2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13

What’s better than writing a dozen poems in November? How about writing a baker’s dozen? Yes, let’s go 13 for 13 today.

For today’s prompt, pick a city and make that the title of your poem; then, write your poem. The poem doesn’t have to be about the city…but it can be. You can pick a big city, small city, medium-sized city, city that exists today, city that existed in the past, city that only exists in fiction, city that you create.

Click here for a little inspiration if you’re struggling to get started.

*****

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This e-book covers more than 40 poetic forms and shares examples to illustrate how each form works.

Discover a new universe of poetic possibilities and apply it to your poetry today!

Click to continue.

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Here’s my attempt at a City Title Poem:

“Dayton”

I grew up in the shadow of bombers
and the Wright Flyer, the poetry of
Paul Laurence Dunbar and innovation,
whether cash registers, parachutes, or
step ladders. I grew up in the shadow
of Edwin C. Moses, Tonja Buford-
Bailey, and Roger Clemens; the shadow
of Dorothy Gish, Martin Sheen, and Rob
Lowe; and the shadow of the Ohio
Players, Guided By Voices, the Breeders,
and Brainiac. I grew up along two
Interstates–one connecting Florida
to Canada, the other Maryland
to Utah–in the heart of the heart of
it all. And I carry the city with
me always like the true gem that it is.

*****

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He spent the first 30 years of his life in Southwest Ohio–most of it in and around Dayton, also known as the Gem City. He’ll forever be grateful to grow up in such an inventive city filled with and surrounded by amazing parks, music, and airports.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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271 thoughts on “2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13

  1. ToniBee3

    p’cola pluviophile

    it could pour down for a week
    it could pour down till i squeak
    it could pour down till the crystals
    in the sands grow a beak

    it could pour down as the sun
    shines pleasantries through and o’er
    the emerald green coast where
    my feet prints the shore

    it could pour down downtown
    where palafox meets the pier
    where i park my car and pop
    my seat back to the rear

    and crack my window ‘fore
    i shut my eyes to snooze
    to the pounding of the pings
    that plays me a berceuse

    it could pour down in my real
    it could pour down in my dreams
    for its the pounding of the pings
    that pours a peace inside me

  2. Brandi Noelle

    Alpine Memories

    Sometimes the best memories
    Begin on an old dirt road
    Away from the chaos of city streets
    Where the skyscrapers climb to tower
    Mountains are the only peaks
    That kiss this country sky
    Their rocky hills trailing on forever

    Listen!
    Can you hear the melody?
    The crickets play their strings
    In graceful harmony
    Bullfrogs croak out the bass line
    From the creek just up the road
    A lone coyote howls his solo
    At the moon high in the night sky

    Stars!
    They glitter the heavens
    Millions of twinkling lights
    Sweeping across the vastness
    Joining the spotlight of the moon
    To cast a haunting glow
    On that old dirt road
    Where one gazes at their brilliance

    Stop!
    Take a walk with me
    Down this old dirt road
    Smell the sweetness from the garden
    Cherry tomatoes on the vine
    Watch a lightning storm on a summer night
    Brave the warm winds from Santa Ana
    Join me in my memories

    Down this old dirt road

  3. Holly

    Last night on post
    August 19, 1970

    Huron lightship
    Last one on Great Lakes

    BEEEE, BEEEE-YOH
    awoke me the first morning in
    our new home
    in Port Huron.
    Voice sounds like Grandpa’s
    Is he here?
    No, a fog horn.
    Fog lifted and six miles offshore
    I saw
    a ship sitting still.

    through childhood years a friend.
    When nightly terrors swirl, just look out
    the window
    friendly shine on water.
    Acetylene lens lantern 300mm
    guiding ships to Saint Clair’s mouth
    and providing a standard
    for boasting imagined
    prowess of shore-dwelling parents.

    “My dad can swim out to the lightship!”
    “My dad can swim out, around it and back.”
    “My dad can swim out, around it and back. And so can my mom.”

    Tornadoes, nor’easters can overturn
    long spindly seaway freighters
    sending their cargoes ashore to
    surreptitious salvagers
    of serendipity.

