    before true grace can form.

    There is not enough evidence to assert
    what conditions gave rise to the first.

  93. robinamelia

    The New J-city

    God’s an urban planner now, par excellence,
    twelve gates of the best materials,
    an infrastructure to make Frontinus drool.

    Robin Amelia Morris

  94. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Provincial Capitol Cities

    Quebec City
    St. John’s

  95. anneemcwilliams

    They Walks in Hunger
    after Lord Byron (George Gordon)

    They walks in hunger, through the night
    Thru rainy climes and snow-filled skies;
    And all that’s worst of men and mice
    Meets in their lonesome hopeless eyes;
    Thus resigned to friendless plight
    Needs rise like strings from broken ties

    No home no mo’, no ray of hope,
    ’bout half impaired, a nameless face
    Blindly search in every grope,
    Begs gift to lighten load and pace;
    These transitory folk cain’t cope
    With fear, they seek they hiding place.

    And on that creek, and in that tent,
    So hard, so cold, yet eloquent,
    They smiles they toofless grins that glow,
    And brag of days in goodness spent,
    Before the gutters and the woe,
    To mos’ they’s surely impotent.

    first draft 04/12/2014

  96. peacegirlout

    Vadum Francorum – city and the girl (after a bit of editing)

    Acidious whirl
    Skyscraped monolith
    Varicosed bloodletter
    Brick mortared Beauty
    Diasporas displaced and
    Romance cemented
    Hidden in unearthed
    Dust Thirst and Discourse

    The city’s beat pulses through my veins
    Like fever and ice until the fear of climax
    Edges deep furrows into the bristled
    Canvas of my love trafficked corpse.

    In the city I am.
    Lost in anonymity.
    Accompanied by fast friends and danger
    My gaze lingers on fresh familiar faces
    As the world outside has poured the best
    And worst of all of us into this place I call

    As I unpack exiled memories anew
    I stare at the light casing of my birthday suit
    Swallowed by the emptiness of pains and aches
    But for a moment
    Courage pushes my sight past scars
    And terrors the way that only one who
    Routinely wrestles alligators can appreciate.

    I have arrived and I wish to tell the tale
    Of where I began and from whence this city has chased me
    I am part of this city liquid and warm
    full of vibrant complexity
    Part of light sound and flow

  97. jakkels

    The long black arteries stretch from the city Pulling in life from the suburbs and country Pulling to the grid of concrete and neons A maze for humanity to stumble around. The vultures of Death perch over the highways Waiting for fools to speed dance down tarmac To claim other innocents in a steel dance of death. In the grubby side alleys where rust and grime rule goblins sell potions that pleasure then kill some are like snake bite and others disease But all strip your humanity and leave you with sleeze In the tenaments and hoods where the doomed are led to ignorarce and selfishness and hate are the kings cocKroaches of death revel in the pain and despair In the stately wide streets all is bustle and noise As the insects of ihe city follow patterns of rote concrete caves of commercialism hold the alters they serve degredation humiliation boredom and strife parasites that suck then of all meaning to life. In the suburbs that cringe at the City’s skirts boxes with lawns and trees ape the countryside beyond In their schools and congregations new rules ore learned commercialization alienation rights that are wrong science is religion and self is the God Rats in a cage to feed the snake of the City Death feeds on youth and pickings are good.

  98. Khara House

    City rag

    The city never sleeps, never sleeps,
    is a trombone blast by day keeping all souls
    marching in perfect cadence—is a panther,
    a panther by night, every street a glistening tail
    and cars just tics and flies to plague those streets,
    race those streets, suck those streets dry by night,
    the night where no one sleeps, all breath is life
    in the street lights, all eyes are moons in the city,
    every hum every radio sizzle a sign that life goes on
    even when the waking eyes think they dream—
    but dreams keep the city streets awake,
    always moving, wanting, longing, stretching,
    stretching out for the more and more
    the city is the more and more or less the everything—
    the dream and the waking, the last breath taken
    before the deep plunge into the street lamp glowing
    blue and fire onto concrete—the city is a jungle,
    is a riot, a jazz ensemble chirping ‘til the rising sun
    hits the city—here we go again, it never dies.

  99. FaerieTalePoet

    Pacific, Ave. Santa Cruz, CA aka the Vortex

    In downtown Santa Cruz there is a street called Pacific Ave., on this street you can find the following:
    A man all dolled up in pink, from head to toe, holding a parasol taking the daintiest steps you ever did see.
    College students stumbling drunk after a late night at the bar, hoping to catch the last 16 Laurel East back to campus.
    The balloon man, in a bowler hat, he can actually make just about anything, not just poodles and giraffes like your typical party clown.
    A bus station, where the heroin addicts hang out, searching for their next fix, one of them wears a black duster and carries a kitten on his shoulder.
    A professor who lost his tenure and carries a guitar, he will talk to you for a half hour without letting you get a word in edgewise.
    It was once home to the Wired Wash Café the only Laundromat ever to host its own poetry reading.
    A man decked out in orange, even his face is covered, singing love songs in baritone.
    The Saturn where you can get the best damn vegan milkshakes you’ve ever tasted. And when you use the bathroom you get to choose whether you’re an alien or a robot. I always chose alien when the key was available, because robots don’t have feelings.
    A girl called Bunny who paints herself and stands statue still, her blonde hair glistening in the sun.
    A circle where poets hang around sharing spoken word, with people who have never even heard of a slam.
    An expatriate New York Jew who talks so loud you can hear him two storefronts away.
    Representatives of various charity organizations, who corner tourists and beg for donations.
    The puppet man who carries his own stage, where Ernie and Bert, take digs at the Bush administration.
    Any number of people you could call homeless: some muttering or shouting, one who will only accept vegan food, another who passes out paper flowers even if you don’t give him money, one who jokes about peeing his pants, some holding signs with catchy phrases. They are there day or night, they aren’t truly homeless, Pacific Ave. is their home.

  100. gmagrady


    Prairie of Potawatomi pride
    Discovery of Domingan and du Sable
    A Fort on the river

    Blood of the Black Hawk Wars
    Ashes of the great conflagration
    Second and windy

    Hub to railroads
    Liar to immigrant dreams
    The White City

    Home of Hull House
    Riots of Haymarket Square
    The Jungle

    The Race Riots
    The White Sox
    The Black Sox

    Wrigley Field curses
    Super Bowl Sweetness
    Three-peat, Three-peat Bulls


    Skyscrapers and projects
    Gardens and ghettos
    Limos and Cabs and buses and bikes
    The El

    Gourmet and comforting
    Irish, Italian, Mexican, Polish,
    Asian, Ukranian, German,
    Jamaican, Ethiopian, Puerto Rican…


  101. TomNeal

    A City Love Song

    The boulevards of Paris,
    The districts of Seville,
    And the fountains of Rome,
    Are mimicked in K.C.,
    A city that does not love
    Its own– a place ashamed
    Of its midwestern roots,
    An imitation
    Of some other place,
    A sophistication
    Borrowed from East and left.
    Kansas City I loved you,
    But you expated me.

  102. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    When I Went Back to Melbourne

    When I went back to Melbourne,
    I was surprised by trees
    greening the railway embankments
    and the city streets.

    The wide, sunlit Yarra shone
    under new bridges and old.

    Then I strolled around Pascoe Vale,
    delighted by roses —
    thick, old bushes, well established.

    How had I forgotten them
    in the intervening years?

    My nearest family and oldest friends
    live in Melbourne. Good to spend time
    with them. Good to see them happy.

    “I’m afraid you’ll move back,”
    said a friend from here.

    I texted her from the midst of Melbourne traffic,
    as I snuggled into a shawl against the cold
    (at the beginning of summer).
    “Not a chance,” I said.

    Still, it’s nice to visit.

  103. lshannon

    Metropolis of Contradictions

    The hum and bustle
    white noise to my chaos.
    Options and opportunity,
    art and angles.

    Each corner of glass and steel
    a reflection of speed
    fast and hard lines, time
    rushing and standing still.

    Cold and crazy colors
    but vibrant, great, gray
    concrete spaces in
    an anonymous peace

    Crowds of everyone and no one.

  104. msmacs3m

    PAD Day 12
    City Haikus
    by Sandy McCulloch

    Yellow dots dart
    Along a black crisscross grid
    Red Tailed Hawk’s view

    Whose wide streets these are
    I think I know: his house is
    in the country though.

    Shadows created
    High rise steel and glass reflect
    Sun meant for the ground.

  105. gmagrady

    A friend can laugh but keep the story
    of silly stupors, on tangents we’d go,
    in all our glitz and youthful glory
    we’d blend with stars and steal the show.
    And if one traveled too close to the sun,
    the other reminded, it’s all in fun.

    But, no! You’re so much more than fun!
    You filled a void both wide and deep.
    A pressure valve released, I’d run
    to magical trances on your streets.
    For life, at times, we could not bear;
    we needed a place and people to share.

    Ah, yes! You were the place I’d share
    with those who needed serenity, too.
    Together we rambled, a nightly affair,
    until we had to pay our due.
    When daybreak brought us back to woe,
    this city was both my friend and foe!

  106. rebrog


    A small crowd rummages through piles of clothes.
    Pale sunshine. Tiny leaves froth the trees on Park.

    The woman who just marched purposefully south,
    just marched purposefully north with coffee.

    Last evening I saw blood-orange strata form and deepen
    over the glass and concrete turrets of downtown.

    Planes lifted their noses into the sky above Mount St. Helens
    great steel birds going somewhere else.

    Risky to fall for a city this late in the game
    amorphous concept, won’t love me back.

    Fizz of connections, disparate dreams and engineering
    six hundred thousand bodies their laughter, their waste

    and the river, bearing so much weight.
    snaking under the bridges as if unbroken.

    REBROG 4/12/2014

  107. matthew

    I grew up on the East Side

    The right side of the tracks
    But the wrong side of the river
    I was born at St. Charles of no mercy
    I went to Sacred Heart elementary school
    Dearborn and Cutter streets I remember
    Prang’s candy store the Craig bridge
    Ravine park pool and the union76 station
    Not to mention the Sports Arena
    There isn’t even a crater in the to mark
    Some of these places and all that
    Is left of the Toledo I grew up in is
    The Paris Night Club
    Where I was the king of M&M’s

  108. Shennon

    How you tempted and amused me
    How you lured me away
    How you stole my innocence
    How you wanted me to stay

    I couldn’t wait to leave you
    I hated you, I hated them
    A wasted year is what I thought
    Elle me manque quand même


  109. C.

    A rose pedaled dress
    Stairs down to the streets
    A city full of life, buzzing
    Lights flashing slowly digress
    Tumbling red
    She can see herself falling
    Penguins not noticing
    Like car heads, bobbling
    Only blackened gowns
    In mirrors, once were hungry
    Red rose somehow wilted here
    In city Night turned Winter’s flesh
    But now in the dark are gargling
    No more her friends laughing
    What did she do to deserve
    This death?
    A horrible choice
    One night, one gigantic mess
    Tangled up always
    In the wrong bed
    Led back to her head
    Backward in years
    Where cruel hands bled
    And the city filled regret
    Fed that monster
    She cried out
    Please tell me, it’s done
    Please tell me
    That’s game, set.

  110. Renada Styles

    That’s Progress, I Suppose

    We can’t seem to find
    The way around
    These one-way roads

    Turning here,
    Turning left

    We wait
    For the signal
    And cross the pavement

    Jostled and cramped
    Like toy soldiers
    In suits

    We make it to the greyer side

    That’s progress
    I suppose

    Keeping our noses
    To the cement,
    Raised collars
    Shield our voices

    It’s a hurried
    Rush, rush, hush

    Forward I flow
    Never looking aside
    Let’s make it on time

    Not knowing faces
    Not even voices

    That’s progress
    I suppose

    Like berated by a switch
    Noses to the ground
    Stiffly filing away
    This life we have

    One-ways are crowded
    With the fog
    Of congested failure

    While we hurry
    To the blockade
    Of promotion

    Fists pocketed deep

    That’s progress
    I suppose

  111. shellcook

    Purple skies over St. Mark’s Square,
    burning into deepest blue,
    While violins sing the sweetest songs.
    From dueling cafés, singing waiters apply
    an invitation to sit and to drink,
    And to call the night sky in.
    To call the night sky in.

    Croatian choirs open wide the night,
    Their chorus sung in the round.
    Surely god has brought us here this night.
    to dance on holy ground.

    While strings stir my soaring heart,
    I notice my feet,
    My dancing feet,
    on the pavers beneath
    my keds.

    They stop and they start with each bright tune.
    Waiting this waltz to dance.

    Of gondolier smiles, and sommelier wiles,
    they teach the rhythms and the pace,
    Where I can walk in st. Marks square,
    Shoulder to foreman and hip to thigh,
    My Beloved and I, with love, if not with grace.

    Ah, Venice, with lighted ease we sigh,
    The stories that bridge could tell.

    Of death, without mercy,
    And heads set on pikes,
    For nothing more than we do this night.

    We might have fought a long hopeless fight,
    to love and be loved in St. Marks Square.
    Within the origin of this deep blue night.

  112. Astrid Egger

    Old Quebec City – Le Vieux Quebec

    Close call
    with a horse-drawn carriage –
    the horse wears a diaper

    Old fortification wall
    even the masonry
    shows French and English origins

    Descent in the funicular
    45 degrees
    a steep learning curve

    Snow on cobblestones
    steeped in tradition
    she sips jasmine tea

  113. encrerouge

    Viciously observed cobblestones
    a high-end tired, the sigh back fires
    labels of translucent fault conquer
    redefining the tries of task expressions
    on a objected pavement, an eternal receiver
    of stepping strengths and orchid choruses

    corrosive growth measures, for the people
    by the whispers of a collective ambivalence

    a heel trapped in the same places where muck
    painted over cigarettes remnants, made the mind pluck
    the discarded by the air and toes, and yet we dance
    on the Old City, aggressively insistent to manage
    new wheels on clicks that echo irony.

  114. Kit Cooley

    Buffer Zone

    The city finally wore me down,
    with all the crowd and hustle,
    fighting for a space to park,
    smelling every greasy meal
    my neighbor cooked,
    listening to each argument
    escalate, my muscles tight,
    shoulders to my ears as if
    that would shut out the sound,
    and somehow keep me safe.

    I made my escape. Out of town,
    down the road, up a mountain —
    not idyllic, but more peace,
    not less work, but more room
    for dreams and breathing,
    and my body is less rigid,
    flexing to fill the open air
    that surrounds me now.
    I can choose who shares
    my space, no in my face
    confrontations on the street.

    At times I miss the cafe scene,
    bookstores every other block,
    museums and art galleries,
    a quick trip to the corner store.
    The pleasant hours spent
    in conversations with my friends,
    the problems of the world solved
    over drinks in some dive. Dancing
    the night away. Younger days,
    perhaps I can visit sometime.

    ~ Kit Cooley

    (Just a start; I think it needs more work.)

  115. SestinaNia

    Well, since it’s my birthday and I love sestinas, I decided to use today’s prompt and write one :)

    An Epitaph for the City of Jasmine

    Do you grow weary, oh Damascus?
    Has the weight of history become a stone
    around your feet, can you train
    yourself to walk so encumbered, or do you bottle
    up the centuries of bloodshed, let them cloud
    your vision—does heaviness blaze orange?

    A young man in the market proffers an orange
    and I take it, peeling off the rind as I wander through Damascus.
    Heat tickles my neck and I look for a cloud
    to take refuge under, but the only shadows are stone
    edifices from long ago. Maybe I’ll bottle
    Fijeh’s waters and catch the first train

    out of the desert. Here, where zealots train
    to defend a mosaic of faiths, the sunset burns orange,
    and I am drunk on mystery, leaving my wine bottle
    full. Embedded in foothills and under a rain shadow, Damascus
    eternally blooms, like jasmine out of dead stone,
    to release it’s fragrance into the Mediterranean cloud.

    Beside the parched riverbank, I linger as memory spreads a cloud
    over my smile. I see empty windows on the train
    instead of your face—but I could never move stone.
    So here, in this caravan city, I will find a scarf of orange
    silk to console myself and Damascus,
    who has saved her own tears in a bottle.

    Pour out the River Barda from this bottle—
    there is no rain found in the lonely cloud
    that hovers over Alexander’s prize—Damascus
    could give lessons on survival, could train
    others how to outlast even the sun’s orange
    rays when the world at last is cold stone.

    Let me remove this stone
    from around your neck, take the bottle
    and feed you segments of orange.
    I will squeeze a river from this cloud
    that shrouds us, I will make it a train
    on the wedding dress we gift to Damascus.

    Chip from stone the memory of cloud—
    stuff history into a bottle, buy a ticket for the night train
    that will rent an orange trail as it hurdles away from Damascus.

  116. kkalexander

    Writer’s Block City

    What are you able to wield with your words?
    Characters, countrysides, comments absurd?
    Walls may keep wailing and weighing you down,
    But I can be happy just writing, I’ve found.

    If the vowels be vocal, the consonants flow,
    I can establish a city, you know:
    A church and a shop and a town hall beside,
    And a bus stop as well where the people may ride.

    Great is the station where neighbors may meet,
    Sharing their stories and gath’ring to eat.
    And living out loud in an orderly way
    To work, wend and worship, safe as they pray.

    Phrases as scaffolding, fastened by form
    Structured by meter to weather each storm,
    To see every syllable conjuring scenes:
    A boisterous nun with a gaggle of teens,

    An elderly man with his hat in his hand,
    A tip jar in front of a one-member band,
    A mail truck, a lamppost, and flowers in bloom
    ‘Round fountains that gurgle and cars that go vroom.

    Yet as I write it, I see it anew:
    A dog drags a girl by and changes the view.
    But as long as I live, and where’er I may write
    The streets of my town dance with dappled sunlight.

  117. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Whether it is a city,
    A dusty old town,
    In the daily nitty gritty,
    Inside a castle, under a crown!

    Our human body and mind,
    Needs good safe protection,
    Food, water, a friend to find,
    Kindness, respect and affection!

    Yet what of comfort,
    That is consistently there,
    Housing strong like a fort,
    Or with others who care!

    Unexpected things can hit us,
    Just when we’ve found our place,
    Like a high speed reckless bus,
    Knocking us out of our space!

    We can enter our heart,
    And find what is sacred,
    It is a really good start,
    Stopping what has outwardly bled.

    If our table,
    Perhaps our couch,
    Isn’t so stable,
    Our world just says, “Ouch”!

    We can always go within,
    Guided by faith and love,
    A place to begin,
    What life is made of!

    Whether we meditate,
    Or quietly pray,
    It helps to contemplate,
    Every day!

    No matter where you live or how,
    Everything for each is right,
    Let your love and gratitude show . . .

    Open it up, day and night!

  118. PKP

    The City That Never Sleeps

    Sometimes in the depth of night,
    I swear on all sacred, an apparition
    soars in the lyric limbo between all
    that was and what is still to be – –
    There – in shining sinuous streets
    whispers a chant, a magic moment
    where the spirit of nigh three thousand
    gather, and catch one by the wrists – –
    To bear witness
    as, for an instant the gaudy, garish,
    ghoulish tumble of shredded papers
    spins as inchoate confetti of that bright
    September morn whirling the heinous –
    mystic maelstrom, each to melt into slivers
    of shimmer, delicate and irrevocably shattered
    as a single porcelain angel falling farther than
    one hundred floors – from sparkling shimmers
    rises a drawn breath exhaled in tinkled peals as
    pure as a newborn infant coalesced into a collective
    chorus distilled to a single singing soul –
    as this apparition rises in celestial song to illuminate
    the night – of the city that never sleeps–floating above
    in opened armed embrace – before with a smoky sigh
    filamented tender arms reach deeply into the moonlit sky

  119. GirlGriot

    Still on hiatus from the prompts, still processing the family tree discoveries of the last couple of days.

    If I reach
    far enough back
    I have no more names.
    A gender.
    A noted “M”
    only sign of rape
    I am the crowd,
    anonymous, blank.

  120. susanjer

    The City of Subdued Excitement

    is the nom de plume for the place I live.
    A place that prides itself on infrequent use
    of the automobile horn to rouse
    a distracted fellow driver from a state of reverie
    or to convey exasperation at the traffic lights.

    A place where, despite a preponderance
    of cloudy skies, discouraging words are seldom heard.
    And, where, after too many sunny days
    the citizens talk nostalgically about rain
    like an absent family member and remark
    how the gardens and everyone
    will feel better when things are back to normal.

    Isn’t it quite enough excitement to hear
    the triple blast of the ferry on Friday evening
    as it slides out of port headed for the Inner Passage.
    After all, come next Friday it will be back again.

  121. Bucky Ignatius


    Give me a choice
    between city and woods,
    I’ll take both. Urbanity
    to use as needed, wash

    on the line, Ma in the mammock.
    Tinnitus from rock & roll
    days supplies enough
    crickets and frogs to drown

    the diesels rumbling
    the truck route below
    the bedroom window.
    Big old frame house

    with a double-wide garden
    stocked with snakes and such
    for the grandsons. Nary
    a blade of grass to mow.