    Last night on post.
    Title of photo cards for sale
    on deck of the Huron,
    moored museum.
    Black and whites
    taken that night from a Sea Skiff
    by Dad
    who couldn’t
    really
    swim that far.

  4. Walter J Wojtanik

    PARIS: NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL: THE BELL’S SANCTUARY

    They sit silent.
    Looking down upon Paris
    like the many stone sentinels who sit
    perched along the high pitched walls.
    The sanctuary offered is embraced,
    a hiding place from whence their song emanates.
    The deformed bellman lives no more,
    the score as written does not play.
    There is no song today;
    the bells hide away.

  5. LCaramanna

    New York City

    My oasis is an urban nature
    of skyscrapers reflecting
    my ambitions in windows
    illuminated by florescent lights.
    Beneath the concrete sidewalks
    rumbles my train
    to happiness
    as easy as take the A, B, C or 1,2, 3 –
    all I need is a MetroCard.
    Uptown, Downtown, Midtown,
    East Side, West Side, Lower or Upper,
    Hell’s Kitchen, SoHo, Chelsea, Greenwich Village –
    the neighborhoods seduce me
    with diverse attractions,
    sing out my name,
    lure me to their doors.
    Haunted by desire to become
    one in millions who call this City home,
    I plot my escape from reality,
    enter my New York City state of mind.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  6. Nancy Posey

    Not exactly a poetic masterpiece, but when I saw the prompt, I knew I needed a tribute to our Baker’s Dozen group that formed oh-so-many years ago when the volume of posts overwhelmed us. Some of us are still here at PAD, and many of us have met face to face or at least stayed in touch all this time. I know I probably omitted someone, but you know who you are. I do too.

    Baker’s Dozen

    You know who you are, my poet friends
    who found a place here, fellow wordsmiths
    drawn to likeminded people choosing
    to carve out a little time not only to compose
    but to share. We came to know each other
    through our humor, compassion, vivid
    details. Spread across the globe, we met,
    travelling vicariously to other towns
    and villages and cities large and small.
    We admired Connie’s patient parenting
    of grown children, grieved the loss
    of parents, mused at Iain’s cats and cast
    of characters. We knew Margo as Jodi
    and SE as Sharon. We knew Michelle’s
    children and her art, Terri’s yoga, wine,
    and local history. Laurie shared her
    poems and her story. Penny, Tonya, Linda—
    the news means more when we know
    how close it is to you. Sharon’s up
    the road a piece, Terri, just as close
    the other direction. Our circle extends
    to the larger PAD family, as we find
    ourselves slipping in and out of the posts.
    Better than a batch of eggs or donuts
    is a baker’s dozen of poets. My 13.

  7. KM

    13.
    Fredericton, New Brunswick’s Capital City. You see the sign announcing you’re there fifteen minutes before the edge of town breaks out of the woods. So many road trips in and out that you became familiar with the trick, but every time driving back, you’d feel that same strange mix of anticipation and annoyance. You are here, but you are not here yet. But then the turn off, the striated chunks of Canadian shield bordering the road as you drive past the car dealerships and fast food restaurants, the three-storey office buildings and that odd lighting store with too many bright chandeliers crowding its window — luxury and opulence so out of place in this straightforward town. The first time you came, you came to stay. To make it count, for your husband’s first big job and your baby’s first weeks of life. You had never even visited, never even seen the house you’d make a home for a year, yet when you pulled into the driveway and saw the old wooden steps and big picture window, you knew the place would fit. Like a Cinderella’s slipper made of soft yarn instead of glass. The kind of house, the kind of city, where a family takes root. And how perfect, just across the street, a huge natural park with trees so tall and green, you forgot to miss the sky.

    – Kim Mannix
    http://www.makesmesodigress.com

  8. Shennon

    Barcelona
    (A tribute to Gaudí)

    Scattered tiles
    Patchwork spires
    Sculptures defy
    Towers scratch skies
    The city that glorifies
    A man who brought dreams to life.

    –ShennonDoah

  9. tunesmiff

    PARIS
    G. Smith (BMI)
    -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
    Of all the honky tonks in the hill country,
    You hadda walk into mine;
    All those long neck bottles of beer,
    And you ordered up white wine.

    They told me you were bad luck,
    That you would drive me to drink;
    But I had to stop and ask myself,
    What right do I have to think?

    We said a whole lotta things that night,
    Before you went away;
    And when we got down to it,
    There wasn’t anything left to say.

    Where were you that last night?
    I wouldn’t face it if I could;
    But if I gave it any thought,
    I know I probably should.

    But I guess…
    We’ll always have Paris,
    And those Texas nights,
    U along the Red River,
    The Lone Star shining so bright.
    But way down here in Waco,
    It’s a-whole-nother life;
    You once were my girl,
    Now you’re another man’s wife.

    You might as well take Cupid’s arrow,
    And shoot me in the heart;
    It won’t make that much difference,
    It’s my least vulnerable part.

    I realize I’m not alone,
    Not the only one to lose you, Girl;
    I guess you could say that makes me,
    A citizen of the world.

    And we’ll always have Paris,
    And those Texas nights,
    U along the Red River,
    The Lone Star shining so bright.
    But way down here in Waco,
    It’s a-whole-nother life;
    You once were my girl,
    Now you’re another man’s wife.

  10. ReathaThomasOakley

    Billings, Montana

    had no center,
    far as I could tell
    those days I first
    explored it, a bride
    transported from
    the hot, lush, green
    southern city
    laid out classic
    Spanish mission style
    cathedral, Plaza,
    government houses
    all where they all
    belonged, but I was
    wrong, Billings had a
    center, he was the one
    built around an empty
    space.

  11. Marie Elena

    Storybook, OH

    As I think back,
    I feel where I was raised
    was “Storybook, Ohio.”

    I feel the pride
    as I ride my new blue bike
    with bicycle spoke beads clicking,
    announcing that I learned to ride
    a two-wheeler.

    I hear the sing of our front porch swing,
    and I can see my cousins’ house
    right across from us – the prettiest
    house on the street.

    I smell the wallpaper paste
    as Grandpa papers my bedroom walls
    with the prettiest pink floral paper.
    It almost matches my summer pajamas,
    and my bed doll’s dress.

    I feel the soft blanket beneath my legs,
    as I look up into the summer sky,
    my cousins all around,
    oohing and awing at
    Fourth of July fireworks.

    I hear drum cadence announce my
    favorite time of year,
    with its chill in the air.
    I watch in awe as greens become
    goldens, reds, and pumpkin orange.
    Enormous trees line every street,
    and grace every front lawn.

    And the snow. Oh, the snow.
    Softly falling, glistening,
    silently begging Santa’s sleigh
    to arrive soon, filled to the brim.
    Skating rinks and sledding hills
    in abundance, waiting for a good
    “snow day.”

    The smell of warm spring rains,
    washing the streets clean,
    filling Dad’s and my fishing hole,
    leaving gifts –
    a splish-splash-splatter cache of
    puddle-giggles.

    Yet, perhaps … just, perhaps…

    … my mind whitens
    the gray-splashed, curbside snow.
    Perhaps it skips over
    the clumsy little girl who
    struggled to leave
    training wheels behind,
    and whose weak ankles and fear of falls
    made ice skating days long and cold,
    watching sister and cousins have fun.
    Perhaps my mind didn’t realize at the time
    that life in the rustbelt could be harsh, and …
    rusty.

    Yes, perhaps.

    But one thing my mind knows well,
    is that it didn’t detract from my magical childhood.
    Because one thing I had in abundance was love.
    Love makes for a storybook childhood, no matter
    where you live, or what you possess.
    So yes, I’ll look back at my hometown,
    and I’ll see it as
    Storybook, Ohio.

    And I’ll forever wish everyone
    could have grown up there.

  12. Kiri

    AUSTIN (I STOLE THESE LINES FROM BETTER POETS)

    Driving through the diabolic steel jaws

    of downtown and all my little traumas,

    their snapping, flashing fangs and raking claws

    race across my memories like bloodied commas,

    making pauses too long to remember

    any of the clever words that came before them
.
    The traffic stalks slowly, like the end of December.
    Cars kneel rubber-kneed as the asphalt adores them

    while everyone rushes to the city to be alone,
    
to find themselves blinking brightly out of phase

    with the crowds of street light neon fashion clones
    
and the combustion rhythm that an engine plays.