    Plenty of nearby places to eat,
    drink, hear some sounds. Two
    million people I never see,
    Cincinnati works for me.

    Bucky Ignatius

  122. Pengame30


    The big apple, bright and crisp on the outside,
    but bite too deep, and you may end up with brown teeth.
    People flock from beyond the seas, to take pictures, and blog
    about things that are daily routine.
    Teenagers hurriedly stuff knapsacks, and trek across the continent,
    in order to witness the fast paced scenery.
    Time waits for no-one in this city.
    Blink twice and you’ve probably missed the whole movie,
    and new year’s comes like a thief in the night.
    On Friday nights, liquor stores thrive, and stay open late,
    hoping you’ll buy that extra bottle of Henny.
    Street walkers swivel hips to get one inch closer to bliss.
    And considering all of this,
    New York City will always be the most horrible, amazing city to ever exist.

    Written By: Sean Drew

  123. smdnyc

    Des Moines (in two haiku)

    Storms here. Quarter-size hail.
    Dad says the weather lady
    has gotten fat. I

    drink a glass of port
    and let the insults fly by;
    black is my black eye

  124. Scott Jacobson


    Look at those sewer rats! They can drag
    a slice of pizza for miles. You stumbled
    into the wrong side of the tower and got
    mugged at sword point, losing your
    camera and all the evidence that it was
    Lancelot. You can never trust the police,
    all that body armor gets in the way of feelings.
    King Arthur is too busy reading romances
    about himself so doesn’t care about
    what Lancelot does to you or Guinevere
    as long as you pay your taxes. Merlin
    won’t help because he is out fracking
    to get the natural gas he needs to create
    dragon breath. This entire city is corrupt
    with the notion that only certain people
    act honorably. I am in the dungeon trying
    to make my escape. Even the sewer rats
    know when to take their pizza to the next city.

  125. cdonnelltx@yahoo.com

    I’m afraid I am not very good at this write a poem in a day but here is an attempt.

    San Jose, I Think.

    The streets wind round
    and round
    and round again
    and come out
    somewhere else
    from where
    you thought you were.
    A right hand turn
    should take you
    90 degrees away
    from where
    you were before,
    wouldn’t you think?
    Not in San Jose.
    Just because you
    got off the freeway
    doesn’t mean
    you can get back on
    again – ever.
    Welcome to the streets of San Jose.
    Like mating snakes
    in the heat of summer nights,
    they slither, twist and turn
    into somewhere else.

  126. carolecole66

    City Girl

    “City slicker,” my cousin taunted, legs dangling
    from the apple tree in grandmother’s chicken yard.
    My heart not in it, I retorted “country bumpkin,”
    just to keep from being ground into the hard-packed
    earth. I longed to be one of the pack of kids
    that spent their summers in the fields, picking corn,
    mowing hay, and raising hogs but I wore shiny
    Mary Janes and rode my bike through city streets,
    swam at country clubs and wore pig tails. His jeers
    repeated in my head and followed me: “You don’t
    belong here, city girl.” Years passed and I
    tried country living, planted gardens, watched the corn
    grow, followed hard-packed lanes back to abandoned
    stripper pits to swim. I’d sit up nights and listen
    to a silence deep enough to drown in. I dreamed
    of Mary Janes, of lights that burned all night, of cop
    cars flashing blue and red. “You don’t belong,” I realized.
    The heat and lights and noise, the slick asphalt
    beneath my feet, that was peace, that was really home.


  127. Joseph Harker

    NYC Conquests as Metaphorical Map

    Consider each neighborhood where I’ve spilled
    my seed. I begin to envision the city as orchard
    strewn with poor decisions turned to trees.
    In Chelsea, I shared stoned Morello cherries
    by the Piers. Their black-bloodedness gathered
    and made ink with which I could write my fears.
    Harlem splintered its grapevines to make
    manacles and chains. When I left the West Village,
    the stunted Meyer lemon blew out its brains.
    And in the East, I scattered investments
    rather more exotic: Java plum, green cardamom,
    my endowment tending toward the invasive erotic.
    Piled up behind a rented Chinatown tenement,
    fig leaves rot. In Gramercy, too, I bought
    barren plums, I gave up as good as I got.
    And lately I’ve shot out my cypsela to the matter
    separated by water. Groves begin to sprout
    pears and persimmons east of the East River.
    Good farmers leave at least some fields fallow:
    but I can’t. Good cities offer dark earth throughout,
    walkable, firm. Warm and moist. Ready to plant.

  128. elishevasmom

    Never Say Never

    I grew up in the country–in
    an antique stone
    Pennsylvania farmhouse.
    When we moved there,
    the nearest house
    in one direction,
    about half a mile– a
    little less in the other.

    By the time we moved from there
    thirteen years later,
    it was built up to
    fancy suburbs.

    Two moves afterward, we were
    still in different suburbias.
    My dad worked for a company
    that built
    garden apartments.
    My mom, ever the accomplished
    seamstress did the interior dècore
    of the sample apartment.

    When we went to
    admire her handiwork,
    I clearly recall saying,
    “This is nice, but I will
    never live in an apartment–and
    never in a city.”

    Since I’ve moved
    away on my own–
    I have never lived
    anywhere else.

    Ellen Evans

  129. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Born on the California coast in Santa Cruz,
    A sweet little beach town with nothing to lose!

    To Reno, Nevada for college, marriage and family,
    Near Lake Tahoe, what a great place to be!

    Las Vegas was next and one of a kind,
    A house by the lake was a good find!

    Onto Laguna Beach; a fancy crowd,
    Everyday sunshine, no rain in SoCal allowed.

    A move to the Hawaiian Islands on Kauai,
    After rain every day, we wondered why!

    Back and forth to Santa Cruz, Lake Tahoe and Denver driving,
    Dad was ill and we had a grandson arriving!

    Grandson was born and Dad died in November,
    Finally by February it was time to remember!

    New housing was needed, somewhere within reach,
    Only thing mandatory there must be a beach!

    We looked everywhere,
    Truly here and there!

    Following our best navigation,
    Where we’d been before on another vacation!

    We’d attended a positive health conference,
    Integrated medicine was its reference!

    Thinking we’d be able to get our balance right,
    We landed a wonderful condo on the last night!

    Right in La Jolla, a most modern city,
    Where young people are everywhere, fun and witty!

    Buildings are tall and wonderfully new!
    Near a marvelous beach, yes, this will do!

    Here for a year without moving around,
    We landed squarely after getting dizzy . . .

    Going round and round!

  130. Bartholomew Barker

    Sweet Home Chicago

    Down the block from my apartment
    Was a dingy grocery
    Wares stacked to the ceiling
    Aisles too narrow for those
    Of Midwestern “bearing”

    But I loved it
    Being just a short walk away
    And open any hour
    I was likely to need

    There was a small coffee shop
    Just under the El station
    That offered homemade donuts
    For my morning commute
    On the rails to the Loop

    Another block past the El
    Was a vegetarian cafe
    Outdoor seating under city trees
    A fresh harvest transformed
    Into omelets and burritos

    The only place I frequented
    That wasn’t within walking distance
    Delivered stuffed pizzas
    It took ninety minutes
    And was worth every one of them
    Instructing Chicagoans in
    Delayed gratification

  131. Michael Wells

    We’re Not In Kansas

    The city cozies up to the river
    where it grew from the bend
    it took in the boundary
    between Kansas and Missouri.

    There are two of them—
    you might think of them as twin cities,
    but the one on the Kansas side
    is smaller, more insular, more
    like a step-sister. The irony

    is the dominant city
    is in Missouri though it bears
    the name Kansas. A source

    of embarrassment for many
    celebrities and politicians
    not native to the area who tell
    us how wonderful it is
    to be in Kansas.

    People have been busy the last half century
    shaking the cow-town dust off.
    You’ve likely had a greeting card or two
    from KC, and your wallet may have
    a Federal Reserve Bank Note
    that says Kansas City on it.

    We like to think everything is about us
    and really it is… others just have not
    figured this out yet.

    We have major league sports teams
    we’ve won the Super Bowl
    we’ve won the World Series
    most just can’t remember when;
    certainly more recent then
    Chicago Cubs.

    Michael A. Wells

  132. flood

    Your Anonymous Heart

    Flame burned a hole right through your anonymous heart.
    You cherish being overlooked, cherish your lack of freeways.

    Camera crews and curious strangers, always your biggest fears,
    have finally left the village limits and you are able to relax, to rebuild.

    Flame burned a hole right through your anonymous heart,
    a heart fortified with forest timber two centuries ago:

    a heart so sewn with shadows that your most renowned son
    threw himself to the bottom of the sea rather than return.

    You built your monument to him, wept, and nodded approvingly
    (silently, of course) as visitors to his grave soon stopped coming.

    Flame burned a hole right through your anonymous heart,
    left an entire village block tumbling to the fiery ground.

    You sweep away ash, take time to pray – to give thanks that it was not worse.
    You see your heart is ember and rubble. You know it will not always be.

  133. toujourskari

    Oak Ridge

    Teenager in a “C” house
    hiding her true purpose behind
    thick grey sweaters and red schoolboy glasses
    Outsiders asking, “Do you glow in the dark?”
    She wished she could bomb their grins
    splitting uranium and plutonium
    K-25, Y-12, X-10
    The only project about Manhattan she wanted
    was to make a run for it- Manhattan that is
    She found her voice by accident
    Reading voraciously, shut up in her “C” house room
    Like the workers learned of their participation
    in Hiroshima and Nagasaki – after the fact
    Her purpose breathed life
    In a city marked by death and secrets
    She never held it against the place though
    It was home
    The Secret City nestled in the lush green valley

  134. Ashley Marie Egan

    This poem is for Atlanta. I live in Georgia and have many fond memories of ATL. This isn’t my best poem ever, but I think it definitely represents the city I was writing about.

    by Ashley Marie Egan

    The one and only,
    City of Trees,
    The Big Peach,

    It may not be as bright,
    As New York City,
    But in Hotlanta,
    You’ll feel the southern comfort,

    It’s A-Town,
    The ATL,
    Hip hop capital of the world,
    It’s the city too busy to hate,

    Down in the A,
    In the Dogwood City,
    You’re bound to find,

    A city among hills,
    In Atlanta, you’ll find some thrills.

  135. miaokuancha

    April 12, 2014

    Prompt: City


    Visiting again after many years
    I look for the
    bookstores and bus-stops I knew.
    The waterfall clouds on the hills
    of Hsin Dien.
    Listen for the
    Pushcart peddlers
    In the middle of the night.
    Ba dzang! Sieu ba dzang!
    A rainy night is a
    night for
    asking guests to tarry.

    ~ miaokuancha

  136. CLShaffer

    In a Brooklyn Park One Year After 9/11 by C. Lynn Shaffer

    I think of Neil Armstrong
    planting a flag with Earth over his shoulder,
    of people stumbling across landscapes
    here, everywhere, people
    who are no longer home but who in one step
    have arrived on an alien planet with two suns,
    little oxygen, no rain
    but objects turned to poison
    snow that suffocates the lashes,
    the lungs. No rain but bombs of all sorts,
    ties and dresses, people
    falling. Plants won’t grow there
    but grief spreads a smothering kudzu
    as far as an eye can see
    once the grayness clears,
    gray paler than moon-dust,
    as smoke dwelling
    near shards of buildings
    where flags never stop unfurling.

  137. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    Patricia A. Hawkenson’s Day 12 City Poem

    View from the 23rd Floor

    It helps to have
    a wall of glass
    between us
    while lines of traffic blur
    and the night
    claps on the stars.

    After looking down
    on everyone,
    I turn down
    this borrowed bed
    and crawl into
    their dreams.

  138. dandelionwine

    Foils for this City

    I stand with the open moving truck
    down a brick alley flanked by buildings
    that slice the sky into a slim ashen
    ribbon above my head. I am informed
    of drunken men stumbling, that people
    will approach me, that I should hold
    the broom. Instead, I deliberately clutch
    an Annie Sloan chalk paint color card
    and attempt to select a bookcase shade.
    English Yellow? I glance at the time
    and gauge another ten minutes before
    my group comes from the third floor
    with the next load. Voices somewhere
    holler, and English Yellow may be too
    bright. Someone walks down the alley
    toward me. We smile, he passes.
    Country Grey? “This cool soft neutral
    is a great foil for other colors…” More
    people advance. I smile, nod, observe
    the beauty in each visage reflecting light
    singularly from a common source.

    Sara Ramsdell

      1. dandelionwine

        Thank you, Angie. My third grade teacher read us short stories from Bradbury many years ago, and I never thought of my life or words the same way again. Dandelionwine is special in part because it’s a glimpse into Bradbury’s own childhood. :)

  139. Margie Fuston

    In the City at Night

    The windows of the skyscrapers light up
    like promises whispered between lovers.
    Everyone thinks they shine for them alone.

  140. Margie Fuston

    Paradise in the City

    Outside of the Sandy Motel,
    asphalt spreads—broken
    only by thin strands of grass,
    fighting through the cracks
    nobody notices.

    A woman stands in front
    of a Coke machine,
    one hand holding a sheet clamped
    under bare shoulders like a towel,
    oblivious to cars driving by.

    I wonder, if she closes her eyes,
    does the roar of traffic sound like waves?

  141. Jane Shlensky


    The motorcycle darts in from nowhere,
    coming so close Kim lurches to avoid
    being hit. The bike’s passenger grabs
    the strap of her purse across her chest,

    slices it with a razor, pulls it free,
    held high like a trophy as they speed
    away down the crowded streets of Saigon.
    In the small purse was her credit card,

    cash, and passport, all the things
    she should have locked up at the hotel.
    We buy her dinner and let her cry,
    shocked, ashamed, and angry.

    The pair of thieves, a man and a woman,
    are good at what they do, no one hurt.
    The whole operation takes ten seconds,
    time enough to clap a light out.

    We each recount times we were victims.
    Same thing happened to me in Rome,
    just the same but one guy on a motorbike,
    razor nicked me, got my passport too.

    Yes, same in London with some students,
    except three guys approached them with knives
    and said Hello, Darlings, give us everything.
    One got ripped off in Cairo on a bus.

    One by one we recall ugly surprises of travel
    in cities all over the world, every culture
    and almost every continent. We’ve been
    careful and lucky to travel so much.

    You’d expect that in Rome, says Kim,
    all those stray cats, or those other places.
    These are such nice people, and Buddhist!
    Motor theft just seems more European.

    We laugh. It’s the down side of city dwelling.
    Could be anywhere. Debbie’s been robbed at home.
    Amy ripped off in a market with her money in her bra.
    My neighbors robbed me, not once but twice.

    It’s more about the human condition and less
    about geography, we decide. Kim weeps no more.
    We’ve told stories and laughed for hours of being
    criminally relieved of currency at home and abroad.

    We order more beer and discuss what makes
    crime prosper in cities. I claim it’s lack of trees.
    Face it, we travel other people’s streets just to see,
    knowing we can go home, lock up, eat in.

  142. beale.alexis

    *Reposting because their were errors in my last post.


    Is unheard of in the city,
    even on the roof
    of the most extravagant apartments.
    You’d think that the distance
    between the sky and ground
    would be enough to erase
    the chaos, but the city never
    sleeps. At midnight the energy
    is at its peak. The streets are filled
    with people moving
    to their next place of entertainment.
    At 2am people are beginning to leave;
    the party has died down. The drunk
    girl stumbles home in her
    neon pink skirt and black pumps.
    A piece of chewing gum is stuck
    to her left shoe, causing her to
    lose her balance. At 4am
    the streets are nearly empty.
    The traffic light
    flickers red three times
    before losing power
    and shutting off completely.
    At 7am the repairmen are fixing
    the bulb and replacing it with a new one.
    Life goes on. Taxis are whizzing
    from street to street. The guy sitting
    cross-legged on the street corner is
    playing his guitar for a quick buck.
    Me, standing on the roof
    of my apartment building,
    taking one last drag of my
    cigarette before starting my day.

  143. beale.alexis


    Is unheard of in the city,
    even on the roof
    of the most extravagant apartment.
    You’d think that the distance
    between the sky and ground
    would be enough to erase
    the chaos, but the city never
    sleeps. Midnight the energy
    is at its peak. The streets are filled
    with people moving
    to their next place of entertainment.
    At 2am people are beginning to leave;
    the part has died down. The drunk
    girl stumbles home in her
    neon pink skirt and black pumps.
    A piece of chewing gum is stuck
    to her left shoe, causing her to
    lose her balance. At 4am
    the streets are nearly empty.
    The traffic light
    flickers red three times
    before losing power
    and shutting off completely.
    At 7am the repairmen are fixing
    the bulb and replacing it with a new one.
    Life goes on. Taxis are whizzing
    from street to street. The guy sitting
    cross-legged on the street corner
    playing his guitar for a quick buck.
    Me, standing on the roof
    of my apartment building,
    taking one last drag of my
    cigarette before starting my day.

  144. Gwyvian

    Venetian reverie

    I felt a tug that pulled me to a glimpse of Venice,
    meandering through festivities, drinking in masks to adore,
    my medieval heart kindled by a battle fought with swords,
    and I kept wandering till I was lost somewhere in empty streets—
    in my dreams, I think as I walk, this is a place of decadence,
    a mystical relic of times of thriving, invention, prestige,
    lost as I was walking aside canals, a dream suddenly took hold of me:
    and inside reverie, I found myself embraced by vibrant emptiness…
    the buildings around me groaned with illustrious cloaks of age,
    wisdom seeped up from the bridges that carried me deeper,
    drifting by such detailed monuments of feelings I thought long asleep,
    but in the back alley where no visitor goes, I was struck by change:
    I do not know this place, but it knows me,
    my blood comes alive and sings lover’s songs to the night,
    startling me with shivers of home delight,
    and I know that this is now a part of me: the Venetian reverie…

    April 12, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  145. Kendall A. Bell

    Hoboken, NJ

    You are Weehawken’s less useful cousin now.
    You are big screened televisions and cheap,
    crappy beer on a Friday night. You no longer
    hold the sound of Throwing Muses or Letters
    To Cleo in the tiny, dark room in the back
    of a restaurant on a Wednesday night. You are
    parking garages and Starbucks. You are foot
    traffic for people escaping the claustrophobia
    of the Path train, a brisk walk back to a car.
    You would never impress Frank Sinatra now.

  146. Gwyvian

    Ancient city

    Intrigue runs in rivers red, soaked in soil on which
    the monuments are left standing: odes to passions
    displayed and taunts of faith and betrayals—
    ancient city with a heart still throbbing, the sound
    is mocking of the spawn of heroes thrashing in
    guilty pleasures and constantly struggling against
    no other than themselves… but the blood is still there,
    the grapes are fed and the theater still holds its audience
    mesmerized by a few lines voiced; the lyre still plucks
    to hearts not so different, though the citizens hold
    no swords at each other’s throats – now the blades
    are cloaked with words…

    So we dance as the buildings crumble,
    so the stars shine on us as they always have,
    so the secrets of this place are still buried deep,
    but the ancient city still has a hold on humanity…

    Words were always said in trepidation, though oft
    accompanied by rude laughter, but the guile of our kind
    that infests the ancient city of the dead is eternal,
    and us children are as blind as our parents to the shackles;
    the fire of rekindling is a rare spark among the black sea,
    but sometimes it emerges with startling clarity—
    here a minaret, there an archway overhead, and
    stained glass remarkably unbroken: the voice
    of the ancient city speaks not in humankind’s tongue,
    but it suffers us long and consumes us whole… so
    our blood may thin, our virtues wax and wane, but the
    ancient city will stand long after we each come and go…

    The ancient city has a contract with our souls,
    and it always collects – this city holds reigns and
    sometimes makes them into chains, but above all:
    this city demands respect.

    April 12, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  147. Louise

    Reunion in Detroit

    driving down the highway dodging deep potholes
    I’m reminded that I never liked this city of my birth
    this city made me sick enough to leave sooner than later
    then I check into the hotel and see old friends
    we gather for a joyous reunion
    we sit atop the city in a restaurant in the sky and
    marvel over the city lights and the sunset
    eating gourmet food and sharing
    thoughtless comments
    and thoughtful ones too
    reminding ourselves from our affluent attitudes
    and circumstances that we are not the ones
    who have lost lives and pensions and property
    because we moved away from the city of bankruptcy
    we were the ones who left when we could
    but what of our sisters and brothers left behind
    we weep for those who made different choices
    who stayed and tried to build while we ran away
    and we move on to other conversations
    because we can

  148. CathyBlogs

    New York. New York.

    City on crack
    pinball city
    city of blinding lights
    camera action
    city insomniac
    city insouciant
    city of mean streets
    hot times
    cool beautiful people
    city of high rises
    urban canyons
    central parks
    sexy city, sprawling city
    new amsterdam
    new year city
    giant city, yankee city
    island city
    city of dreams
    anything but
    ordinary city
    city of stories,
    crime in the city,
    power city, bull and bear city
    city of millions
    city of immigrants
    boroughs avenues
    subway city subterranean city —

    City of Ground Zero
    who prays for you, city?

    by Cathy Dee writing at CathyBlogs.com

  149. lionetravail

    “He Looks Around”
    by David M. Hoenig

    During his first day in the big city,
    he’s only minutes off the bus
    when he’s seen someone to pity.