    There are no stories here, no matter where you look.

    We are just the crumpled pages, cut from the best-selling book.

  13. RJ Clarken

    Philadelphia Will Do

    “I’d like to see Paris before I die… Philadelphia will do.” ~W.C. Fields

    City of Brotherly Love, thou art,
    of Phillies, Sixers, Flyers.
    Where Eagles fly, you personify
    everything a beating heart desires.

    Museums, universities and
    those scullers on the Schuykill.
    You personify where Eagles fly.
    You’re casual and yet you’re ducal.

    And let’s not forget the restaurants
    which satisfy each palate.
    Where Eagles fly, you personify
    with wine, butter, bouillon and shallot.

    So, Dear City of my (long-past) birth,
    I celebrate your splendor.
    I’ll visit (I’ll try) where Eagles fly,
    as I can, now as a weekender.

    I may see Paris ‘ere I die, but
    Philadelphia will do.
    You personify where Eagles fly
    in each neighborhood’s own point of view.

    ###

  14. MHR

    This poem isn’t very “we built this city,” like (which I love and thought that was fun to post the video here) but it’s been an idea on the edge of my mind after a similar situation that I finally pieced together with this prompt. titled, “loose change.”

    i was in dc in august,
    walking with my hands in my pockets:
    i had nothing else in there but my wallet,
    full of loose change and bland words on plastic…
    that’ll get me places, my id and my drivers license.
    i saw him selling wilted roses on the streets of dc,
    it was chilly that day; he wore a bullet-hole riddled t-shirt,
    underneath the gunpowder and grease splotches i think it was a light gray-
    but i’m not sure;
    his jeans were unintentionally shredded but- hey kid, if you want them,
    i’m sure he would trade and you can pretend they’re Gucci.
    now he’s holding out a single scarlet rose and trying hard to smile to seal the deal-
    in hindsight, i should have carried twenty dollars, let him have it and keep the change.
    now i’m left to wonder what life thought that he owed it,
    to let him continue on in such desolate situations.

    MHR.

  15. candy

    Pittsburgh

    you are such a diva
    expecting everyone
    who sees you to ooo and ahhh
    when you appear, unexpectedly,
    the proverbial light at the
    end of a tunnel
    you are caressed by
    the arms of three rivers
    adorned with yellow
    and blue arching tiaras
    that sparkle in the darkness
    and we adore you

  16. lsteadly

    Where In the World

    If you were given
    the choice to go
    to Mars would you

    colonize a new city
    built in red dust
    under a fresh swath of stars

    or would you stay here
    to fight for a settling
    under these graying blue skies

  17. Bruce Niedt

    Glassboro, 1967

    They called us a “sleepy little college town”
    on the news that day in June, when they announced
    that President Johnson and Soviet Premier Kosygin
    would meet midway between New York and Washington
    on the state college campus, at Hollybush Mansion.
    By the end of that week, the Six-day War in the Mideast
    was winding down, and Vietnam was cranking up.

    Our high school band got the news
    while at a competition in Virginia.
    Our chaperones frantically changed our plans
    and got us back to New Jersey just in time
    to play for Kosygin’s motorcade and it passed
    the college parking lot. The town teemed
    with locals, news reporters and cameras,
    all in good spirits, hoping perhaps that the Cold War
    would thaw just a little for those three days.
    We cheered both the leaders, and people began
    to talk about “The Spirit of Glassboro”.

    There were no real protestors, although a friend of mine
    carried a sign that read “Cliff Kolmeier for President”.
    He got some worried looks from the Secret Service.
    “He’s my geometry teacher,” he explained. “I thought
    this would shut up his big mouth.” The newspapers,
    however, misquoted him with a kinder sentiment.

    The two men didn’t come to any real agreement,
    but the meeting was amicable,
    and probably helped ease the tensions of the time.
    Still, it’s now just a footnote in history,
    and I left town for good a few years later.