    She’s toothless, humming some ditty
    through gums dripping pus
    during his first day in the big city.

    He tries to imagine her daily nitty and gritty
    but is distracted by details too anomalous
    when he’s seen someone to pity.

    She pushes a cart which is rickety
    and murmurs stream of consciousness
    during his first day in the big city.

    He has second thoughts, these less giddy
    than imagined success, and more ominous,
    when he’s seen someone to pity.

    If he had a return ticket, he’d be sitting pretty,
    because he’s got capital shock in the state of Nonplus
    during his first day in the city,
    when he’s seen someone to pity.

  150. bethwk

    Bee Tanka
    by Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider

    Enter their city
    without fear, with a pure heart.
    You must become light,
    become a drop of sunlight
    and whisper in on the breeze.

  151. Cameron Steele


    Air never seemed quite right
    the whole time — that was
    the beauty of it. Drove to the
    top of a Haymarket parking
    deck, looked out across
    the concrete, squinted
    a little to catch the last of
    the sun on iron in the distance,
    a railway bridge to the romantic
    nailed down somewhere inside of me.

    Spent years on those tracks,
    afraid to move, afraid to feel
    a certain slant of light on my wrist.
    Got a scar there now
    but that’s the way of it — living
    never seemed quite right
    until I pushed myself
    to the edge of one city and woke up
    in the middle of another,
    marveling at the weight of the view,
    a midwest sunset muted by clouds,
    the way not-quite-right can look just like home.

    1. BDP

      I’ve always wanted to go to Lincoln, if it’s Nebraska that you’re writing about. You make me want to go there even more. Love: “a railway bridge to the romantic nailed down somewhere inside of me.” The entire poem is nice.

  152. Gwyvian


    The stars are cloaked by globes of light, a pathway
    leading in – or out into dark night, where a myriad of
    twinkles sparkle like twin mirrors above and below:
    in this place in between, I am no one you know,
    an example of isolation – just like you, just like us all…
    once we go closer, melt into the pack, there is the hum,
    the taut feeling of something about to come along,
    perhaps another horde of strangers pressed together
    as though they were all close friends, still:
    even they seek the hidden places, where everyone else
    is absent… they are lonely in the crowd,
    but I think they like it that way sometimes,
    just like I: isolated, but elated to observe from my perch,
    whether a window that looks upon a river of flashing lights,
    or contemplating on a bench in a park to inspire wild fancies,
    and throughout: unused to silence, but entranced
    by the almost silence of the city night; the road is clear, the bustle
    has died down, and through trees rustled by summer’s breeze,
    the lights pool on the pavement beneath my feet,
    and at any moment my reverie is broken,
    by laughter or a word spoken, but most of all
    the call of incessant music, noise and opportunity,
    to do as other individuals do: pose alone with
    a closed expression, broken only when a friend is to hand—
    but I think they prefer that mystery,
    and it only cracks when they dance – that’s my place,
    alone in the crowd, forever moving, because I feel a power
    coursing through me when I am here: that to you
    and everyone else – I am
    just anybody,
    in this city.

    April 12, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

    1. BDP

      From start to finish, one sentence, movement like being jostled in a crowd, but a solitary feeling throughout the reading of the poem as well (the punctuation helps with that). Good job.

  153. peacegirlout

    Vadum Francorum – city and the girl

    Acidious whirl
    Skyscraped monolith
    Varicosed bloodletter
    Brick mortared beauties
    Diasporas displaced and
    Romance cemented
    Hidden in unearthed
    Dust Thirst and Discourse.

    The city’s beat pulses through my veins
    Like fever and ice until the fear of climax
    Edges deep furrows into the bristled
    Canvas of my lovettrafficked corpse.

    In the city I am
    Lost in anonymity
    Accompanied by fast friends and danger
    My gaze lingers on fresh familiar faces
    As the world outside has poured the best
    And worst of all of us into this place I call hell
    And home.

    As I unpack exiled memories anew
    I stare at the light casing of my birthday suit
    Swallowed by the emptiness of pains and aches
    But for a moment
    Courage pushes my sight past scars
    And terrors the way that only one who
    Routinely wrestles alligators can appreciate.

    I have arrived and I wish to tell the tale
    Of where I began and to whence this city has chased me
    I am part of this city liquid and warm full of
    Vibrant complexity
    Part of light sound and flow.

    1. BDP

      Terrific four lines: But for a moment
      Courage pushes my sight past scars
      And terrors the way that only one who
      Routinely wrestles alligators can appreciate.

      A push/pull, love/hate relationship with the city.

  154. Lindy™

    Country Mouse

    No doubt the city is beautiful
    viewed at a distance
    from up above
    especially at night
    So vibrant and full of life
    Busy little fireflies
    chasing down concrete dreams
    stopping to take in
    the occasional sideshow
    Music hopping
    dancers flopping
    friends and lovers
    meeting eachother
    for the first time
    It’s a movie playing
    on the big screen
    as it’s being written
    Coming attractions
    out of the corner of your eye
    It’s quite an entertaining
    black-jack boat show
    You can find anything you want
    at 24-hour Joe’s
    The city is never closed

    I visit, now and again
    but I don’t like to stay
    The hustle-bustle move along
    has never been my prop
    There’s no real life experience
    inside the candy shop
    Middle-of-the-roader soldier
    I like my privacy
    Peace and quiet mostly
    not complete solitude
    I love to create smiles
    As I walk along the miles
    Small town life
    though not care-free
    brings out the best in me
    Manners and civility
    are common ground
    for painting pictures in the clouds
    I hear birds and locusts chirp
    over the cars and trains IN town
    Life still goes on
    there’s things to do
    dreams to catch and ride
    places to go and see
    if you’re into that kind of thing

    Life is much more tender here
    in our laid-back community
    I don’t know why exactly
    it’s just the life we lead

  155. Hannah

    What this City Isn’t

    I stop at the largest, tallest, broadest trees in the city
    place a palm and sometimes even two on their varying bark;
    I love the American Beech on Lincoln Street, deeply…
    she used to be two but arms have embedded and become one,
    in a forever embrace as they reach toward the sky.
    I imagine that beneath the cracked and bulging tar
    that roots entwine intimately in a similar fashion;
    I’ll often lean in and rest my third eye on her surface,
    Her even gray skin is the smoother of my most favorite trees.
    Despite what the fast-passing rush-traveling crowds might think –
    I do this and feel her poignant presence strong and calming;
    she brings an aura of awe and ahhh and I’m renewed.
    This small urban setting is lined with life…street after street,
    as I pulse the paved paths I peer upward and gaze inward,
    I look to these trees as good friends as we breathe.
    Rounding the bend I anchor my eyes on the next one,
    send and receive something significant –
    something magic that sustains me throughout the day
    and I’m brimming with gratitude that this city isn’t treeless.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

    1. Lindy™

      Beautiful! I love the words you’ve chosen to describe the trees from top to bottom and the city with its fast-paced affect. Your poem makes me so glad that your city is not treeless!

  156. lina

    the city next door

    this isn’t the city of anyone’s dreams.
    the streets aren’t plowed in winter,
    and brick mills have fallen into a river
    full of heroin and trash.
    teenage prostitutes walk up and down
    under the bridge.
    on the hill, the clapboard houses collapse.
    even the cars are rusted, missing
    tires, and mirrors.
    down the street from the hospital
    is the Syrian restaurant
    where the man from Aleppo
    sits in the corner
    watching the TV on the wall,
    watching his other city burn.

  157. fahey

    In baseball fields

    I found the empty in the city – a place where sun
    can bake you brown;

    where, while seeking pretty,
    I found a brick-red, crumbled ground;

    a place where quiet
    surprises you lately

    but not in a way you’d find too loud.

  158. Roderick Bates

    (for Jesse Winchester)

    by Roderick Bates

    I don’t actively dislike New York or Boston,
    but as a Vermonter, I’d rather head north for the city.

    Once I’m over the border, I know that any roadside dive
    will bring me a near-fatal mess of poutine,
    and when I cross onto the island,
    I can get cassoulet served like Mass,
    or walk the Main and eat smoked meat
    that will make me want to seek citizenship.

    Canadian ice and snow are no worse than what I have here,
    and the commonsense acceptance of fur as clothing
    makes me feel at home on Rue Sainte-Catherine
    the way I do on the dirt road that winds past
    the house my wife and I built in the Green Mountains.

    But tonight it isn’t the food, or the cathedrals,
    or the raspy voice of Leonard Cohen that draw me north.
    Tonight I hear songs of Mississippi and Tennessee,
    songs about the decent folk in the hills where I sit
    and miss the man who found asylum there.

  159. DCR1986

    Line by Line in the City of Walking

    It is
    Twelve. Nineteen. Thirteen.
    Two hours and fifteen minutes later,
    I met the Silver Line at Logan’s
    and passed by the bay that once consumed tea.
    It is now frozen with moored sailboats and ferries.
    First exit and I look up to read,
    “Welcome to the Home of the Red Sox and Celtics!”

    By a corner of shoveled snow,
    I visited the South Station to purchase
    A Charlie pass to route through the city.
    For minutes, I trailed the Walk of Freedom
    Before meeting the Red Line to Harvard,
    another set of welcome letters,
    spoke freely in bold crimson.
    Here, I taste of sparkling water,
    fresh seafood, spring greens, and crepes
    by the scents of roasted coffee beans.
    Topics by noon:
    Research. Literature. History.

    On Bus 86, I note of the city’s day-to-day blues,
    then chime an exit to Lechmere.
    Before reaching Heath,
    I observed art collections of ancient Egypt to American contemporary,
    Draped tribal patterns and textures,
    Centered pieces of antique gems,
    And walls mounted with frames displaying loud and silent love expressions.

    Then, I noticed the stars peeking through the clouds,
    And the songs stringed through the night:
    The Nutcracker’s anthem
    And We Miss You a Merry Christmas.
    I began to think of home.
    Then, I check-in to my suite.

    In the A.M., the sun and I smiled together.
    Then, I hopped on the Orange Line train.
    From Oak Groove to Forest Hill,
    I realized diversity,
    Studied various graffiti, and chuckled at the images photographed for Vans.
    I snapped a few photos.
    Thought of home.
    Forgot about the Blue.
    Assembled myself to meet the Silver again.

    —-Danielle C. Robinson

  160. Emily Cooper

    Somewhere in the City

    When this poet was young
    and first heard the expression
    “Shining city on a hill”

    (probably on some
    news show that didn’t
    seem important at the time)

    used to describe
    the United States

    (both as an ideal
    and as an already-achieved “state”)

    her very mature reaction was
    “Why are they calling
    a country a city?”

    This writer then
    had a basic grasp
    of metaphor and
    figures of speech

    but the nominal inaccuracy
    was grating.

    Names of things
    places and people are indicative
    of changing biases

    maybe preference
    for scientific classification
    or poetic beauty

    or because all the others
    were taken.

    Sometimes the act of naming
    helps expand our consciousness.
    Sometimes it limits.

    Sometimes it matters
    what category or subdivision
    of Earth you live on.

    Sometimes we’re all
    in this (or on this)

  161. RebekahJ

    I have written a lot of city poems and lived most of my life in cities, so I decided to reverse the prompt and write about the LEAST urban experience I have every had.

    Mojave Memory, 1974

    Dad pulled over and he and Mom and I got out to look
    Out over what I recall as a vast red meteor crater
    Except it can’t have been one of the famous ones
    Because there was no parking lot no building not even any other cars
    All the way up and down the two-lane blacktop
    That ran straight forever
    Splashed with silvery puddles of mirage

    Space opened, swooping down beneath our feet
    And the cloudless sky expanded overhead
    But what I remember most was how it sounded
    A silence so big it roared in our ears
    It’s what you hear if you subtract not only traffic, and voices
    But crickets, and birdsong
    Rustling of leaves river rain
    A nothing that is hugely something
    That held us, vibrating, in the winter sun

    As a mother, now, I look back and wonder
    What were they thinking?
    Driving miles from any town, or even gas station
    And I’m sure they didn’t bring enough water
    Or know much about auto repair
    And what if the car had broken down?
    Cell phones not even dreamt of

    But then I see again how young they were then
    Mom in her green & white flowered mini-dress
    Dad slim in t-shirt and black jeans
    And I think, after all that happened later
    I am glad we had that moment
    When we stood, all three, so still
    And felt the warm fullness at the center of the world

    Kimberly Gladman Jackson

  162. lionetravail

    “He Has No Shoes For Me To Walk In”
    by David M. Hoenig

    I leave the restaurant, already into summer’s heat,
    and see the brown child, sitting on baked, brown street

    He’s naked, muddy, sprawled by his mother
    who sits, closed off and clothed in dusty colors

    I am colorless; he does not react furiously
    as he sprawls beneath sun, incuriously

    There is a wide world, and wider gulf between us
    his choices bound, while mine still seem so limitless

    I have been cast upon the Sargasso of Humanity in New Delhi
    He has been caste upon the Sargasso of Humanity in New Delhi

    1. BDP

      A Sargasso in New Delhi–yes. You have images of closeness and yet a distance that can’t be crossed. You with shoes, the child without. Lives so different, yet next to each other at this one moment.

      1. lionetravail

        Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Experienced this exact scene 2 days ago, and it was so powerful a dichotomy that it’s kept recurring. When i saw the prompt, it began to all boil up demanding to be expressed- I’m still not sure I did it the justice it deserves.

  163. barton smock

    -the mind has its place-

    I pour soup into my father’s mouth so he can find his teeth. when he passes out I tell the carolers he’s gone to the city for a blindfold. my girlfriend likes it when I send people away. I was born there.

  164. BDP

    It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

    –Opening line of Nineteen Eight Four


    “Leningrad, December 1972”

    Its soul white-washed, the hermitage and luxury
    for Party clan and visitors. Bleak way past rain,
    the hint of KGB. A bus of students, plain
    with Midwest talk, we got our fill of doublespeak.
    Young Communists, they called themselves. Join up, you’ll see!
    Intourist shepherded, guest rooms had ears, a man
    said so, a whisper to us by the lift. Plan
    became escape for Don and me. This tram, that street.

    Cabrini-Green, USSR style, lights swung low:
    three generations, shared apartment, rooms too small.
    How do you live? they asked. Food, cars, jeans, your own house?
    The Thought Police might stop by any moment now.
    Next day we’re spectators at ornate city hall:
    rows on rows, bride/grooms, one official, love en masse.

    –Barb Peters

  165. Amaria

    I decided to try something different: Haiku

    Here are 4 short ones entitled “Old San Juan”

    I can see waters
    from outside my balcony
    It’s a lovely sight

    Colorful buildings
    greet me as I stroll the streets
    I wish I lived here.

    Scent of mofongo
    fills up my hungry nostrils
    It tastes wonderful

    I hear Salsa music
    inviting my hips to dance
    My heart is smiling

  166. Phil Boiarski

    Her origami master
    lives on the edge of
    a neighborhood that’s
    gentrifying. When we
    go to visit, the young men
    on the street glare at us,
    but we avoid their eyes.

    The crane fold is a basic
    fold and many folds
    begin the way the crane
    begins, so we always
    begin with a crane,
    the ply and reply
    and reverse
    and refold
    as precise
    as possible.

    Once, when we
    were making a swirl
    of cranes, a miniature
    cyclone of flying cranes
    on strings suspended
    from the ceiling
    shots rang out
    in the silence.
    a crane does.

    We found out
    later that a young
    man was killed while
    the cranes filled the room.

  167. jean2dubois

    by Jean Dubois

    I can remember
    when Denver was magic
    Mom’d take us to the Denver Dry
    to ride the escalator and then
    up the street to Daniels and Fisher
    up to the top of the tower
    see the city and the blue mountains beyond it
    spread out below us
    and we’d lean out over the parapet and
    watch folks walking along the sidewalks
    one inch tall

    and then we’d go down to City Park and
    play on the green grass there
    running and jumping and turning summersaults
    while Mom sat at a picnic table and talked to the other mothers

    some years ago
    I revisited these adventures
    went to all the same places
    did all the same things
    except the summersaults
    except that Mom wasn’t with me
    and it seemed the same


  168. LizMac


    Dreaming spires rising serenely with the new sun
    Reminding a future throbbing with expectancy
    Of the present past, its shaping spirit
    Whispering through old stones unheard, watching patiently
    The repetition, old impulses, expressing in new patterns
    Rushing, too busy to notice, past.

  169. Sharon Ann

    Finding Peace in the Chaos

    I choose the valet parking with the street musicians in view.
    I hear the honk, honk of my car horn as it is taken up the winding path to a spot.
    Pushing the door with my left, tucking my ticket with my right, I exit to the sound of percussion.
    Passersby take me along in their path, two blocks over and under the elevated train.
    I pull my collar up closer to my chin.
    As I walk on, the percussion fades, more startling sounds begin.
    Engines idling at the lights. Horns of impatient drivers. Whistles of policemen amid chaos.
    A bus leaves the curb blowing warm exhaust in my face.
    I am crossing now in the view of the two concrete lions guarding their door.
    I turn past them, pushing into the wind, colder here near the lake.
    I move quickly past the fountain, across the street and down the stairs.
    This is where the world changes.
    The lake stretches ahead to the end of the earth, lapping against the deck at its shore.
    I find a place along the walkway, lowering myself to the hard surface, I finally breathe.
    Setting my bag to the side, leaning back on my hands, the city sounds subside.
    I breathe in the lake air and listen to the gentle sounds of the water, gulls overhead.
    Serenity returns.
    I am peaceful here.

  170. uneven steven

    everyday we walk
    the same city streets
    past the same abandoned alleys,
    on this day she insists we stop –
    for my 11 year old daughter understanding
    comes on one day old kitten paws
    kneading and mewling and blind to all else
    but hunger and warmth
    every three hours the rough tongue
    of her damp cloth
    needed to stimulate the kitten to piss and defecate
    before and after every feeding
    the pin prick claws of conscience and insistent
    crying waking her to the sheer amount of life it takes
    to sustain one small life,
    the quick calculation of the number of alleys by the
    number of neighborhoods
    and the great city mother once again on the news
    boozy and bleary eyed and putting on make up
    for the next big gala event and boardroom meeting
    and if she will not be the city’s mother who will be?

  171. brandonspeck

    The City Heat at 19
    (after Brian S. Ellis)

    I would end up waking up at 1pm
    to the music from the DVD menu of The Big Lebowski
    for the third time in a row.
    I was too young to get those jackhammer hangovers
    that I wake up next to these days.

    This was the last summer in the city I grew up in.
    I still had yet to learn growing up
    after the girl I first loved grew out of me,
    so I spent July with Jen, chasing forty ounce bottles
    always ending up on her couch
    soaked in the city heat.

    Those were my last moments of learning to be tinder
    as I grew into a fire that would eventually
    engulf my early twenties and spread across the West Coast.
    Jen always asked me to come over for a euphemism;
    we “watched movies” only she didn’t own any DVD’s.
    The only DVD’s I owned at the time
    were the first three seasons of Seinfeld,
    an assortment of Adult Swim cartoons, and
    The 10th Anniversary edition of The Big Lebowski.
    Jen always chose the lesser of the 19 year old boy evils.

    We spent the dry minutes in the city
    asking people we considered adults to buy us beer.
    They call this city Denver, where we learned to drink at altitude.
    I couldn’t hold my liquor any better than I held
    Jen’s shaky hand. She knew where I’d be come September.

    I always tried to catch the bus
    that left at 12:42 in the afternoon
    I always ended up walking home
    and I would sweat out the rest of my alcohol.
    It was always 12:43 in her apartment
    and she was the last kiss of my teenage years.
    We would make out in the park until late hours
    like I didn’t have packed bags waiting for me at home.

    this city has an oxygen problem,
    perched higher than the distance
    between her house and the corner store.
    I’d wander down the street I was born on,
    doing nothing in particular.
    I tried putting stickers painted with my alias
    on all the streets I ended up wandering.
    Store owners and city cleaners eventually peeled them off
    and the vinyl would melt in the summer sun
    and would eventually become other cities.

    I was empty heat.
    not even an entire city
    could fill me.

  172. GarrinJost

    breathe in breathed air
    the calling on the subway
    “I am in need”
    expected ignorance
    eyes avert
    every flower defiant
    unified weather
    the city-wide rain
    the edifices!
    grand untouchables
    a face
    the same face
    over and over
    the same walk
    day in and day
    origin of trash
    food cooked
    food wasted
    the tricks and lies
    trust is dying
    moving past but not looking
    only looking out for-
    meeting a person
    not caring
    knowing the face
    and still not caring
    quiet winter death
    the retreat of the home
    the sigh and the shoes off
    the noise that creeps in
    like bugs, Christ!
    like bugs.
    the same face
    God, the same face
    drunk, wet eyes
    perfect daughter beside
    calling out
    “I need help”
    I can’t help-
    I have that face,
    I have that silent call
    I am only trying to breathe
    I can’t breathe
    God, I can’t breathe here
    I need help.

  173. Julieann

    The Slumbering City Rises

    The sun takes its time rising on the scene
    Barely illuminating street cars
    Carrying passengers into the city to their jobs
    In the distance can be heard creaking wheels
    On horse drawn wagons, their drivers announcing
    “Fresh fish for sale! Fresh eggs for sale!”

    Abruptly the sun clears the tall skyscrapers
    Revealing proprietors hurrying down the walk
    Toward their shops, hailing those they know
    Along the route, while some stop to get a cup of “Joe”
    From the corner vendor
    Anxiously anticipating their morning pick-me-up

    Almost sickeningly sweet fragrances
    Emanate from bakeries whose workers have
    Been busy since way before dawn, working up
    Mouthwatering doughnuts and pastries
    While customers line up around the corner to
    Nab their own loaf of hot, fresh French bread

    As the sun continues its rise over the city,
    Hot and glaring, casting elusive shadows across
    The just opened shops, owners finish
    Setting out enticing displays hoping to lure in
    Regulars and new visitors
    The city is now awake

  174. Zart_is

    Windy City Memories

    Slow blues
    Jazz so hot minds burn
    Skyline from Lincoln Park
    Put a city in a garden
    Revelry on Rush Street
    State Street buzzes
    The Loop lives
    Attractions history mixed
    Ramin Karimloo sang to us
    In Chicago
    We walked on the beach
    And when the wind blew
    Men flew over the lake on kites

  175. Lori D. Laird

    Daydream Believing

    Lets get away from it all.
    Ignore all the annoying calls.
    Leave behind the big city lights.
    Escape the sounds of humdrum’s plight.
    Remember the smell of wild flowers.
    Avoid “the man’s” hunger for power.
    Lets run away from the hustle.
    Get out of the city’s bustle.
    Recapture what made us us.
    Give in to the deep seeded lust.
    Sigh into the wind.
    Get passed being “just friends.”
    Let loose and be carefree.
    Just say you’ll come away with me.

  176. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    Jersey City

    You are so pretty, I don’t want to escape you.
    I brag about you to your neighbors
    and I keep coming back after a hard day’s work.
    Even your most famous neighbor, New York
    bows before your ever-growing beauty.
    Jersey City, it is NOT a duty
    to speak of you with great pride.
    If I weren’t taken, I’d be your bride.
    I hit your pavement and turn your corners.
    Inside your streets, there are no foreigners.
    Jersey City, in case you forgot,
    in my heart, for you, I have a soft spot.
    From The Heights to the Waterfront,
    I am so glad to call you home.

  177. laurie kolp

    On Six-Figure Salaries

    Taxis whip in and out of traffic
    honking here, honking there
    sometimes loud and wonky
    yellow splashes, spastic zips.

    A slew of commuters
    in designer business suits
    rush along the way,
    women wearing pricey shoes
    clip-clap atop cracked sidewalks.

    Between strides, whiffs of sewage
    from the whish their bodies make
    drift upwards, dissipate amidst
    scrapers of the sky; atop, a dot.

    40-year-old man
    stands on roof
    of building
    where he worked
    fifteen years,
    pulls silver flask
    from sports jacket,
    takes a couple
    three-count swigs
    and starts to fly.

  178. mshall

    Tokyo Twenty Four
    Four haiku from a cycle of twenty four
    Snapshots of modern life in ancient Edo

    Cold rice, stale coffee
    The dregs of a boring date
    Can I go home now?

    Run, run last train comes
    And leaves us standing in a
    Sake smelling haze

    Tick, tock trainman’s clock
    Keeps time like a jewel. Train’s late?
    Rare’s a blackened pearl.

    Constant connectivity?
    iPhones tweeting cyber news
    Islands in iLife

  179. Dennis W

    Little Chicago
    (Milwaukee’s near north side)

    Dad drove taxi cab on the near north side.
    He went up and down the big little town.
    Some of his fares were looking to hide,

    and in little Chicago, our north side,
    the mob could stay if they behaved.
    The socialists though, wouldn’t be bribed.

    The new rock in a bay held the big guy.
    Small fish rode right on like the big muskie rode,
    with face or name never applied.

    Wisely, he returned to selling clothing instead.
    Later he went back to these stomping grounds.
    “They have the best hard rolls” was what he said.

    Dennis Wright, April 12, 2014.

  180. MeenaRose

    Questing For Identity
    By: Meena Rose

    Would that I carved wood,
    Or sculpted bronze,
    Or chiseled stone;
    If I could, I would

    Display and exhibit
    The city that is me;
    My totem of identity,
    My grounding anchor albeit

    Expansive and liberating,
    Illustrating dreams,
    Reflecting hopes,
    Defining and encapsulating;

    A rose, a tiger,
    An eagle and horse;
    A dragon, a bear,
    A whale and spider;

    Each a district supporting
    The whole lending color
    And character to
    Muted gray-scale living.

    Come on in, stop on by;
    Stories to buy, poetry to sell;
    The currency’s karma,
    Dear passerby.

  181. Lady S Poetic Thickness


    The streets are filled with police
    As the crowds chant racial slurs
    Marchers gather; arm in arm
    Determined to see this through

    Selma, Alabama
    The Heart of Dixie
    Stage to a moment in history
    My hometown

    March 7, 1965
    People of all races
    United in one cause
    Screaming for equality

    They reached the Edmund Pettus Bridge
    Where police waited
    Armed with tear gas
    Hands wrapped around billy clubs

    Without a care for human life
    The police attacked the marchers
    Violently swinging their clubs
    At people they took an oath to protect

    Forcing the crowd of protesters back into Selma
    Beaten, bleeding, crying for justice
    As they watch the chaos around them
    Wondering when their lives would ever count

    Bloody Sunday was born that day
    As people around the world were stunned
    Viewing the malicious attacks on innocent people
    This is the history of my hometown…Selma, Alabama

    ©Sheila Moseley
    Lady S- Poetic Thickness

  182. MaryAnn1067

    City of Gold

    see the city of words, city of
    gold, a-shimmer in the
    distance, upon closer

    the branches in the
    parks are heavy-laden with
    verbs, adjectives, adverbs, clustered nouns, all
    manner of portmanteau
    words, who fall down

    to the ground and, finding
    their feet, stride along
    the boulevards, a-chatter along the tree-
    lined streets, once quiet as mid-
    night, the narrow alleyways, too
    beneath blinking lights the words
    sound and resound

    squeezing out the, wringing out
    the dregs of meaning to be
    held in the palm of
    your hand, inhaled as air

  183. shelaghart@yahoo.com

    Tarnished Jewel
    Spans o’er toxic bays
    Spires reach up to smog-filled sky
    Pollutants foul air.

    People laugh and play
    All schooled, employed, insured, safe
    Utopian Dream

  184. MeenaRose

    The Rose City
    By: Meena Rose

    She shimmered and glimmered
    This weekend, alright.

    Whole neighborhoods infused
    With aromas of Steak on the Barbie.

    Children played in cul-de-sacs
    Enjoying the last of Summer’s hurrahs.

    Yet, no one saw them or
    Even knew they exist.

    That’s right, I am talking of
    The people under the bridge.

    Have you seen them, lately?
    Some seem to desiccate on sight.

    Others, they glance at you with
    Incriminating eyes: proclaiming

    You guilty like the masses;
    Never realizing your fight

    To right this wrong;
    Never realizing that –

    Anyone is on their side,
    Anyone is not blind.

  185. pamelaraw

    Birthplace: NYC

    You strive ever upward with a million
    anonymous stories stacked between
    the gravel and glass of high
    rises stretched down Broadway.

    Your masses of cultures and circumstance
    mix below the surface, stride
    over asphalt and concrete, bump elbows
    and shoulders, are held together
    by bridges, tunnels, and force of will.

    Yet, in the middle of the madness,
    you’ve preserved that space
    for tranquil green, for carousels,
    for statues, for liberty.

    No wonder I come from you.

  186. KiManou

    Back in My Day

    every not often,
    heavy nostalgia
    for the tall empire state
    I miss the busy smelly concrete streets
    of the rotting apple city that grew me
    miss the ocean of yellow taxis
    miss the bodega and the five cents candies
    miss the homelessness of underground systems
    trains makeshift bedrooms and bathrooms
    suddenly panhandling’s illegal
    miss the dollar store, the dollar cab, the dollar movies
    miss the rap, the reggae, the cee-lo, and the corner hoe
    miss the projects, the rejects, and the sophisticates
    miss the local 2, the express 5, the C and the D
    a collage of a city
    diversities converging like metal rail tracks
    never fit in
    how bittersweet, I’m homesick


  187. donaldillich

    The City

    The rats scrambling in the park
    as nighttime claims the street,
    the benches, the once blue sky.
    The men stroll the sidewalks,
    yelling to each other, claiming
    their children, ordering food
    at glittering Chinese restaurants
    in red rich as blood. Women
    selling the last of their mango,
    bring their coolers upstairs,
    prepare their meal of beans,
    follow the recipes they know.
    Skaters click clack up ramps,
    hit railings, fall to the ground.
    The public library’s white steps,
    columns, safe and quiet, eerie
    with the last ghosts of books.
    Buses grind themselves on roads
    stopping for clumps of travelers
    who wink out into the darkness.
    At an apartment a man writes
    poems, snapping down words,
    knowing it’s only approximate,
    a sliver of corner shops, grocery
    stores, fly by night junk stores,
    of laundromats with strangers
    washing their intimates, creeps
    yelling about women’s legs,
    hipsters toting cheap alcohol
    and organic sauerkraut. He sits
    until he can’t fit the lines anymore,
    then closes the ancient window,
    drops his body on his mattress,
    breathes deep till his mind goes.

  188. James Von Hendy

    Between Palms

    “Cities,” she said, “are small miracles,”
    And here she spread her hands to reveal
    Between her slender fingers and soft palms

    A city of cut paper, miniature,
    Undulating over an air of white dunes,
    Bright streets between low buildings, layered and white,
    Sharp lines of shadows under lintels
    Where doors and windows gave onto white rooms
    Swept clean, white chairs and small tables, a bowl
    Of clear soup. Beyond a back door, bleached sheets
    Hung in harsh sun, children, pale ghosts, played hoops
    In alleyways twisting toward white tents
    Billowing in the wind, a souk where
    Women in white chadors haggled over
    Exquisite peppers, papery, tiny, and thin,
    Lentils, bolts of white lace, and in the distant haze
    The alabaster gleam of a minaret
    Rose into the sun, a muezzin’s robes
    Rustling, beautiful white tissue. He raised
    His arms to begin the call to prayer

    And she lifted hers, enfolding that small
    Wonder between the delicate arches
    Of her palms as if in prayer herself.

  189. Monique


    A city of facades
    Of diversity lingering beneath images of tanned blondes
    Of demons hiding in this city of angels

    Glittering gold
    Hiding death beneath the illusion of perpetual adolescence
    Dreams fading into the dust bowl

    A guilty pleasure
    Decadence and indulgence living with fear and competition
    Music and motion pictures creating cacophany

    Luring the dreamers
    With the siren song of fame and eternal youth
    They check out, but never can they leave

  190. Anvanya

    L.A. You Were Born an Entertainer

    I remember you –
    Born in L A meant Daddy had a brownie
    Kodak camera, and later a moving picture
    Camera, then a tiny Leica spy, a stereo shooter,
    Built his own Polaroid land camera,
    On to Super Eight and millions of slides…
    Everything but the slides he developed in our garage.
    I tell a lie, there were only shy of four hundred when
    I catalogued them last year.

    Nevertheless, no part of the city went unrecorded –
    From the rose gardens at the county museum to the same
    At the Huntington Library. Visualize the end of the LAX
    Flight path, where we are snugged on the roof of the Pontiac
    While Daddy takes aim at the largest incoming planes.
    It is a multisensory experience featuring the
    Rush of the wind spilling from wingtips and engines,
    Their immense sound pushing our eardrums,
    The color of under-bodies passing so swiftly it
    Takes away our breath.

    In his boxes of memories an entire city lies exposed:
    The rail yards and bridges, brand new freeways, old beach fronts,
    Museums, the tar pits, movie studios, Union Station,
    Philharmonic Hall, Clifton’s Cafeteria, The Olympic Auditorium,
    General Hospital, the Stockyards –
    Was there any place we did not Sunday Drive? Or any thing
    He failed to photograph? If there was a shortcut to anywhere
    In L A, Daddy knew it. And he took the photo to prove it.

    It’s my city, too, and Paul is mystified how I can find my way
    From one spot to another, while I keep repeating:
    The mountains are North! The Pacific is West!
    L.A. streets are gridded north and south or east and west, so
    It’s nearly impossible to get lost when you can drive from
    Glendale straight south to Long Beach, or straight west to Santa Monica.

    I never tire of wandering its boulevards and avenues, thrilling again
    To the Planetarium or the Autry. Downtown may have reinvented
    Itself of late, but my being knows the byways that show off
    The real Los Angeles, the ones still the same for decades –
    No need to haunt Hollywood Boulevard or cool our heels
    at a film house when L A in all its glory awaits a step outside our door.

    Spoiled? You bet!

  191. MyPoeticHeart

    The City

    I was not always a city girl
    Not in my heart or in my mind
    Places that held me captive alone
    Were the places of trees and rivers
    Or trails to explore.

    Growing up in the country was home
    Until we moved far far away
    Though we still weren’t in a city yet
    We had to be careful of the dangers
    Our new home held.

    Scorpions, spiders were everywhere
    Big black ants, fire ants, poisonous snakes too
    The green snakes were harmless enough
    Coconut palms in our yard,
    With delicious citrus fruit in season.

    The first city I lived in was called
    Ossining I loved it there very much
    The school was cool and so were the teachers
    Though on a certain night the lights grew dim
    We moved again, because of it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sing_Sing Prison

    Childhood gone and now all grown up
    In cities I have lived too many to mention
    I will however name a few
    Thinking that this will have to do.
    Hollywood, Fl., Rome, NY., Rochester, NY., at least 18 more.

  192. Alpha1


    They call it NEW
    York City
    And that’s the pity
    Because at best
    The city shares a striking resemblance
    To the OLD
    Dodge City
    Of the wild wild west
    For though times
    Have changed a lot
    Thugs and outlaws
    Have not
    So living in NEW
    York City
    Can likely get
    You shot

  193. LiveOakLea

    Where else could I have gone to escape my family?
    Did I know they would never come here to find me?
    It’s easy to for them to say, “The city scares me.”
    It’s easy for me to say, “Come on down.”
    I know they won’t.
    I didn’t try to escape from my family, or did I?
    Looking back, thirty years ago, I moved
    Away. Here. To the city.
    The road seems to only go one way
    Between there and here.
    But in the city, there are no
    Limits to the directions
    I can go.

  194. squirrelsforhire


    Born in the town of live music,
    Hippie babies abound.
    Learn how to live unobtrusive,
    Radical thinking is found.
    Expand your mind, human kind,
    Come back down in Austin town.

    Now the hipster, computer chippers,
    Making money, milk, and honey.
    Still the real deal,
    riding on big wheels.
    Hope the heat don’t kill the feel
    I got for the heart of texas.

  195. acele

    You are supposedly named after 2 men who never reached the red soil that is hidden under your asphalt;
    and where Ghandi was once thrown off isitimela
    and it sparked his conscience to start a peaceful resistance movement.

    Place of the Elephant – umGungundlovu,
    There is a small game park outside your city walls
    where I was told one might
    by chance
    see an elephant.
    Though I was there once and never saw one.

    I can virtually drive toward you down Edendale Road on google earth.
    Then I double click down Church st. but find my vehicle’s battery is low.
    Plugging into the phone charger,
    I find the street names have changed since that long ago
    November day.
    Commercial St. is now Chief Albert Luthuli Rd.
    It takes some searching
    for me to find the spot I’m looking for.

    There it is,
    a small park
    with trees and a tall statue – a figure
    pointing dawn to the people passing
    (How many times did I walk past that statue, but I can’t now recall its details)

    It was over twenty years ago though,
    that first day
    that I wandered your streets
    taking in your bustling Saturday sidewalks – the many shades
    of faces of your people
    together on your streets
    yet so far apart.

    I came to that small park
    more of a city green
    next to Tatham Art Gallery where the vibrant sounds drew me in –
    African song,
    children dancing

    And there in the small crowd of dark-faced spectators on the sidewalk
    I stood purposefully near
    to one striking, thin, inkosana wearing a khaki shirt and a knit hat over his locks
    and waited
    until he said,
    “Do you like African dance?”

    Zoom out and fly forward all these years,
    we have grown older together – mntakwethu and I.

  196. cobanionsmith

    A Street (1926)

    There is no horizon on
    the streets of New York
    City. Open space lives up.

    It’s so scarce there, even air
    has a price. O’Keefe’s
    version of a street: skyscrapers,

    brown and windowless on each
    side, trap the pale sky,
    darker the farther eyes go

    down. Unlit solitary
    street lamp waits, focal
    point. Sunrise or sunset, she

    knew how the buildings’ shadows
    dictate lives, warp our
    perceptions of space and time.


  197. diedre Knight

    And The City Hums On

    Restored to the canyon; a rangeland in waste,
    The Bighorns soon wander endangered
    As Mountain cats feast and famine soon sates
    Before being slaughtered by Rangers

    On the east side, a picnic sent packing
    When bees swarm a neighborhood park
    As tweens wearing battlefield khakis
    seek pastimes in storm drains and dark

    Fresh from the grips of a mismanaged home
    An old woman catches a bus
    And ponders the wonders of places unknown
    With a runaway child named Gus

    A jaguar shadows the scent he’s discerned
    A toddler has wandered away
    From a reveling crowd that hasn’t yet learned
    Don’t let the children stray

    In the shade of a Cholla his knees hit the ground
    The merciless desert has won
    The rush in his ears buffers all other sound
    In the distance, the city hums on.

    diedre Knight

  198. Jerry Walraven

    “The stories come out on wet city streets”

    I imagine
    that red brick
    absorbs memories
    which cause it to darken
    with age.
    Porous outer layers
    stripped of their potash
    provide shelter
    for the secrets and fears
    of the ages
    until rain,
    kicked up by
    those moving too fast
    to listen
    splashes against the grain
    and the brick
    sighs out a
    long forgotten story.
    If only
    you will listen.

  199. KellyDelValle

    The sun has hands around here
    fingers that grab skin and twist,
    fists that hit the water so hard
    it cries out to summon the storms.

    Children bury their feet by alligator teeth
    and even our sweat turns brackish.

    We are the machines behind the magic
    so dreaming is a little different for us.

    (Can you guess where I’m from? :))

  200. Nancy Posey

    City Dwellers

    “’The city,’ the locals call it, as if it were the only one.”
    –from Frog Music, Emma Donoghue.

    Since no one is born here, the rituals
    that usher one into the in crowd,
    qualifying as a local, remain a mystery,
    except, of course, to those who make the cut.

    Abandoning hot spots faster than high school
    kids drop slang words once their parents
    or little brothers pick them up, they move
    on most evenings to the next new hot spot.

    Snubbing the suburbs, they prefer the city—
    the only city—where everything is a walk
    or at most a cab drive away, where jazz
    floats up—secret serenades–from cellar dives.

    Even the sirens that punctuate the night
    weave themselves into the theme music
    of the city, hinting at danger a block away,
    never here where impervious they stroll.

    Flashy blondes hide secrets (corn-fed farm
    childhoods, mothers back at home worrying,
    calling at the same time every week). Life
    is just right here right now, no look back.

    They measure their belonging by bartenders
    who know their names, coffee shop waitresses
    calling, “The usual?” as they walk in, leading
    without asking to their table in the back.

    Since no one is from here, everyone fears
    committing some shibboleth that reveals
    the truth: no one appeared in the city
    full-grown, like Athena from the head of Zeus.

  201. rachelgrace

    the Borough of Manhattan

    Buildings form shadows as the clouds cut skyscrapers in two
    Floating islands high above people
    The smell of wet pavement mixes with the harbor
    Senses bombarded with sounds and vibrations
    The city drowns in music of its own making
    The skies finally turn blue

  202. Emma Hine

    The City in the Countryside

    From miles away, it rises –
    a beacon to weary travellers
    throughout the years.

    Salisbury cathedral spire –
    tallest in the land.
    Giant, solitary pinnacle of hope.

    Approaching the city,
    Nestled in fields of green,
    A vision of travellers now as then.

    And likewise, 8 miles away,
    a more ancient landmark by far –
    amongst burial mounds lies Stonehenge.

    Salisbury – ancient city of hope.
    Destination of celebration
    for Christian and pagan alike.

  203. DanielAri


    Outside the cafe’s plastic pane, “Sam + Joy
    ’84” sculpted into the wet cement
    observes its thirtieth anniversary.
    Inside, it smells like Lysol. At the counter,
    the sole diner waits for the man to go by

    whose pants don’t fit and who looks like he could eat
    much more than the diner’s non-gluten-free bread
    cooling on a napkin. Will he continue
    to pass amid the intermittent raindrops?
    On BART, a rough rendition of “Yesterday.”