  18. Earl Parsons

    Mars Hill

    Not a city
    Barely a town
    In The County
    Canada to the East
    North of Houlton
    Southeast of Presque Isle

    One small mountain
    Barely more than a hill
    With a ski lift
    And golf course
    But not much more
    ‘Cept for Al’s Diner

    Main Street is just
    The road through town
    That many travel
    But few ever stop
    Except for the stop sign
    If going straight through

    Mars Hill, Maine
    The town of my birth
    If you’re ever there
    Say ‘Hi’ to my Mom
    Have a cup of coffee
    And count all her cows

    © 2017 Earl Parsons

  19. Carmen Maldonado

    Welcome to Sleep City
    population: 1
    or many
    depending on the
    weather, depending on
    the henny-penny—
    sorry, on the sun’s rays when he
    eclipsed behind
    the moon’s phase—plenty, plenty!

    But never mind her, she is
    too busy being pale
    between the stars
    white waves rising
    enormous howling—
    ah, to bottle the night and drink!

    Pay attention, citizen,
    to the shimmying
    of leaves
    translated to
    bosom heaves, to
    quiet laughter under eaves
    to delicate weaves
    of silk and linen
    draped over what a child believes.

    The ground, too, rises
    with your breath
    and it is your very living
    that brings the dead
    to the surface—
    try not to collapse under this riddle.

    Night a fell dark spider
    dreams each a leg
    a-jitter;
    the sun is drunk, he
    has passed out.
    You can hear the moon a-titter—
    just try to quit her, the
    radiant whore!—
    but I am not bitter.

    The nerves are cups. The
    bones are cups. All
    is for filling and still
    we come back
    to plot the dark, to
    walk down an unreal road.

    Now leaving Sleep City
    population: 1
    or many
    the night hordes
    with their night language
    glibly catastrophic
    stalking, skulking
    away to the south, to the
    infinite relief of the blind buildings.

  20. Sara McNulty

    New York City

    This city’s skyline shines in pretty
    sapphire and white lighting up night. Women
    and men, arm in arm, stroll in wonder
    ’round the skating rink, Rockefeller Center, where
    a giant spruce awaits its debut. This is my
    favorite place in Winter, watching skaters glide, secrets
    whispered on ice as partners whirl. The rink lies
    at center wreathed by shops of costly Christmas gifts
    and fancy gold-wrapped chocolates. Only one section
    of diverse delights in New York City.

  21. cbwentworth

    I. Phoenix

    coyotes howl
    at brake lights and horns
    urban sprawl

    II. London

    sidewalks
    barely dry brace
    for more rain

    III. Dublin

    buskers play
    the sound of change
    Grafton Street

    IV. Edinburgh

    a dim sunset
    darkens cobbled streets
    pub lights glow

  22. robinamelia

    New York City 1980s

    I.

    In the City, Post Offices could be vast
    as museums: floors of shining marble,
    green lamps, brass trash receptacles.
    Nevertheless, the lines were long.
    Once, while waiting on one, I fell in love.
    He was carrying a package: our eyes met.
    It was so hot the chandeliers seemed to shake.
    I held my place in line. He collected his mail,
    and left. I never saw him again.

    II.

    One day I received a letter meant for a man
    who lived across the street. Different building:
    same apartment number. I hope that what
    happened was I quickly ran a letter opener
    through a batch of mail, and only checked
    the addresses later, but it seems odd:
    I didn’t get that much personal mail, even then.
    When I saw the intended recipient, I realized
    I had heard of him, even seen his picture:
    he was famous in the art world. Ran a museum.
    The letter writer expressed her regrets
    about the way they had parted, years before,
    reflecting on their various flaws.
    It seemed a calm, and fair assessment.
    He would probably like to have it.
    Eventually, I put it in a fresh envelope
    and sent it on.