    Gypsies traveling with a heeler mutt, unfed
    look on his face, scrounging the train floor. Meanwhile,
    a short woman wears a security vest,
    but she isn’t security. You can tell:
    her plastic leopard-print galoshes. Cities

    are nothing but margins that picture themselves
    as the big, centered type on the title page.


  204. Walt Wojtanik


    The skyline reaches,
    upwardly mobile sight lines
    and sign of neon and chrome
    in canyons of brick and mortar.
    The natives are restless,
    there’s much to do in much less time.
    Hustles and bustles and
    urban rustlers gathering,
    shoved by the maddening crowd
    loud distractions detract
    from the solace you seek.
    Not quite for the meek.
    No city for timidity!

  205. LeighSpencer

    Solo in San Francisco

    Business trip
    my first

    I don’t travel well alone

    The shuttle from the airport wound through
    “bad” neighborhoods
    graffiti, garbage, and disrepair

    It reminded me of New York
    with better weather

    I’ve had some great times there
    in the Big Apple
    though the city itself
    always scares me to death
    and I’ve never been alone

    I wondered
    where they put me up

    Up was sure on the right track

    Up, up, and up we climbed
    until looking out the window was like
    looking over the car of a roller coaster

    How are the streets even built so steep?

    Looking over the top of a hill
    is like looking at a drop off

    Take a leap of faith

    Miracles answered
    the street continues

    But we’ve stopped
    at the very top
    roller coaster car luxuriously stuck
    at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins

    I’m a shy VIP
    thinking I don’t belong here
    so I tip too much
    before I plop right in the middle
    of the plush kingsize bed
    all for me

    The work events go quickly
    so I find myself on my own in China Town

    I take a million pictures
    eat a bean paste bun as large as my head

    Souvenirs for the family
    a collection of old coins
    an Alcatraz shot glass
    a combination soup spoon and training chopsticks
    a jade unicorn (for me)
    mission accomplished

    Wheeze with pride over
    not dying on my walk back

    Up way up
    those crazy streets

    Tall narrow houses
    beautiful and surreal
    painted in pastels
    packed so close together

    Is huddling how they earned
    earthquake survivor status?

    I contemplate Ghiradelli Square
    romantic pathetic dinner for one
    or for me and the sea lions, at least
    at Pier 39

    I know my husband
    my adventurer
    will be disappointed
    by all the sights I’ve missed

    But I’ve seen them before
    and the sun is setting

    Back in the fancy room
    I open the window
    turn up the heat

    It’s excessive
    but I love the sound of the trolley cars

    Rush to the window
    humming the Rice-a-Roni tune
    every time I hear the bell

    This is my way
    enjoying (and I do!)
    San Francisco – solo

  206. Connie Peters

    City Stress

    A horrendous headache
    renders me weak, feeling like
    a mob of monsters stomping
    in step to the Macarena.

    Or a razor, cutting
    through my neurons,
    wielded by curious monkeys in
    expensive leather cowboy boots.

    Or tourists dotting my mind
    that’s destined to be exploited
    like landmarks worn down until
    there’s nothing left to give.

    A brown haze covers my vision
    and my attention splinters like glass.
    Thunder of traffic rattles and rumbles
    until my head might explode.

    I long for what is familiar as an apple
    but here I am in a smoggy city
    wishing for wings to whisk me away
    to a cozy cottage in the country.

  207. Jane Shlensky

    On the Air in Winston-Salem

    Sunday smells of coffee and pancakes,
    the mills closed for Easter,
    the air alive with dogwood and pear blossom.

    On pipe tobacco days, the air is peach
    and cherry syrup, cloying and thick.
    Cigarette days are musty dry.

    We smell the city before we see the skyline
    rising cobra-like above the mills and busy streets
    where once Moravians laid cobblestone.

    We trudge along concrete, watching for cars,
    minding pedestrian flow, and shop
    for Easter hats and shoes, organdy dresses

    making us a bouquet of spring flowers.
    Grandma will admire our effort,
    as we walk God’s acre of flat marble stones

    the trumpets answering the horns like kindred
    spirits at Hope Moravian Church,
    our kin segregated by gender and age in final rest,

    farmers, carpenters, and mill workers who helped
    to build Hanes Hosiery and RJ Reynolds
    and were paid in cancer and brown lung,

    glad to have a regular job right up to the end.
    My uncle inhales the cherry air and says,
    “That’s what keeps Winston-Salem green,”

    thumbing some cash. “That’s the smell of cancer
    and success,” he winks, “one for some and one
    for the others.” We nod unclear which ones we are.

  208. RJ Clarken

    Invisible City

    “I am my city. Nobody from my city wants to hear about my city.” -Lil Wayne

    I am cab; I’m revolving doors;
    I’m bike messenger, and I’m street
    vendor with a hot dog pushcart.

    I am bus driver giving tours
    to the folks who would buy a seat
    as part of their package. So smart.

    I’m Macy’s; I’m Mom & Pop stores.
    I audition. My painful feet
    know their rehearsed lines all by heart.

    I’m the Hudson, the East. I’m yours.
    You say you love me, but you’ll tweet,
    “She’s past her prime. No soul. No art.”

    I am my city. Look. Hear. See.
    But you don’t. Invisible me.


      1. RJ Clarken


        Thanks for the kind words, Jane! Coming from you, that’s a gigantic compliment and it really has made my day!

        It’s the first day I could even get over here. This past week, I had two research/term papers due and also, two tests. And that’s just school. But I won’t get all whiny and boring. Just wish I had time to read [as well as do more poemimg.]

        But I’ll try to get over here as often as I can. :D

        PS – My copy of Writer’s Digest arrived in the mail today. I cannot tell you how delighted I was to see yours and Nancy’s Somonka “Star-gazing” – and also “Untitled”, the Somonka by Bruce and Rosemary.

  209. Emma Hine


    Waves crash on pebbles, not on sand.
    Overlooking the beach, the majestic Grand.
    Endless miles of promenade made for walking.
    In bygone times, couples strolled there, talking.

    Nowadays more commonly seen
    Joggers, cyclists and the roller blade scene.
    Four-wheeled skaters practice disco moves,
    Elderly folk rest on seats with pagoda style roofs.

    Once a theatre and work of art,
    The Old West Pier stands scarred and charred.
    The Victorian penny slots and fortune tellers
    Of the the Palace Pier replaced by thrill seeking sellers.

    Under the arches, artists dwell,
    Displaying pictures they’ve painted to sell.
    Bars to sit out and drink in the sunset,
    An old merry-go-round and a small shop to ‘let’.

    Five o’clock and the starlings fly.
    Their murmuration startles a passer-by.
    Above the scaffold structure of the West Pier.
    It’s a sight that the locals hold quite dear.

    The sun goes down above the sea.
    The orange sky says time for tea.
    The nighttime buzz of Brighton’s centre –
    A whole new, different world to enter

  210. Gammelor

    For today’s prompt, write a city poem.
    This poem is about the city of Fall Mill, which is the setting of both novels I’m writing. It is written in the voices of my three main characters, as if each one had been told to write a poem about Fall Mill.

    Fall Mill

    i. Neilly
    I moved away from here one time
    to the bustle of New York,
    could never afford Manhattan
    and came back broke.
    Folk here are friendlier
    or maybe just less rushed—
    When I have trouble getting by,
    someone always helps.

    ii. Gray
    City of my birth.
    Where my father’s gardens grew.
    Cliffs and ruins to climb.
    People to protect.

    iii. Mini
    The mills that made a living
    Have crumbled one by one.
    The flood that rent the city
    has wiped out all I loved.
    The waters made the city,
    And the waters took my home.
    The city has no joy for me;
    The city holds me on.

    Gammelor Goodenow

  211. Linda Voit

    The Best Moments of My First Trip to DC

    The Washington Monument piercing
    the black sky from every angle
    my taxi turns.

    Night tour of the monuments —
    Martin Luther King Junior’s words –
    Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light
    can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate,
    only love can do that. – written in stone.

    Leaving the cathedral hush
    of the Lincoln Memorial, my pause
    in the center of the first landing.
    my momentary loss of breath when
    a young man steps over and whispers
    You are standing right
    where Martin Luther King Junior stood
    to give his I Have a Dream speech.

    Those cold minutes I walk alone
    around the barely lit V of silent soldiers
    their boots, guns and 1950’s radios
    their tired, serious faces, their raincoats
    of steel flapping in the eternal trudge
    of the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

    The life-size statue of FDR
    in his wheel chair, striking
    in its lack of monumental proportion
    for a president who was.

    Congressional office visits
    A citizen talking truth, face-to-face
    with members of congress in support
    of credit union members across the country
    while the American Bankers’ Association barrages
    DC airways with attacks on our member-owned,
    not-for-profit financials.

    The National Gallery
    Standing in the presence of Leonardo da Vinci’s
    transcendent portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci
    her radiant skin, the fine brushstrokes
    of her hair.

    Holocaust Memorial Museum
    the wall covered with part of
    Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s poem,
    “Babi Yar” written to memorialize
    the mass murder of 33,771 Jews of Kiev
    in two September days in 1941.

    the room full of empty shoes.

    The moment I reach the last page
    of the Identification Card I picked up
    at the entrance, and find out
    that Pavol Kovac, born December 6, 1938
    in Trencin, Czechoslovakia, lived through it.

    Linda Voit

    1. Angie5804

      I related to this so much, remembering my first trip to DC at 14: esp. the cathedral. On my 2nd trip I got to see my son as a Tomb Guard in Arlington Cemetery; on my third trip I saw the FDR statue.

  212. geetakshi


    In dark alleyways,
    toxic smoke rises every night,
    hiding dusty streets from twinkling
    with the haze-enveloped stars;
    Cars travel everyday,
    and in them,
    frustrated automatons
    trapped in a life of disappointments
    who lash out on all others;
    A girl from a small town,
    tortured mercilessly by those
    who not-long-since had welcomed her
    (This welcome is better forgotten);
    Stray dogs at every corner,
    diseased and itchy,
    with broken legs and teeth,
    yearn for a piece of old meat
    ( They are crushed instead);
    there is the glittering party:
    The night-life of songs and magazines,
    the glittering clothes and watches,
    the effervescent ice-cubes,
    the varieties of global delicacies,
    And a determined hatred
    of the hungry, impoverished others:
    It’s the most popular club in the city

    ©Geetakshi Arora
    April 12, 2014

  213. DanielAri


    went to Vegas with my doctor friend Nikos. He had
    a broad, buoyant face, slicked hair, a pinstripe suit
    and a plan: “Bet a dollar: win and you’ve won a dollar.
    Lose, you bet two dollars. Win that, and you’ve won
    back the dollar from the last bet—plus a dollar extra.
    Lose the two, then you bet four dollars. Now if you
    win, you win the two from the last bet and the one
    from the bet before—plus a dollar extra. See, when
    you lose, you double the bet, and every time you win,
    you’ve won a dollar. My woman’s intuition knew pyrite,
    but as I’m a man, I said “okay.” For the first hour, we
    bubbled at the blackjack table, generously tipping
    the waitresses, beaming with our secret genius. But
    the table was full, the play was slow, and we’d won
    less than ten bucks each, at a dollar a pop, before
    I hit the runaway truck ramp. My $64 bet glistened
    with the sweat from my hands. The dealer said, “Sir,
    $50 is the table maximum.” Nikos also went flat. He
    hadn’t thought of that. Even if I had won that wager,
    I’d have been behind. At the bar, he kept repeating,
    “It’s a probability thing. It’s probability. Do you want
    another?” What my woman’s intuition was saying now
    as the lights and the lighting bills blurred in my eyes
    was Vegas was built, ground up, on foolproof plans.


  214. barbara_y

    The Subway

    What words put beauty in a poem,
    or strength? Responsibility? If there’s profanity
    or the name of god,
    is writing profane? Divine?
    If the subway’s in a poem…

    I do not know if one
    can put “city” in line two
    and call the resulting
    piece a city poem, or
    if there’s some density required,
    restaurants per block, crimes.
    square acreage of excrement.

    But I have hailed a taxi in Manhattan,
    I’ve hated, and been held to account.

  215. Donna_KM


    Crime-ridden streets.
    Bandanas, blue or red.
    Dope dealers and
    corrupt city mayors.

    Graffiti painted overpass.
    Corner crack house.

    Still, smooth sounds of Motown,
    savory scenes of Greektown,
    celebrating eleven Stanley Cups now,
    Hey, Hey, Hockeytown.

    Assembly line, Ford’s pride,
    Chrysler and GM follow stride
    and together drive a country
    connected coast to coast.

    Sometimes it is necessary to stand back from a Sarat
    to see the picture in the pointillism.

  216. Linda Hatton

    Fragments of City Life

    In the city, tire treads resemble rattlesnakes,
    and sun dried flags look like old crows
    guarding four-way stops, inspiration’s
    pushed out by three-piece suited
    headaches, blood tied up in veins
    of yesterday’s dreams.

    In the city, where death hides inside
    bedside tables and youth has turned
    to old age overnight, princes
    ride in on motorized
    scooters, skin sandpapered smooth
    under a doctor’s exam light.

    In the city, her favorite loose linen pants
    have thinned in the rear and a rope of threads
    at her toe flops with every step. Houses
    line the streets like cubicles where fences
    are so flimsy neighbors can smell
    last night’s macaroni on your breath.

    In this city, where the dusty road to magazine
    canyon is littered with “dumping prohibited”
    signs, a tickle turns into a lump
    you can’t swallow away just as night
    turns into a never-ending day. And days turn
    into years to the power of ten.

    In this city, a daughter hugs someone tight
    until his light goes out; father dies while the rest
    of the world is sleeping. Mother and daughter
    kneel beside him, kitchen shears in hand,
    snipping stranded samples to tuck away
    with his ashes now smudged on crumbling decay.

    -Linda G Hatton

  217. TomNeal

    City of Poesy

    Drovers crossed the Isis here,
    And gave the city its name,
    But it was medieval monks
    Who caused the quads and cloisters
    And colleges that brought us . . .
    Philip Sidney and John Donne,
    Wesley and Matthew Arnold,
    Oscar Wilde and Clive Lewis,
    Tolkien and Graham Greene–
    And more lately tourists,
    and Burger King.

  218. aphotic soul

    Endless Insanity – the key words to Humanity
    by Paul Andrew Ryan

    The elusive sun plays hide and seek, on this mournfully clouded day,
    Acting very timid and meek, while clearly not wanting to stay,
    And as the clouds grow weary and weak, their water drips and slips away,
    Aiming for this ground they seek, turning it into a wet concrete grey,
    Tears of mourning from the sky above, for the land we’ve called our own,
    Beautiful valleys we’ve pushed and shoved, bulldozed with a pain-ridden groan,
    A plague of cruelty and we don’t even care,
    For we’ve dubbed this land destined for despair,
    After all we don’t need beauty there,
    Nor do we need this clean fresh air,
    People dressed in uniforms, like costumes for a play,
    While their minds are doused with chloroform, soaked with misery and dismay,
    Prisoners bound by societal rules, for their addictions to their pay,
    While looking like jesters and fools, as their lives so quickly decay,
    Flowers lose their souls, they turn lifeless and turn grey,
    Now there are only empty holes, where once there’d be a brighter day,
    Endless paths to nowhere, in a concrete kingdom we call a city,
    Using the makeup of nature to repair, the face of a whore we call pretty,
    We torture the land, leave it beaten and bloody,
    Left unable to stand, like that whore we call slutty,
    We spray paint this world for our petty amusement,
    And paint up our faces so our age tells lies,
    While the moon grins with a saddened bemusement,
    Mother nature is tortured as she dies,
    Left bloodied and stained, as the birds scream and cry out her name,
    Suffocated and chained, with only humanity to be blamed,
    Atrocities in our youth so thoroughly ingrained,
    While all acts of altruism are so relentlessly restrained,
    The sky that was once blue, turns now a tainted gray,
    Only apathy in its view, only death can it portray,
    And what do we call this endless insanity?
    For the void that cannot be sated nor filled?
    Why yes of course! We’ll call it Humanity,
    Who which should be dragged off and killed.

    1. aphotic soul

      Replace the word “Endless” in the title and poem to the word “Insatiable”. I hate when I think of better phrasings after I’ve already saved / posted shit. ><

  219. Ravyne

    To Roanoke, My Virginia Lover

    I caressed you in my wasted youth
    held you like a lover — my eyes feasted
    upon your hazy blue peaks
    and lush green valleys
    I embraced your turbulent streets
    and kissed the steel and glass
    jutting from your heart — I longed
    to curl into your concrete caverns
    and chance the razor sharp poetry within
    You took my breath away
    I will never breathe again

    Copyright 2014
    Lori Carlson

  220. intheshadowofthesoul

    Where The Light Always Shines
    Lydia Flores

    You are built of steel and tender tendons
    of dreams even the miserably failed ones.

    The gold of hope is easily found within you
    your tall homes and dream jobs hang high.

    We all look up wishing for wings for once
    or down wishing to never be in the incinerator
    on the way to a cold winter night in the subway.

    You are the city of bright lights looking for stars
    for your overcast skies and night time gazers.

    Bodies shuffle like fast forwarding record tapes
    but every now and then the flowers bloom and
    everyone stops to stare, central park never sleeps.

    Sometimes disasters try to break you
    they have stolen your towers but you
    hold up your skyline in triumph even
    when you are littered with grief and memories.

    You’re lights they never flicker and even
    when the city blacks out we all are our very
    own stars. We are the milky way.

    They say Rome was built on ruins and you’re
    no exclusion, but your empire it still reigns
    you stand, you are New York City. Liberty
    carries your torch like a lighthouse for vagabonds.
    you echo: come home the streets are glittered
    with everyone’s flaws, you won’t be alone here. baby
    you are gold, you are gold, show them how you shine.

    This is the city of dreams but if you can make
    it here then baby, you can make it anywhere.

  221. Taylor Emily Copeland

    St. Cloud, Minnesota

    You are blue with the air,
    full of grain alcohol and disappointment.
    The bastard child of what was
    agriculture, you were impregnated
    by promises of development.
    You let everyone down,
    became a fall down drunk,
    tried to suck me in with the help
    of a fair haired boy, a brunette
    beauty. I couldn’t be enough for
    either of them, and your weak grip
    loosed itself from my wrist.
    I curse your long o’s, your slow
    deliberate ways. The ocean called
    me back, I left you on the floor,
    to nurse your hangover tomorrow.

  222. DanielR

    Fields of gold spread out for miles around
    fertile soil held crops of corn and maize
    watermelons grew in the river’s sandy loam
    and farmer’s farmed, while neighbor’s neighbored
    until THEY discovered the views by happenstance
    Location! Location! Location!
    and came rushing in like herds of buffalo
    stomping down the harvest with no respect
    destroying livelihoods and ways of life
    then THEY planted concrete and it grew
    into a city just like all the rest
    that only a select few could feast upon

    Daniel Roessler

  223. Pat Walsh

    PAD Day 12: A City Poem

    Peekskill, New York
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    I remember riding in the car with my Dad
    when I was just a little kid
    and he would stop and give a ride
    to guys whose size and looks
    frightened me a little

    At the time I was just a little kid
    I didn’t know much about Civil Rights
    or the ratio of blacks and whites
    who lived in our little city
    or in the towns nearby

    I wasn’t yet familiar with the details
    of the biography of Paul Robeson
    or the infamous Peekskill Riot of 1949
    which actually took place
    in the next town over

    I just remember riding in the car
    when I was a little kid
    and my Dad sharing a laugh
    with some big scary looking guys
    who were glad to have a ride

  224. beachanny

    doing DALLAS

    catch the wave
    Mad Max can tango
    with a frog on Greenville

    scared but daring
    Thelma thinks she’ll try something new–
    someone new, a black cat

    new thoughts sparkle reflecting
    nightlights; heat and power
    traded softly on a starry midnight.

    metroplectic mysteries
    distorted through new mirrored buildings
    cowboys and oilmen, tycoons trade places
    with working class copies these days
    fast second hands trying to get ahead.

    the curious find it unlike L.A.
    just another BUST;
    the rich came here from Hollywood
    to shoot a fiction about Dallas girls,
    West Texas oilmen, hill country ranchers and
    Fort Worth millionaires who pulled themselves
    up by their own and everybody else’s bootstraps.

    Where does fiction begin or end–
    In L.A. or Dallas, on in your dreams?