  23. MET

    Shadow, where the Soupmaker lives

    A town of secrets…
    Nestled in the mountains
    Where mountain people still live.
    Salt of the earth
    Plain spoken people,
    Who live in the shadow
    Of Tate mountain…
    Where the old woman lives
    With enough secrets
    To fill a hollow
    Who likes to sit
    On her cliff’s edge
    In the glide chair,
    Smoking her pipe
    Blowing circles of smoke
    And watching the swallows
    Dance in midair
    And prays
    For wisdom in
    Her foolish life,
    Where the old cabin
    Where Grannie Tate
    Once lived…
    She keeps quilting needles
    For whoever stops by
    To seek out advice or
    Just to talk
    While her old cat Dezia
    Sleeps in the sun
    On the front porch.
    As the sun begins to set
    She goes back to her home
    Built of rock and stone,
    And a patio that goes to the mountains edge
    And the stars are so close you can catch them
    And throw them back again…
    There she makes a huge pot of soup
    For whomever may come
    To sit down for a tale
    She might tell
    While she serves them
    Hot soup and cornbread.
    There she will let go
    Of the secrets she has carried
    Like a tote sack on her back
    Weighing her down with troubles
    Placed one by one in
    That Calico tote sack,
    And strapped on her by her father.
    At the day’s end
    She will step out to the edge
    With her best friend Graham,
    And take a swig of whiskey
    And never think about what might have been
    For what is done is done…
    Can’t ever really take anything back.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 13, 2017

    1. MET

      Shadow is an imagery town in the Mountains of NC…. and where Sardis lives…Dark Corner which I wrote of earlier was a community whose name changed but in this story it does not… and it is where she spent her first nine years….and I grew up with terms like tote sack…I can speak mountain whenever I am around my people…

  24. seingraham

    A HILL TOWN IN ITALY

    Before I began to travel with the love of my life
    I dreamed only about visiting well-known places
    Paris, London, Rome, and, New York – the big cities
    But when we got ready to explore, I learned my guy
    had always wanted to go to Provence – who knew?
    And in Italy, my yen for Tuscany revealed itself …
    to me! We didn’t have big bucks, but were past
    backpacking and hostels so started to research
    the latest cost-saving fad – rental agencies that
    were springing up faster than vetting’s could keep up.

    We did our homework and had to admit, there were
    savings to be had, and there were lots of testimonials
    so, if one was willing to put in the time and research
    before signing any dotted lines … We were, and we did.
    We went from having a tiny swiss-army style unit
    in central Paris (every inch of it unfolded to reveal another
    useful item, all within 300 square feet), to a magnificent
    wrap-around penthouse place in Vence, a small town
    in Provence overlooking the Cote d’Azure, before heading
    for Certaldo Alto – and our refurbished castle in Tuscany.

    This was the only place I worried about; it was the first
    time it had been rented so there were no testimonials
    or references to check, and its price was so reasonable,
    it seemed too good to be true – a renovated castle?
    Oh – how bad could it be? Not bad at all, as it turned out.
    Our castle in Certaldo Alto was medieval – and while
    refurbished, it still maintained all its original glory.

    The place took up one whole floor and so had windows
    that looked out in every direction. Out the master
    bedroom, we gazed across vineyards and olive groves
    to the stately towers of San Gimignano.
    The kitchen looked across fields and some farms to
    the town of Certaldo, just visible down below – it
    also faced where the moon rose, and we were lucky
    enough to see the full-moon be born over the horizon,
    a couple of the nights we were there – a spectacular
    sight indeed.

    One smaller bedroom looked down at the piazza of the
    town we were in and we could observe everyday life
    going on, as well as the funicular taking townspeople
    and guests up and down the hill to the main town and
    the train-station.
    The other small bedroom looked down a street and at
    the tower attached to a museum. It is Giovanni Boccaccio’s
    birthplace, and houses over 7,000 copies of the
    Decameron, his famous work – in multiple languages.
    Not only was he born here, he came home to this
    house to complete writing the Decameron.