    © Gay Reiser Cannon * 2014

  225. Bruce Niedt

    So today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was rather interesting: Take a common “concrete” noun, like “dog” or “desk” or “lemon”, and use a search engine or other method to find references to that word, then substitute an abstract noun, like “love” or “sorrow” or “freedom” for that word and base a poem on the results. Per Robert’s prompt, I used “city” as my concrete noun and “loneliness” as the abstract one, and what happened was this slightly strange “found poem” based on a New York Times article from 2010. I’m still paring it down, but here is what is looks like so far:

    A Physicist Solves Loneliness

    Arguments over the details of crustaceans
    were a sure sign that it was time to move on,
    so I began to think seriously about loneliness.
    I had this hunch that there was something more,
    that loneliness was shaped by a set of hidden laws.
    I can take these laws and make precise predictions
    about the number of violent crimes
    and the surface area of roads to loneliness in Japan.
    I bought a thick and expensive almanac
    featuring the provincial loneliness of China.
    New York isn’t just more loneliness.
    It’s a former Dutch fur-trading settlement,
    the center of the finance industry,
    and home to the Yankees.

    After analyzing the first sets of loneliness data —
    we began infrastructure and consumption statistics —
    we concluded that loneliness looks a lot like an elephant.
    Like an elephant, loneliness becomes more efficient
    as its gets bigger.

    When you look at some of this fast-growing loneliness,
    it looks like a tumor on the landscape. The concept
    of loneliness spread for an entirely different reason.
    Modern loneliness is the real center of sustainability.
    Creating a more sustainable society will require
    our big loneliness to get even bigger.

    Why, then, do we put up with the indignities
    of loneliness? If you ask people why they move
    to loneliness, they always give the same reasons.
    Loneliness is all about the people, not the infrastructure.
    All successful loneliness is a little uncomfortable.
    Loneliness is one of the single most important inventions
    in human history. Loneliness is an unruly place,
    largely immune to the desires of politicians and planners.

    Loneliness is not as a mass of buildings
    but rather a vessel of empty spaces.
    Loneliness isn’t a skyline — it is a dance.
    Loneliness can’t be managed,
    and that’s what keeps it so vibrant.
    There are few planned meetings,
    just lots of unplanned conversations.
    It’s just these insane masses of people,
    bumping into each other and maybe
    sharing an idea or two. It’s the freedom
    of loneliness that keeps them alive.

    (A found poem based on “A Physicist Solves the City” by Jonah Lehrer, New York Times, Dec. 17, 2010)

  226. Pengame30


    The big apple, bright and crisp on the outside,
    but bite too deep, and you may end up with brown teeth.
    People flock from beyond the seas, to take pictures, and blog
    about things that are daily routine.
    Teenagers hurriedly stuff knapsacks, and trek across the continent,
    in order to witness the fast paced scenery.
    Time waits for no-one in this city.
    Blink twice and you’ve probably missed the whole movie,
    and new year’s comes like a thief in the night.
    On Friday nights, liquor stores thrive, and stay open late,
    hoping you’ll buy that extra bottle of Henny.
    Now let me see. Why would anyone want to travel to New York,
    in all of it’s uncertainty?
    I don’t know since whenever I leave,
    I become homesick, unconditionally.

    Written By: Sean Drew

  227. Funkomatic

    Steel bodies lovely without compassion
    I’ve no knowledge of the life of blood cells

    Twice a day during the heart attacks
    Our skyline always reflects in a glass

    She used to work in the third tallest tower
    Sleeping in one of bland average height

    When our intimate cataclysm came due
    The suburbs became good enough.

  228. LaurelRose

    Thoughts at Trump Plaza in West Palm, FL

    I am here,
    with these metallic people.

    Those rapacious men
    Ichabod-a-plenty with apple eyes,
    counting kisses like dollar bills.

    I’m half-sick of shadowed car doors,
    swinging shut like the (sealed lips)
    of women with ravaged bodies.
    I watch them quiver like naked palm trees
    by a fire because

    Cerebus ate the sun.
    The moon has s h a t t e r e d with integrity.
    Don’t tell me I’m not alone
    on this street that swallowed the wildflowers.

  229. P.A. Beyer


    Marie translates Goethe into Braille as
    Pieder sips cognac and plots
    the next day long union strike

    The Häaggen-Dazs tastes sweet
    but you have to spend at least 5 Euros
    to sit in the bistro

    The bells of St. Lambertus bless
    the cobblestone echoes of
    Einstein and Schweitzer

    And you’d best heed the locals warning –
    “Never fall into the Rhine”
    Or something like that

  230. elledoubleyoo

    Dear Paris

    I’m leaving you. Yes, you are all they said
    you would be, full of light and art and coffee.
    You’re very photogenic, it’s true, but it’s
    hard to see the nicotine in the pictures.
    The smoke of your cigarettes seems like an
    aureole to those who adore you. But while
    I may miss our outings, I know that I
    belong somewhere where I won’t lose that last
    small piece of my innocence, and so climb
    step after step to the top of Michel
    to watch the tide surround that rock, finding
    peace in solitude and salty air.

  231. poetbeta154


    It is impossible
    Not to miss the smell
    Of steak tips
    The sweet drift
    That accompanies fresh
    Baked breads
    Whinny of the bus
    The start and stop
    Of traffic
    The clicking of the faceless
    Entity in the box
    The snap of cameras
    Collapsing churches.
    There artists are fearless
    Supernovae on corners
    Of tradition
    To showcase the subtle
    Side of sin without discourse.
    There’s a river slicing
    Sluicing out impurities
    Through finger grinders.
    Coffee milk
    Is sold along coneys
    Decorated with celery salts.

  232. Walt Wojtanik


    A merry land is OZ.
    The promise of new tomorrows,
    where sorrows are forgotten,
    if you can get past the rotten stench
    of wicked ambition, a condition
    full of hot air. Sailing in on a Gale
    and dropping in is a bitch
    if you land on a witch.
    Little ones come out of the woodwork…
    and flowering bushes and the rushes.
    All roads of gold lead to green,
    Scenery opulent and absurd,
    blackbirds are undeterred
    by straw headed men,
    rusted hunks are left for junk
    and the meek of the jungle
    tremble and bungle through life.
    Sunlight in the land of good and evil,
    a fight to retrieve head and heart
    and “braverism”. Home is merely
    a click away. Or two. Or three.
    There’s no place like it.
    It doesn’t take a wizard to figure that out!

  233. Walt Wojtanik


    Maumee, Ohio.
    Never been there.
    Never met her.
    Never heard of her,
    before poetry placed her in my heart.
    From the start, she became a place
    that held a face most familiar.
    Never seen her.
    Never met her.
    Won’t forget her influence
    and support. A poetic cohort.
    She knows my skeletons
    by name. All the same,
    Maumee, how I love ya, how I love ya!

  234. Walt Wojtanik


    East-by-Northeast of Krakow,
    I look back now and it is a speck
    in the vastness of creation.
    Elation springs from her soil,
    a land to offer a man who would
    be a friend and mentor, a guardian
    and “father” in all avenues but name.
    My grandfather, a gentleman of the soil,
    he would toil all his life to provide
    what his heart felt was needed.
    Not greedy, or needy, a rich man
    with a wealth of love given generously.
    A little village in Poland’s southern
    spaces, A place where I find a connection.

  235. Snowqueen

    City vs. Country

    Kimberly is not a city
    It’s not?
    It’s a Village
    Hu, well if there aren’t cows it’s a city to me

    Am I too general, casual and laid back
    Is she too technical or literal
    No, we are who we are and the fact is
    Kimberly is a Village

    In any case Kimberly used to have
    A restaurant called Dairy Fresh
    Its sign was made of super huge daisies

    The cows that provided the milk for Dairy Fresh
    Did not mill around in the parking lot
    They lived in the country
    Err go…….
    Dairy Fresh in Kimberly – city
    Cow – country

    Karen D.

  236. Connie Peters


    Saguaro cactus, barren hills
    A desert full of sun and life
    A busy city, many thrills
    A fertile place in which to thrive

    Libraries, churches, parks and schools
    And well made roads on which to drive
    Its entertainment surely rules
    A fertile place in which to thrive

    But summers are extremely hot
    Need central air in to survive
    But winters are well worth the lot
    A fertile place in which to thrive

    Museums, restaurants, gardens, lakes
    And worthy work for which to strive
    This sunny town has what it takes
    A fertile place in which to thrive

  237. Mr. Take The Lead

    Who Am I?
    by Daniel R. Simmons

    Many have forgotten about me

    And fear to walk my streets

    They bash me in the news all over the land

    But not one gives my citizens a helping hand

    They write up these fancy articles as if they know me

    Put me in the newspaper as though they actually walked my streets

    You turn your nose up and laugh at me as though I’m the punch line of a dirty joke

    You say I’m done and on me you’ve lost hope

    But I think you fail to realize who I really am

    You see I’m more than the abandoned buildings you broadcast with your cam

    I am Friday nights with friends on the River Walk

    You’re Saturday Afternoon Coney dog

    I enlightened your imagination at the DIA

    Bring warm smiles at the Thanksgiving parade

    I brightened your ears at the DSO

    I’m sorry am I losing you?

    Forgot this story has never been told

    Surprised that you didn’t know

    After all I gave your granddad his first Ford

    Then turned around and supplied him with the weapons that kept our country free

    So you shouldn’t bash me but thank me

    I am American History

    I know a thing or two about pushing through adversity

    Let’s not forgot they call me the Motor City

    My workers broke their backs to supply your car

    While you write about them, drunken in a bar

    I birthed sports championships

    Tell me where else can you find a Fayo pop and Bettermaid Chips?

    I graduate the best and brightest as they pass your silly tests

    Because we all know the greatest went to Cass Tech

    So you can put those lies about me to rest

    After all I was once called the Paris of the Midwest

    And I’m determined to take my rightful place again

    Come on did you really think a bankruptcy would be my end?

    I am coming back stronger than before

    Silicon Valley hear me roar!

    I am a fighter that inspires

    Fuel to determination’s fire.

    I am the comeback kid

    The underdogs ’hope

    Love or hate me I am Detroit!

  238. Connie Peters

    Lincoln, Nebraska

    “Why do you want to live there?”
    one friend asked, “It’s just a city
    someone planted in a cornfield.”

    Interesting jobs, green parks,
    cleans streets, small town feel
    and friendly folks who took us in.

    For my sisters, a peaceful place to work,
    settle down, meet husbands and raise kids.
    In my case, 1,000 miles closer to my fiancé.

    1. Linda Voit

      I am a fan of Lincoln, Nebraska and have enjoyed it’s market area and walks around the neighborhoods with Victorian homes. Thanks for including it in a poem today!

  239. Connie Peters


    When I moved to Denver
    the first thing I noticed was the noise:
    sirens sounding, horns honking,
    voices of the young, old, busy, crazy, homeless.

    Next, I discovered a lot to do:
    live shows, shopping, cool classes,
    restaurants—not just places to eat,
    but experiences to savor and remember.

    Colfax Avenue always pulsed nearby,
    and if you kept to your own set of
    post office, library, school, church and mall
    you weren’t overwhelmed by the city’s size.

    Nearly three million people
    bustled about like buzzing bees,
    dreaming of sweet escapes
    to the mountains for the weekend.

  240. dextrousdigits


    G reatist Wonder of the world
    I magination stirred with wonder how this was possible
    Z izzles with questions and speculation
    A we


    From Sand
    rises GIGANTIC rock structures
    that have for centuries
    evoked enormous curiosity and Questions

    Where did these huge rectangular stones come from
    Who carved them
    How were they brought there
    How so meticulously and precisely stacked on each other

    Were they merely tombs
    Were they energy towers, generators of power
    Were they related to terrestrial beings
    Were they spiritual centers

    As a child to me they were a place
    to play, climb a mountain, ride donkeys or camels,
    talk to turbaned vendors.
    talk to strangers with different tongues
    be carried by my father on his shoulders
    for a family picnic.

    Now memories
    rainbow bubbles of play,

    float, freely dancing in my mind.

  241. Gwyvian


    I found myself on a train lamenting,
    letting the wind blow away tears of separation,
    my heart split between leaving and elation:
    of finally moving on to a new beginning,
    but never forgetting all the blank hours invested
    where my heart was bled of reasons,
    where I was always cold in company, but forever jesting
    that one day I would change and dream again;
    the time was awash with pain uncontested,
    my strings severed, all for the best
    yet a seed inside kept protesting,
    that there was yet so much more left undigested.

    Arrival was coupled with flutters of anxiousness,
    but regardless of how I left, I kept on going,
    my choice had been made betwixt bouts of joy and mourning,
    but the time for grief was swallowed by new awareness;
    I found myself striding along flat streets strewn with leaves,
    pulling the train of my dress along with determination;
    perhaps my new neighbors stared at me,
    but I only felt isolation, and promises of anguish receding—
    perhaps I was still bleeding from always leaving,
    but there was momentum in my arrival:
    hallways of learning beckoning and a penchant for survival,
    so I shut myself away from those surging, sabotaging feelings.

    Before long the nights ensnared my mind,
    and new friendships and affections stole my heart,
    I grew into this city of sunshine, no longer truly apart
    and its heartbeat melded with mine—
    but now those times are long in the past,
    a flickering train of memory that seeps wistfulness,
    I have moved on again, the die were cast,
    and came up showing there was no room left;
    the strings in me that cut so easily
    were snapped once again,
    and though I still return and feel it bloom with spring,
    I am apart now, and carry the pain of leaving.

    April 12, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  242. lionmother

    Thoughts on My Birth City

    You birthed me
    and I landed on your
    concrete streets
    thinking this was my
    playground as in my
    youth I roamed the
    neighborhood bordered
    by the smells of Schenectady Avenue
    pickles and chicken entrails
    and the traffic on Utica Avenue
    My world decorated with chalk
    where we played potsy and bounce
    the ball our Spaulding’s rubber ball
    moving toward the shiny penny
    sitting on the crack

  243. Lori DeSanti

    This Is Not A City Poem

    This is not a poem about New York, or Boston;
    no— where I’m from, the cities all look the same,
    most people don’t wave, or smile, don’t yield to

    pedestrians, or change. This is not a poem about
    my town’s Southern hospitality, the beauty of its
    horse-drawn carriages through illuminated parks.

    There are cities where two people in love can lock
    fingers like tree roots on a sidewalk; where their
    feet plant one in front of the other as they stroll

    past family homes, and the children of its owners
    do not point. This is not a poem about city dwellers,
    or sports trademarks; it is not about a couple’s wish

    for anonymity under the lens of a telescope; it is
    about the city’s eye like a pigeonhole, watching
    my skin wash like tainted bleach, against yours.

  244. Carl Palmer

    The controversial decision in the “traffic calming” design of multiple street intersections in University Place, WA was to build roundabouts.

    Spout about the Roundabouts

    I found myself astound about
    the traffic circle roundabouts
    horns sounded out, resounded out
    as I scouted out the roundabouts
    wound with doubt, about to shout
    confound about the roundabouts
    bound to pout, expound about
    the traffic circle roundabouts
    I frowned about this profound route
    through our town’s renowned roundabouts

  245. Pengame30


    The big apple, bright and crisp on the outside,
    but bite too deep, and you may end up with brown teeth.
    People flock from beyond the seas, to take pictures, and blog
    about things that are daily routine.
    Teenagers hurriedly stuff knapsacks, and trek across the continent,
    in order to witness the fast paced scenery.
    Time waits for no-one in this city.
    Blink twice and you’ve probably missed the whole movie,
    and new year’s comes like a thief in the night.
    On Friday nights, liquor stores thrive, and stay open late,
    hoping you’ll buy that extra bottle of Henny.
    Now let me see. Why would anyone want to travel to New York,
    in all it’s uncertainty?
    I don’t know since whenever I leave,
    I become homesick, unconditionally.

    Written By: Sean Drew

  246. taylor graham


    In a storefront window, a platter
    of ladybug canapés. Crimson
    wings polka-dotted white, as if briefly
    come to light on crackers
    the way ladybugs in a November
    far from this city will swarm
    on a downed log, its bark crisp
    brown; thousands of lady-beetles
    pulsing red life like a last heartbeat
    of fall; and the lost
    hunter will walk right by,
    with other things on his mind;
    his voice an echo of “help!”
    as he walks in circles of labyrinth,
    skid-trails without street signs,
    caves of bones. The city
    lacks this kind of darkness.
    He wonders if he’ll ever find his
    camp, his truck, his way back home
    and a warm meal. His luck.
    Did he even notice
    the splendor of the ladybugs?

  247. Liliuokalani

    On the Origin of Domination

    We gather elderberries and
    trap rabbits as we pass through,
    moving with the herds and rivers,
    a slaughter or a sacrifice for the day,
    our muddy children on our backs.
    But they came with folded brow
    and broken teeth,
    their pendulum fists curling clubs,
    striking fire
    and the wandering way;
    the folded brows that fostered crops,
    letters, and bubbles
    we must hold and not burst
    in our concrete hands.

  248. mzanemcclellan

    Metropolitan Shuffle
    Heading in east off the night’s horizon,
    n the purple blue of a cool day’s dawn.
    Silhouetted skyline spot lit beneath
    as the sun rises to frame the city.
    I fall in line with the other lemmings.
    The daily march to the central hub’s buzz.
    I park my old carbon gas emitter,
    merge with the sardines who get off the train.
    To retrace paths we follow unconscious.
    We trade our lives to work for less and less.
    Hang on till the end of each day and week.
    I could really use a vacation soon.
    Where did the day go? I missed lunch again.
    Driving home the city shrinks behind me.
    Draped in neon, she dresses for the night,
    teasing cash from unsuspecting pockets.
    Her pulse is always in fibrillation.
    Grinding us under her demanding heel.
    Frenetic energy surges and wanes.
    I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

    ~ M. Zane McClellan

    Copyright 2014
    M. Zane McClellan
    All rights reserved

    1. mzanemcclellan


      Metropolitan Shuffle
      Heading in east off the night’s horizon,
      in the purple blue of a cool day’s dawn.
      Silhouetted skyline spot lit beneath
      as the sun rises to frame the city.
      I fall in line with the other lemmings.
      The daily march to the central hub’s buzz.
      I park my old carbon gas emitter,
      merge with the sardines who get off the train.
      To retrace paths we follow unconscious.
      We trade our lives to work for less and less.
      Hang on till the end of each day and week.
      I could really use a vacation soon.
      Where did the day go? I missed lunch again.
      Driving home the city shrinks behind me.
      Draped in neon, she dresses for the night,
      teasing cash from unsuspecting pockets.
      Her pulse is always in fibrillation.
      Grinding us under her demanding heel.
      Frenetic energy surges and wanes.
      I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

      ~ M. Zane McClellan

      Copyright 2014
      M. Zane McClellan
      All rights reserved

  249. De Jackson

    Ephemeral Cities


    She conjures
    castles and kingdoms
    of salt, sand,
    whatever she can get
    her hands
    on, names them
    for ancient heroes,
    far-off forgotten lands.

    She dreams
          of stars,
    arboreal cathedrals,
    and other shapes that dare
                 to scrape the sky.


  250. Elizabeth C.

    Comfortably Un-Numbed

    Setting aside bricks
    of depression,
    forces herself
    into slow movement.

    Would have to admit
    she had somewhat enjoyed
    her centered down

    where she began to hear
    her own inner workings,
    see with own eyes
    questions that should
    have been asked
    long ago.

    Understood now,
    smudged and blurred
    edges of knowing,
    and bloody mess
    one might easily make
    from existence.

    Elizabeth Crawford 4/12/14

  251. Glory


    London Town it rules my head,
    with bright lights and city buses
    crawling by, all bright red.

    Childish thoughts, they live forever,
    those foggy nights, the old gas lamp’s
    yellow glow, forgotten never.

    Remembered rain coursed our faces,
    laughter loud, how it hardly stopped,
    I was young, but my heart it races

    with memories of London Town.

  252. Walt Wojtanik


    Lackawanna, the land I love.
    Generations sought sanctuary,
    and nary a day goes by that I don’t miss
    the comfort of her embrace.
    This home, this place, my founding,
    my grousing was assured in her arms.
    Safety was her offering, love was her
    constant. A space on Wood Street
    that was home base until Dad’s passing.
    I long for her walls to enclose me,
    I remember every inch of her footprint.
    I carry a bit of her with me.
    i carry it in my heart.

    1. Walt Wojtanik

      CORRECTION (I need to slow my fingers down!):


      Lackawanna, the land I love.
      Generations sought sanctuary,
      and nary a day goes by that I don’t miss
      the comfort of her embrace.
      This home, this place, my founding,
      my grounding was assured in her arms.
      Safety was her offering, love was her
      constant. A space on Wood Street
      that was home base until Dad’s passing.
      I long for her walls to enclose me,
      I remember every inch of her footprint.
      I carry a bit of her with me.
      i carry it in my heart.

  253. Walt Wojtanik


    A stones throw away from home,
    a burb of a burb, westward.
    It was there that she dwelled
    and a walk in any weather
    would get her within reach.
    Near the beach of our Great Lake stake,
    it would take a lifetime to forget.
    A first love; a true love
    in its infancy where intimacy
    was a hand hold and a smile.
    All the while we grew together,
    an Auburn she and bespectacled me.
    Friends who spent nearly thirty-five years,
    amidst joys and tears, in love
    until the ultimate parting.
    My first muse, I choose to revisit often.
    Writing to soften the pain, I return again
    and again. Blasdell, the Lake and her!

    ***A tribute to one who encouraged my poetry to the point of getting me to attempt the 2009 April PAD Challenge. On this day (4/12) five years ago, I had lost her. But she remains dear. Every year I promise to finally let her rest. But it is hard while she still beats in my chest. I miss you, Red.

  254. Daniel Paicopulos

    For those of us who come here to read as much as write, a look back at the prior day’s posts is rewarding…some of us post later, some the next day, and some of our international friends, outside the North American time zones, post at what seems to be an exotic time, but which is likely only lunch for them

  255. Brian Slusher


    Unpretty, gritty,
    Built by blind committee.

    Haughty, witty,
    There goes Walter Mitty!

    Hazy, dreamy,
    Streets and women steamy.

    Mighty, sleazy,
    Busy, busy, busy.

    Noisy, saintly,
    Always shouting TAXI!

    Shiny, smelly,
    OMG, is that a tree?

    Gutsy, greedy,
    Get your coat, walk with me

    Mazy, crazy,
    Let’s get lost, urban baby!

  256. laurie kolp

    Business Lunch

    said bistro east of
    said city hall where all the
    said leaders eat at
    said lunchtime, but
    said hour’s really two as
    said vichyssoise along with
    said cassoulet creates a
    said thirst for
    said Long Island in
    said iced tea

  257. Pengame30

    I was seconds away from saying how happy I was to see all my work lined up and then all of a sudden when I check it, it comes up blank. Im hurt. Nevermind, I see it now.

  258. writinglife16


    I am a grand old lady.
    I can say I’ve seen the birth of
    a country and state.
    I am cradled within the Great Lakes.
    Canada is just across the river.
    I helped ferry those traveling
    the underground railroad.
    Escaping from slavery into freedom.
    I have been a manufacturing hub and
    I am relieved no perfume named
    ‘Eau de Sweat ’ was made.
    I have given birth to great music,
    but children grow up and move away.
    I have cried.
    Lord, I have cried.
    Those tears have mixed with the blood
    from riots and killings.
    Some of my citizens are guided by evil.
    Others are the bedrock I rest on.
    They work every day and mind their own business.
    They do the right thing.
    You never hear about them.
    My ‘death’ is being negotiated.
    I will survive.
    I will thrive.
    I am Detroit.

  259. CristinaMRNorcross

    I Lost My Tooth
    on a Double Decker Bus

    He will always have this story.
    On our way to Camden Town,
    small, crowded shops line the river.
    Snaking footsteps
    wind in and out of doors.
    The steam from food vendors,
    rises in fragrant clouds,
    invoking hunger.

    From behind me I hear
    a joyous shout.
    “I lost another tooth!”
    says our youngest.
    Without the school nurse’s
    plastic treasure chest on hand,
    I carefully save the tooth
    in a plastic bag.

    The bus stops
    for a new adventure.
    A new smile takes it all in.

    Cristina M. R. Norcross
    Copyright 2014

  260. Erynn

    There’s so much history
    You feel it in the bricks beneath you
    Sense it in the air around you
    You see it in the eyes of the elders
    They know the stories of the past
    Keepers of traditions and knowledge
    They smile as you pass
    Glad to see young people again
    But beneath their smiles, you sense a worry
    A fear of the past
    What did this city go through
    To make their elders afraid
    Was it war? Maybe a plague?
    Or corruption in the government?
    Whatever happened, you’re glad it’s over
    And you continue walking
    never giving it another thought
    But is it truly over?
    The empty buildings full of pain
    The abandoned car here or there
    There’s people disappearing from the street
    As the elders try to smile
    Try to keep order in the chaos
    But they know it’s not just the past
    It’s also the future

  261. alan1704


    Through freezing rain
    Desperately cavorting with an umbrella
    Like startled starlings
    Clouds of smoke
    Blood thunder
    Where the horizon blends
    With lonely cafés
    Fly-posted shops
    Blistered with malice
    Before a crimson cabriolet
    As furious cars
    Lit windows of a train
    Shut portcullis
    Violet neon signs
    Swollen with rain
    As a woman shrieks down a phone
    Avoiding rampart push-chairs
    Wheels within wheels
    Carnival of missing dawns
    Have mercy on the hands that scar
    Through freezing rain.

  262. novacatmando

    Cairo, IL

    There is not enough evidence to assert what conditions gave rise to the first hopelessness. Hopelessness has a long history, although opinions vary on whether any particular ancient abandonment can be considered less in hope— hopelessness formed as a central sorrow of trade. Families living in close proximity to others benefit in interaction of all blues. These interactions spawn both positive and negative levees between others’ actions. Hopelessness that contain rivers have an essential resource in permanent abandonment. The roles of rivers as part of hopelessness has altered many times from the original use of irrigating sorrow in nearby fields. And hopelessness on the Mississippi river has become polluted through futile waste and chemical misuse. This causes difficulties for the river and its surrounding sorrowlands with their wretched habitants.

    Note: “River Hopelessness” as a brevity code, is an order to implement immediate communications blackout until further notice.

  263. J.lynn Sheridan

    “The lords of sway” (a cinquain)

    The city is the wayward child We love
    her feral flavor and her multi-cultured tongue.
    We trace the bounty of her ethnic lore
    to the origins of her war-torn shores
    then lay her burdens upon the unsung young.

  264. Walt Wojtanik


    A sense of belonging stirs my longing.
    In Buffalo, I can tell by the smell.
    The Cheerios plant in full gear and the aroma is clear.

    Niagara Falls is where thunder and beauty combine.
    A fine mist spraying in the rumble that stays
    in my ears for years. The Finger Lakes make me linger.

    Second star to the right, I hear my “Neverland” call this “lost boy” home!

  265. Amy

    City Lights

    That warm dusk-lit June, I saw fire on your face;
    it crept across the lake and smoldered on your cheeks.

    We sat in my car, headlights baring a naked beach
    and watched the sun dip its toes in coin-gold water.

    We had until morning, a gift. That night was made for
    the city lights that burned as sunken stars atop the water.

    Unaware of the rolling fog that settled in the cracks,
    unaware of the sky’s edge, just beyond a cloud grasp,

    those city lights colored more than just a moonlit sky.
    They colored the whites of your eyes, pulling you

    toward the distant shore, away from naivety and me.
    We won’t look back, you said. That’s not what we’re good at.

    I listened for the catch in your throat, the one
    that held my name inside like something sacred,

    but it was lost in the lights; you had already been there
    before. And when you stood, you stood so tall.

    I wouldn’t have looked back at all, except I saw
    the city lights floating on the water last night

    and remembered my wish to stand still amid the
    rolling fog and flowing clouds, to halt the fleeting moments

    before dawn. But then I slipped my heels back on,
    going nowhere in the cricket night.

  266. Linda Goin

    The Moment Sun Tzu Wilson realized
    the utility of Louisville’s Waterfront Park

    he recognized the city as deliberate wilderness
    mapped by survivors who hoarded sources

    so familiar that nothing was sudden.
    If you know your enemy and value confusion,

    you retreat to unfamiliar, envision new
    unsettling, where shoelessness owns its own

    speechless kiss, where skills at imitating
    woodpecker taps with small automatics

    are revered, honored. Cromwell knew
    what he did when he slaughtered so many

    trees. Surprise is not an open field.

  267. anitaexplorer

    10,000 Temples amazing architectural delight,
    The cultural heritage is an awesome sight…
    Rightly called Incredible India’s ‘Temple City’,
    Bhubaneswar is perfect for serendipity!
    A unique blend of the Modern & Tradition,
    Bhubaneswar has elements serious & fun!
    With white tigers in Nandankanan zoo pose!
    Shanti Stupa at Dhauligiri for a peace dose!
    Say hi to centuries-old art, crafts & culture,
    Click pics of spell-binding architecture…
    The Capital city of Odisha state beckons you!
    Visit Bhubaneswar & enjoy its wonders so true!

  268. Eibhlin


    “Sweden!” snaps McGarrity.
    “What’s the capital city of SWEDEN?”
    “Stalk-home, sir,” says Brendan Keogh
    whose father comes from Donegal.

    Jenny makes a stalk-city in her head,
    long strong daffodil stalks for the walls of all the buildings,
    the yellow flowers on top, above the roofs.
    And ladybirds, they have their homes
    among the stalks of little plants –
    I wonder what’s the capital
    of ladyland?

    Marco thinks about his sister.
    She said a man walked near her
    all the way home from school.
    Their mother didn’t listen.

  269. dianemdavis

    A song for the loss of Berlin (1945)

    On the day the world ends
    women walk from the market with baskets,
    a soldier grows sleepy guarding a closed door,
    children splash and play in the fountains and
    evening brings the voice of a jazz claronet
    echoing through alleyways.

    Those who expected bombs and tanks
    will not be disappointed,
    And those who expected rape and pillage
    will not have long to wait.

    But as long as the radio says the Germans are winning
    as long as the Fuher promises peace
    as long as we continue to receive our rations
    no one believes it is happening now.

    Only the American President, who would solve the world’s problems
    but can’t, because it is far too complicated,
    repeats as he sits within the oval office
    there’s no other way to end the war
    there’s no other way to end the war.

  270. candy

    The Great Migration

    Horns blare like giant pachyderms
    trumpeting before engaging in battle

    In my city safari suit – pointy toed shoes,
    sleek silky suit – I join the herd
    like thousands of wildebeests
    on their great migration

    Rushing to escape the sharp
    claws of the steel town, we speed toward
    the tunnel that signals
    our escape from Pittsburgh

    Carcasses of the weak and disabled
    litter the verges of the
    well worn track

    Survival of the fittest reigns

  271. creilley


    Walking the gritty gray streets
    Of my urban homeland,
    Dodging ruffians
    Both real and imagined,
    The detritus of
    So many busy lives,
    Going whither the wind blows
    Collecting like garbage in corners,
    I stay to myself.

    Walking from shops
    To stores
    Avoiding the glance
    That could cause conflict
    Escaping away to my lunch
    I breathe a sigh of relief
    Exhaling both fright
    And blight.

    The remains of an industrious city
    Rot in the sun.
    Buildings smile
    With broken teeth
    Similar to those
    Who lurk in their shadows,
    Waiting for a victim
    To come close.

    Pride was the first to fall
    When lives were tossed aside
    In favor of
    The tawdry.
    Thrills are cheap.
    Safety costs more
    Than you can afford.
    If you do not take
    You will be taken.

  272. Walt Wojtanik


    “The theater, the theater,
    whatever happened to the theater?”
    ~Danny Kaye from “Choreography” in White Christmas

    Dear Olaf,

    They tore up Main Street to put in the rail;
    The subway reflects progress,
    but only if it goes somewhere.
    There was activity before,
    and people drove downtown
    to shop, do lunch, work
    and get around to the theater.
    It’s all but abandoned now,
    but it was happening then!
    Wish I were there!

    Regards, Walt

    ***The theater district in Buffalo holds the promise of resurgence as precipitated by the return of car traffic to Main Street. Long over due; hopefully not too late!

  273. Walt Wojtanik


    The upper reservoir,
    a preserve for critters
    and an overgrowth of
    weeds and reeds. A placid place

    with little trace of the past it possessed.
    A mile away the sway is different.
    The bustle of diesel engines moving
    cars and freight into position.

    It provides the transition to my youth.
    My Grandfather’s large garden bordered
    on the Northern rim by the iron rails
    of by-gone Lackawanna days, ruling with a mix

    of diesel fuel and steam. My dream was always
    to hop a car and ride the miles, face brimming
    with smiles and wonder all while under the spell
    of the clickety-clack of the rusted track.

    New York Central, Nickel Plate, Lackawanna and Erie,
    Pennsylvania all held their allure stretching
    over the hills and trestles, nestled over Smokes Creek
    which split my Wood Street in two and flowed from the

    Bethlehem Steel – Lake Erie inlet, southward,
    connecting home, sweet home to the here and now.
    The water. The trains. The bustle of industry.
    It is all connected. It directs my mind

    to be reminded of days long gone,
    wishing I was still fishing in the murk
    of that rambling stream, trading the diesel
    for a blast of steam, hearing the whistle fade.

  274. LeeAnne Ellyett

    My Town was once a City

    My Town was once a City,
    It almost seems a pity,
    It was a hub,
    Our history we do not snub,

    Built on the Forwarding Trade,
    That’s how the money was made,
    The Magestic St. Lawrence river,
    Boats and Ships delivered,

    A railroad right through Town,
    Had it’s own turn-around,
    Downtown merchants cranked out the awning,
    A new day dawning,

    Our Fort,
    Defended our Port,
    War of 1812,
    Our Soldiers didn’t fall short,

    I would be remiss,
    Not to mention this,
    We had a tawdry side,
    With seven taverns, it’s no surprise,

    At present day,
    Our Town a cliche,
    The River still sparkles,
    Our Harbour remarkable,

    The Fort an attraction,
    Downtown a distraction,
    Nary a train,
    It’s such a shame,

    And I stand loud and proud,
    In the crowd,
    To be a clown,
    In my small Town.

  275. DanielR

    Skyscrapers cast long shadows that flow over streets like rivers
    I swim against a tide of sidewalk strangers like salmon
    Searching amongst boxes of concrete, brick and glass to glimpse the sun

    Daniel Roessler

  276. break_of_day

    A city without night
    where no death may trod
    no sin, no sickness, no pain,

    Where God is the light and the presence
    with no temple to contain Him
    or altar to bring sacrifice,

    Where no more blood is shed
    because Blood opened the gates
    to a city without the wages of sin,

    Without death or mourning or sin itself.
    A city without night, a city
    full of goodness and holiness and Glory.

  277. Walt Wojtanik


    A lighthouse stands,
    sentinel to the Great Erie.
    A beacon bright, glowing at night,
    to the wayfarers adrift on the cold chop.
    It signals distance.
    It offers direction.
    It provides solace.

    Shining out across the mighty waters:
    the Niagara River to the North
    where it spills in a cascade of thunder,
    to Fort Erie on the Canadian side,
    over the vastness, a dim glimmer
    to the West toward Toledo,
    diametrically opposed, bookends.

    Sailboats swing by to visit,
    and raise a friendly hand,
    half in greeting, half in stoic salute,
    totally in agreement that the beauty
    of her silhouette against the declining horizon
    expresses her import to all who navigate
    in her harbor. All is well. Shine on Buffalo Beacon.

  278. Walt Wojtanik


    How much I do hate the snow!
    After the dark and dreary autumns,
    in the narrow, hole-pocked streets,
    near the bowling alley,
    how I must despise the snow.

    How it gathered on my rooftop,
    and buckled up my black top,
    how it slushes and piles up
    from my throat, I just throw up.

    Outside my window pane
    it would flake and flake;
    wildly coying,
    quite annoying,
    where’s the ice dam ‘neath my shingles
    for this snow, this damning snow!

    This frustrated man looked out his door
    and pleads to the snow gods, “NO MORE!”
    I do condemn the bitter frost,
    “please melt this crap at any cost”,
    my raucous anger turns to vile
    I surely drench the pile with bile,
    so steer clear of the amber snow!

    In my ‘hood the kids all come
    with sleds in tow, and some
    make commotion on the unplowed street,
    and throw their snow-balled sleet,
    ’til someone loses an eye
    (or at least runs home to cry)
    upon that groundswell of snow.

    In this city, on every lane,
    everywhere it was the same,
    six more inches and rising
    and it isn’t so surprising,
    as forecasters say the thing,
    “you suckers best forget the spring!”

    ***Based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Rain in Summer”

  279. AleathiaD

    My Heart Staggering Jewel

    You came to visit that year
    in Seattle when I had
    only a room at the boarding house;
    a place full castaways and rejects.

    You arrived on crutches, my stepfather,
    your glorious husband having parked
    the family car on your legs
    for trying to leave him
    and all I could do was sit and listen
    to the horror of it.

    I felt sad I wasn’t astonished
    but the men in your life all ran
    the same track…drunk, stoned,
    and abusive.

    I was used to your bruises
    and broken arms, broken hearts.
    I only hoped I’d remember
    your lessons for myself
    and break the chains.

    I tried to show you my city,
    my heart staggering jewel
    I called home, but it spiraled
    into failure with the sound
    of crutches clinking— a constant
    reminder of why I left home,
    why I put the country between us.

    In the end, I was the one to lose again
    always bargaining you away from the booze
    or the pills or the abuse and never coming out on top.
    Never knowing why I walked this earth to watch you suffer.

    Aleathia Drehmer 2014
    April 12 City

    1. Brian Slusher

      The “heart staggering jewel” versus “the sound / of crutches clinking”–these are the tensions that hurt us into poetry. Tough to read, but appreciated.

  280. Daniel Paicopulos


    It was sixty-five years ago
    in our small Wisconsin
    town, a drinking village
    with a fishing problem.
    For every need,
    just one store, plus
    five churches, one diner,
    thirty-two taverns, no less,
    no more.

    Idyllically between wars,
    our fathers back from
    overseas, our mothers in
    the home once more.
    Rationing over, yet
    victory gardens still in
    vogue, but Swanson’s
    frozen dinners had
    their place for sure.

    We had comics, radio too,
    Der Bingle songs
    from Sammy Cahn and
    pin-up girls galore.
    Slinky’s, Silly Putty, and
    cowboy stories filled our
    days, a fat-tire Schwinn
    our greatest treasure,
    save sun and shore.

    Then came the day the
    carnival came to town.
    We’d know it for weeks,
    the posters and such, with
    clowns, a Ferris Wheel
    and games all around.
    We’d practiced with ring-pegs,
    darts thrown at balloons,
    and bean bags tossed at
    boards on the ground.

    There were wrestlers, most
    famously old Gypsy Joe,
    and those were no ladies
    tugging tops down.
    There were goldfish
    in small bowls, a ball toss
    to win, midst the noise
    of the barkers, the joy
    of the clowns.

    But the thing I
    held on to most fondly,
    recalling even now,
    were the smells, the
    exotic perfumes of the
    popcorn, the corn dogs
    and, wow, the cotton candy
    they spun out of nothing
    but air.

    It was the best of
    a life filled with smiles
    more than frowns.
    I have dreamed of it
    since, but especially now.
    In a life too complex
    it’s a joy to recall the
    day that the carnival came to town.

    1. Brian Slusher

      Sounds like a wonderful place. I remember the those small-time circuses, too. They were wonderful moments of exotic enjoyment. Thanks for taking me back.

  281. DanielR

    Everyone knows this is Sheila’s corner
    the one she’s worked since she turned fifteen
    she stands there in a barely dress and heels
    with painted nails and face on display
    like she’s attending a masquerade
    but she ain’t no Cinderella today
    her arms fold around her to hide the tracks
    as she stands and waits leaning her back
    against the graffiti-covered wall behind her
    with “Jesus” painted in red, white, and blue
    she catches the eye of a passerby
    who flashes her a twenty and a smile
    she climbs in his car to take her chances
    because it’s her best offer of the night
    groping hands and fleshy parts awkwardly collide
    she closes her eyes and thinks about the time
    that guy took her uptown past the monument
    and all the tourist that she had never seen before
    cause they don’t make it to her part of the city

    Daniel Roessler

      1. DanielR

        Wow, Thanks Michelle. I really appreciate your kind comments. It is always great to hear that my poetry resonates with someone. There are so many great poems being written on here and it is great to be a part of it!

  282. Mark Danowsky

    Half of everything you see

    in a City is an unsolved
    puzzle. Bloodstains
    on your front steps
    a bus stop, by day
    the blood pooled
    then ran down
    like on a crime show
    you become a CSI
    without intention
    you determine only
    a bullet wound or
    possibly a stab wound
    lets blood at such
    a pace, which makes you
    picture a person sitting
    on your front steps
    under dim street lights
    bleeding while you sleep
    in the same place
    others will wait for work
    and you log another reason
    to leave, to go, to find
    somewhere where this is not
    your everyday. You should
    have known this was necessary
    when you stopped checking
    police reports, telling
    the violence was blocks away
    then just around the corner
    then the signs were here.
    Holes in the windows
    of the mailroom. A domestic
    stabbing across the hall.
    Cars vandalized for parking
    in the wrong place
    again and again. Neighbors
    who laugh at misfortunes.
    Neighbors who are forced
    to leave this place
    where you don’t even
    want to sleep any longer.

  283. Andrew Kreider

    Filling holes

    When you work for the city
    no one takes you seriously.
    They see the potholes and think you’re lazy
    when you work for the city
    They don’t think about the old machinery
    or the layoffs. You’re everyone’s employee
    when you work for the city.
    No one takes you seriously.

  284. Espen Stenersrod

    Day 12
    Topic: hiding place

    Not far away from who you are
    Something magical is in hiding
    Immense amount of time is spent
    Dreaming of this place

    Your life evolves around the hope
    Of sticking to this dream
    Unified with a force of emancipation

    Safe from everything
    Alligned with your lifeline
    Fear is no option inside these walls

    Shell of happiness
    Hell has no ground
    Endorsed in every move made
    Lullabies reciting every step made
    Life was the nesting place for rest

  285. ambermarie

    My Dear Walden

    Dark and quiet – the knowing
    We don’t speak, but we gaze
    Growing up and letting go
    I miss you
    Moving alone towards broader avenues
    Through back alleys, through darkness
    Drunk off shadows and grime
    Smoke from the manhole closes in on me
    Encouraging me to grow like some urban sun
    I make my way up, institutionalized in a new family
    Nursing broken hearts and other old wounds
    I step on the concrete, transformed by alienation
    Reborn into the community
    Finally a member, a part of something whole
    Once an artist and a dreamer looking at the pavement
    But chasing the fast mob
    I surrender to the sky to find my fortune
    The chaotic silence that hangs in the air above
    Waiting for someone to turn the bright lights
    On my first real home
    Climbing the stairs to see the world at the end of the tunnel
    I’m always alive in New York City
    Part of the legacy of enduring stillness
    Which I found there beneath the great illusion
    A mystery unraveled
    A person conquered yet revered

  286. dhaivid3

    Poem Title: Lagos, really na wa

    That famous Nigerian phrase
    Surmises all that that living city is
    Alive and bustling
    Never stopping
    People rushing here and there
    Life visible everywhere
    People there without a care
    Tired faces, trying to make it
    “No food for lazy man” they say?
    No lazy man there
    Smart, wise, hardworking, no slumbering in this city

    Mixed with those breathing fear

    Happening city
    Living city
    Lagos of millions
    And millions more lives changed beyond its boundaries
    One clear memory from years ago
    One question: “why do all the people in this city seem to hate each other?”
    (Me from the North?! Ha! JJC!!)
    Observing bus passengers rushing to get on
    Jostling, jousting, pushing, and squeezing in to try to get on
    Buses tilted at dangerous angles
    – Nerves jangling: “Keep us upright Lord, just long enough to get home!” –

    Conductors handing on to the outsides, trusting gravity to keep them up
    Screaming bus stop names
    “Iyanaba!” comes to mind
    Young men, some educated, loving life, wishing for better, bust smiling when necessary
    Some even old men
    Respected for their age, some even called “Baba” by the younger men
    No gym necessary here
    Life makes you fit
    Hunger keeps you alert
    No nuclear wars and annexations worry these, stories from faraway lands
    Leave me be and I’ll leave you be

    How wrong I was about the ‘hate’
    Hefting, sweating, smiling, laughing, tight, seats too tight for overloading, uncomfortable, but still comfortable
    Human next to you
    No apology for human contact, a necessary fact of life where life is accepted for what it is
    (Missed most of all, never having to apologise for sudden human contact; never apologised to either. Respect for personal space, politeness this ‘gift’ has stolen, possibly forever)

    I was wrong about the ‘hate’
    It was the LIFE of Lagos passing through the collective veins
    Causing people to hurry
    Yes, you had to hurry to get to your destination (or set off far too many hours early)…well, back then anyway

    I hear this city is now being cleaned up.

    Never mind, my memories remain
    And forever for me
    “Lagos na wa”
    Lagos na wa = means a lot of things e.g. Lagos is too much, surprising, complex, baffling, etc.
    JJC = Johnny Just Come, used to describe a new comer to anywhere.

  287. grcran

    Ode to the East End of London
    By gpr crane

    We heard your Cockney misspoken twang
    Twas ridiculed many long years
    Example of ignorance, so proclaimed
    Caused wincing when falling on ears
    It’s now become a popular speech
    A dialect much in the mode
    The hipsters are learning it, giving it ‘ell
    Expanding the old postal code
    I walked out one day in the sound of Bow bells
    Exploring the old Hackney streets
    Delighting in pearly king costuming there
    The smells of the jerk spice and sweets
    I selfied in front of a steeple and then
    I texted the photo on home
    Was lonely for lady who’d stayed back at work
    Oh never again would I roam!
    Replying she wrote “you’re London-y wow”
    I guess for that moment I was
    I went back to her and I stayed evermore
    As an end of a Cockney because.

  288. Taylor Mali

    Brooklyn in the House

    Brooklyn is not,
    as I thought it once must be,
    filled with people lamenting
    the fact they don’t live in Manhattan,
    bully of the five boroughs.
    We—and I count myself among you
    now—would rather be nowhere
    but heaven—if you believe in heaven,
    which I do, except a heaven like here,
    fresh cut flowers on the table
    brought home this morning
    from the corner bodega.

  289. cindikenn

    Reclaimed Land

    created from rocks stones concrete steel poured
    over layers of oysters and fish where

    grown men in wet suits race Jet skis
    in the emerald bay beneath my balcony and

    construction cranes line horizons dump trucks rumble
    semis wend trailers stop SUVs merge vans honk sedans hum
    limos lead teenage boys in Lamborghini brake
    hammer wielding workers crammed into Toyota
    trucks block carpool mothers grip steering wheel life preservers past
    new lights old barriers before find-your-way signs
    direct traffic down dead end streets while

    expat engineers climb towers inspect review wives
    PTA meetings children soccer Tim Hortons
    cappuccino Baskin Robbins ice cream
    four-wheel desert off roaders villas compounds
    home-away-from-home resort apartments where

    grown men in wet suits race Jet skis
    in the emerald bay beneath my balcony

  290. Jezzie


    Maybe it’s because I was a
    Londoner that I love London town.
    Although now I do not live there
    I quite often take a trip down.

    I’ll take a walk by the river,
    after being squashed in the tube,
    I’ll have a browse round a market
    and munch on some takeaway food.

    I’ll laugh at jolly street jugglers,
    and marvel at living statues,
    I’ll ride on the Frog and the Eye
    to admire our great city views.

    I’ll see where live Prime Ministers.
    Even if caught in a shower
    when walking back from Downing Street
    I’ll hear Big Ben chiming the hour.

    I’ll take a stroll along the Mall,
    wave at the Queen in her palace,
    and see what Christopher Robin
    saw when he went there with Alice.

    I will walk around monuments
    and browse in some art galleries,
    go back in time in museums:
    these will all be good memories.

    I will sample Soho night life
    and watch a good musical show
    but after a day’s sight seeing
    I’ll be tired and ready to go.

    Back then at St Pancras station,
    to catch the last evening train,
    I’ll watch someone play the piano
    while I wait to go home again.

    Maybe its because I was a
    Londoner that I hate London town.
    It’s now the countryside I love
    where I can live without a frown.

    I can breathe fresh clean country air,
    watch cows graze and see newborn sheep
    gambolling in fields everywhere,
    and there’s little noise while I sleep.

    There’s a lot to be said for our city
    It is always fun to visit
    but live there again I’ll never:
    it’s not as good as home, is it?

  291. drwasy

    City of Believe

    Here, everyone prays with a fervor not noted
    in my stiff-backed Unitarian pew. Big black
    women clamber on the metro clutching Bibles,
    fingers twitching to the glory of Jesus, amen.

    Yarmulked manchildren, earlocks fuzzing,
    sway with prayer. Their mutter-murmur adds
    to the imams’ turban-tight keening,
    the sikhs’ singing, the Buddhists’ koans.

    Here, at Lex Market, past stairs carcassed
    with peanut shells, suited-up savior dudes wave
    salvation tracts, bullhorning oracles that fall
    short on earbudded workers heading home.

    Here, in the City of Believe, folks pray
    like it’s a job. But my contempt for their faith
    is shorn smooth, eclipsed by my envy.

    My ode to Baltimore, the City of Believe. Peace…

  292. lionetravail

    “Surface Tension”
    by David M. Hoenig

    She skates along with all the rest,
    already flown from parent’s nest
    through city streets with rush and rue.
    She hasn’t really any clue
    that pressured home had been the best

    of places for teenager blessed
    with parent’s love. But she’s obsessed
    with thoughts of freedom from bayou
    of chores, and so skates with the rest.

    She isn’t sure why she feels pressed
    from on all sides, her balance messed
    by thousands rushing fro and to.
    If she breaks tension she’ll fall through,
    and drown- lost bird, unwelcome guest.
    She must keep skating, without rest.

  293. PowerUnit

    From My Empty Office
    (True story – They are starting their cleanup as I type)

    Au revoir suburbia
    We’re off to live in the city
    Both trucks are nearly full
    And the army of young men complain about all of my boxes of books
    But they smile, knowing, even if they have not yet built an empty nest
    They can see the anguish and the hope in our faces
    The memories in these empty spaces
    The excitement of trading places

  294. pomodoro

    There’s an obstacle course in Times Square ~
    unopened cardboard boxes clog narrow aisles,
    broad-shouldered parkas jam crowded racks,
    platoons of shoppers forge through
    an Everest of military paraphernalia
    in Kaufman’s Army and Navy on 42nd Street.

    Don’t scoff at the possibilities in this slightly unclean bazaar:

    bazooka bags and military vests,
    medals from distant armies,
    blue-and-white-striped Russian Navy sweaters,
    olive drab Austrian army jackets,
    British motorcycle goggles,
    ammo cans,
    black Cadillacs,
    gas masks ~

    stuff you never imagined you’d have a sudden desire to own.

  295. Kimmy Sophia


    New York.
    Gulag gray buildings,
    Sidewalks and subway steps
    serving millions of feet,
    germ-dancing railings,
    everyone coping,
    averting eyes,
    Sparrows find gutter crumbs,
    a piano scale from a window,
    the shrieking of horns.
    Incessant processing
    a giant body,
    enzymes and blood cells,
    girders and concrete,
    glass and grime,
    a relentless,

  296. Fae Spurrier

    We’ll Always Have Riyadh

    Don’t forget me,
    oh city of angry edges
    and soft circles. City of lost empires.
    City of glass and steel
    and clay and dust. City of losing

    …and that weekend,
    in Ramadan,
    when the sandstorm hit
    and kept us in for three days.
    After 14 games of dominoes
    you said, “Tell me a story.”
    So I held the tired,
    young city in my arms
    and I did.

  297. Quaker

    Failure is now its only bi-product.
    It is hard to imagine that this was a great city.
    There are more abandoned storefronts
    than customers acting lost, wondering
    where everything went. It went wrong.
    Everything fled once one store folded.
    You can see by the Nuevo architecture,
    there was money here once, now it’s not.
    The haunted vacant faces know loss.
    It is in the broken glass park, the cracked
    laughter of cars passing by as fast as they can,
    the boarded-up exits, the factory silent
    having sent its paychecks overseas.
    Once this was a place worth living,
    now it is a place nobody would be seen in.

  298. A.A. Palmer (a.k.a. The Happy Amateur)

    Hi. Twelve days, twelve haiku. Please bear with me, there’s no turning back for me now. Thank you.

    beyond the welkin
    a sleepy angel awakes
    off to work wings brushed

    the commute is quick
    one giant leap for mankind
    for angel one step

    the task is simple
    persuade men to be happy
    that’s what angels do

    since the creation
    happiness has been men’s foe
    men prefer ruin

    men long for passion
    harmony unsettles them
    men would rather burn

    men inhale cities
    drink beneath the rural moon
    on the airplane wings

    ever amateur
    created in God’s image
    hopelessly human

    torment their lovers
    dance themselves to destruction
    ever lonely men

    finding no refuge
    men cry when they see the Pope
    vagabond pilgrims

    empires rise and fall
    look back foresee the future
    humans do not change

    men bend their beliefs
    divide sex and sentiment
    still believe in love

    strolls through central park
    wild quarrels starting over
    beautiful and damned

  299. drnurit

    SPRING IN THE BIG APPLE – New York City Haikus

    By: Dr. Nurit Israeli

    They are kissing now
    in the back seat of the cab –
    glad traffic is slow.

    Her iPod playing
    “Dance Me to the End of Love”
    she cries on the bus.

    On HopStop dot com –
    Still asking for directions:
    What is the best way???

    He gives me his seat
    In the crowded subway car:
    He thinks I am old…

    She is looking out
    From her hospital window
    Watching pain-free lives.

    In hospital rooms –
    unable to sleep, restless
    strangers in the night…

    Alone together
    They sit beside each other
    On a hard park bench.

    I hear them fighting
    Through the thin wall between us –
    but I don’t take sides.

    Sitting side-by-side.
    In therapy. Still. In spite.
    Their last stop, before…

    Elderly couple –
    On Circle Line for a date –
    Giving love a chance.

  300. PressOn


    The ravens of the desert call
    while soaring freely over all
    the buildings splashed with pallid pall
    of sand-struck gall. Of sand-struck gall

    there is no dearth, for naught is bright
    and day retains the gloom of night
    and even noontime breeds no light,
    for all is spite. For all is spite.

  301. drwasy

    I would just like to thank Anders for his amazing programming skills! Wow! My computer crashed a few years ago and I lost a good chunk of my 2010 and 2011 poems–now, I have them back! Like long-lost family. Thank you Anders, and peace…

  302. PressOn


    It sits astride a river, flowing north,
    that feeds the small Great Lake. Years ago,
    its falls gave birth to miles of mills, and so,
    the founding fathers called it Flour City.

    But time went by and migrants travelled forth
    to populate the West. The mills were slow,
    but when some scattered seeds began to grow,
    the fathers’ sons re-named it, Flower City.

    Such originality! Such a pity.
    But then, the Flower City flowers by committee.

  303. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    San Francisco

    Our first trip together took us
    across the country to the other coast
    where the earth is pushed from beneath
    the seas – piled high along the coast
    to form hills and valleys rich in tradition.

    Our first day began walking along the bay,
    feeding gulls that overate as much as
    the tourists that feed them bits of lunch,
    then wound up the hills, twisted down
    a street so narrow, houses came to greet you.

    We visited City Lights, listening for the echoes
    of Jack, Allen and Neal still whispering
    from old spines tucked lovingly onto
    shelves and along walls as twisted
    as the streets leading to this Nirvana.

  304. EeLas6678

    Title: Navigating the In-Between

    I look inside,
    organs, veins, and arteries.
    Don’t reside,
    for external experiences are part of me.

    Disco ball shifts,
    High beams, sirens, traffic lights,
    and the glow of her face,
    inconsistent illumination.

    One ways and exits,
    no room for questions,
    no room for mistakes,
    left lane must turn left.

    Others pass, I fiddle with the radio.
    Want to slow down,
    drive into the blue sky,
    the silver lining my only boundary.

    I find a feel good song,
    the kind that helps me float,
    reminds me of possibility.
    Gaze directed at the cross that hangs from my review mirror
    A near view of hope.

    Come down from my high,
    radio turns to static,
    I’ve hit that part of town-
    close to home.

    Gray is back.
    Look inside, look outside,
    still no white or black.

    -Emily Lasinsky

  305. courageousdreamer

    My city

    Hustle and bustle of city streets,
    Strangers, people you meet
    On public transport.
    We must look like ants dispersed all around,
    In comparison to the crowded,
    Compated towns of Tokyo and New York City.

    Whilst I sleep,
    I imagine the incandescent stars
    Dancing in the background,
    To the luminous bridge lights.
    But nothing beats the iridescent light show,
    Of the ferris wheel,
    Whirling and twirling at twilight.

    My city is filled with fascinating sights.
    A restaurant at the end of every market corner,
    Joining Western and Eastern culture,
    To my delight,
    I can choose between filet mignon and pork noodles,
    For desert, apple strudel.
    All my senses are tantalised,
    They truly come alive at night.

    My city isn’t perfect,
    In fact, sometimes it can be pretty dull.
    But every once in a while you might discover,
    A new play, a hidden treasure,
    The ballet or the ‘Playhouse’,
    To lift you up for the doldrums,
    Of your usual working routine.

    So although my city isn’t small,
    Nor the belle of the ball,
    Or the place to be…
    I think it’s beautiful
    And this is home for me.

  306. Andrea Heiberg

    At the Finishing Line

    Somebody put an incredible
    ugly sculpture
    blocking the view
    to this spectacular sight
    you longed for
    when walking mile after mile
    so you pass it,
    and go to this
    huge concrete hostel
    where you embrace
    good old friends
    from the road
    getting your clothes in order
    sensing something wonderful
    is about to end
    when you see
    Santiago de Compostela
    is right there
    below your feet,
    the huge cathedral
    makes you sure,
    and someone takes
    a photo of you
    and says
    thank you.

  307. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    Boston Strong

    The kin of immigrants from places,
    where life dealt out pain and suffering
    like seeds thrown to the wind, came
    to call the Hub home.

    Theirs were the dreams from which
    came senators and cardinals –
    ballplayers, actors, designers,
    police, fire and first responders.

    The sons and daughters from homes
    steeped in the religion of working hard,
    doing your best and taking care of
    those around you.

    So when unspeakable acts, from which
    pain and suffering exploded, leaving
    horror in it wake, they gathered –
    showing they were Boston Strong.

    1. Clark Buffington

      Nicely done Linda! Been through there once years ago, nice place full of good people that talk a little funny. That was tough time for that city and they stepped to the plate in a hurry.

  308. poetrycurator

    Excelsior, My Hometown

    after Kurt Boone

    Raised in Excelsior
    kind of a cool place to be
    the nicest public school system
    in the Twin Cities.
    Lakes galore.
    Hundreds of students compete in
    sports, performance arts, and music.
    Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer.
    Athletes compete to be champions
    in the State Finals for
    Minnetonka High School.
    Then after high school the graduates
    move on to Minnesota State
    colleges and universities.
    Acting competition is thick too.
    Actors begin at community theatre
    then on to the Old Log Theatre
    and finally Hollywood.
    The favorite theatre of the city is Dock Cinema.
    The movie industry is the next hot competition
    in Excelsior, my hometown.
    The likes of Barbara Eden, Sally Kellerman,
    Mike Farrell and Melissa Gilbert
    appear in One Song portraying
    Excelsior, my hometown.

    By Denise Fletcher Copyright © 2014

  309. mzanemcclellan

    On 115th And Powell Blvd.
    Hot summer nights hanging ponderously,
    A steamy Harlem yawns sonorously.
    Two men below shout philosophy lines,
    into my window this cat burglar climbs.
    On the Square’s bench in front of the building,
    a girl plays guitar, drunken voice lilting.
    I listen as I’m unable to sleep,
    sifting for tidbits of knowledge to reap.
    A spice or flavor to add to this stew
    poems reminiscent of Langston Hughes.
    Some scene of drama, or maudlin,
    to pen in my novel like James Baldwin.
    Like Native Son or about Charlie Bird,
    or something of note like “A Dream Deferred.
    Then maybe on a future sleepless night,
    someone will dream of my story’s delights.

    ~ M. Zane McClellan

    Copyright 2014
    M. Zane McClellan
    All rights reserved


  310. Clark Buffington

    Happy and Free in the city

    With the warmth of spring they came to our city, living under bridges and wherever they could stay dry. Their eyes bright they would come into my liquor store with smiles and jokes. Change is how they paid with laughter and gaiety pouring forth.

    I asked them how they lived, these young people so happy and free. In laughter they told how they played music and begged from those going to and fro in our college town. This is the life they would say with rosy cheeks and smiles all around.

    Friends I made that spring of the Bridge Kids in town. Their fun was infectious and their good cheer a boon but it was not long before the shadows underneath began to show through. There was darkness in the Bridge Kids so happy and free they just hid it behind frivolity and good cheer.

    First one and then another lost the smiles and mirth as they drank and used their way through each day. They were hiding pains from the world, under their bridges with their bottles and their needles. Then the shadows started to show on the faces I’d come to know, hidden no longer but clear to see.

    They got into fights and went to jail while living the life that was so happy and free. I tried to talk to them and help but they wanted their bottles with oblivion, not love and caring advice. It was painful to watch as they descended into hell, swearing the whole time it was better to be free.

    Then one of my friends no longer came into the store and the others said he had sung his last song and danced his last dance. The needles had taken their toll and he was no more. I blame not the city we were in; it was just a place that had bridges with kids. I grieve knowing there are more who go to live a life of laughter and gaiety so happy and free in the city.

  311. Clark Buffington

    Bridge Kids in the city

    Free and without care they say
    Homeless without families or safety

    Together and living life as we choose
    Lost and alone living in filth

    Adventure and a good time is what we’re after
    Injury and death is how you will end

    Moving on whenever we want
    Running away whenever you find trouble

    Help us we can’t take it anymore
    Take my hand and I will pull you out

    No we won’t or we can’t we must run
    Come back and I will show the way

  312. utsabfly

    New York City Upon Approach

    Growing up on five acres in Texas,
    I never imagined the day.
    When I would find myself,
    In a huge city far away.

    Upon the first breathtaking view,
    In shock, my jaw dropped.
    The wind was stolen from my chest,
    And the beats quickened within my heart.

    There was no end to the skyline,
    The world was flat, building to building.
    Such an incredible sight to see,
    So exciting and thrilling!

    Part of me felt fearful reservations,
    Intimidated by the vastness all around.
    And this was simply upon approach,
    Adventures in the city itself would eventually abound.

    ©E.D. Allee
    April, 2014

  313. Clark Buffington

    The City

    Cars going nowhere fast
    Buses stopping at every corner

    Horns blaring and brakes squealing
    Everyone in a hurry to no avail

    People in their cubicles no windows in sight
    Sun unseen and fresh breeze unfelt

    Grime and poverty hidden by glitz
    Glass towers and lights to distract