    It will sound fanciful, I know, but at night when I
    wandered the narrow pathways in this medieval town
    (there were no vehicles allowed up top), I would
    swear the great poet joined me on my sojourns.
    Walking silently beside me at first, he would
    speak to me of his own misgivings eventually,
    how unsure he’d been about the Decameron,
    that he’d thought it wasn’t worth much and
    that he’d almost given up on it many times.
    I couldn’t imagine that even someone as talented
    as this great man, had suffered from such insecurities.
    It was vaguely comforting to hear his tales.
    I felt as if I’d been led to this town in Tuscany
    explicitly to meet with Boccaccio’s ghost,
    to learn of his struggles and receive his
    encouragement – it was as if he was saying
    I shouldn’t give up, that he knew what it was like,
    and that in the end – it’s all about the work – I agreed.

  25. MET

    It is a strange town

    Mt. Carmel was railway town…
    With cotton mills and a cotton gin,
    But the cotton mills gin closed;
    The railway’s tracks
    Grow weeds
    For no train rides those rails, and
    Those rails will be pulled up
    To make way for walkers.
    They say the first act
    Of the Revolutionary war
    In South Carolina
    Was at Fort Charlotte
    Now under a manmade
    Lake Thurman …
    (Or Clark’s Hill-depending
    What state you live in)
    One of three lakes
    That killed the Savannah River.

    It is a strange town
    The people watch you
    Cautiously as you ride
    Passing them sitting
    In straight back chairs…
    Welcoming
    They are not.
    I always check for gas
    I do not want to stop…
    If the sun is close to setting.
    It is the kind of town
    That zombies or vampires might inhabit…

    It seems poor and lost
    And left behind
    When it was no longer a boom town,
    And now more ghosts
    Than people live there.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 13, 2017

    1. MET

      This town for some reason spooks me and I have ended up many a time riding thru it at twilight and the truth be known it always seems dark to me when I am there…

  26. Anthony94

    Let the Seasons Lay their Wreathes

    The city on our zipcode is somewhere
    to the east through a little rambling
    burg of Craftsmen and bungalows,
    goats alongside German Shepherds
    abandoned cars, the cultivator that
    died two decades ago left alongside.

    We don’t live in a city at all, but on
    a twist of highway leaving three
    and heading on into Broken Arrow
    winding past Beagle, skipping
    Centerville and Parker. Like beads
    on a prayer chain, these little

    cities once were peopled, dotted
    with diners, the school collapsed on
    the corner, churches on all four.
    Now there’s just Nikkee’s filling station
    where glass bulb tanks are kudzu sculptures
    and pigeons roost in splintered rafters.

    Flea markets spring up in every garage,
    yesterday’s yard sale discounted today.
    Biggest city closed its newly remodeled grocery
    after a mere six months so now it’s twenty
    plus miles to the box store and yellow busses
    leave in the dark for the consolidated high school.

    Weekends, church pews creak from old wood
    and bad knees, canes tapping out a new
    percussion and pastor saying how he won’t
    pass the bread because he has a cold,
    the listing of the sick and deceased almost
    half of the weekly bulletin, the plate small.

    We stick to the highway as if to ward off
    some disease, know that city name to be just
    a space we don’t claim except for the post office
    and the pizza place to refuel along the highway.
    We hold no favorites among the disappeared,
    let the seasons lay their silent wreaths.

  27. headintheclouds87

    Sapphire City

    In the depths of daydreams
    Far beyond glaring normality
    Lies my coveted creation,
    A safe haven of serenity,
    Known simply as Sapphire City.

    There are no dusky secrets
    In streets shimmering and clear,
    No men behind curtains
    Like in a certain Emerald kingdom
    Soaked in murky green deception.

    No, my city has nothing to hide
    Or any covert words inside
    Its transparent towers
    That reveal all to denizens below
    Denying nothing, all is known.

    This is the pristine paradise
    That shines in a wandering mind
    Where no one needs to hide
    Their supposedly fragile side
    In this place likewise glass-like.

  28. MET

    Let’s take a ride and go to Corn Pone

    IT wasn’t much
    Little Corn Pone…
    One street a few shops, but
    It was the only town
    I knew that the Mayor
    Got to name the town.
    They usually after being elected
    Renamed it Corn Pone, but
    Sometimes a contrary mayor
    Would be elected, and
    Town might be
    Jim or Ed…
    Didn’t matter too much.
    The street, the stores,
    And the people remained the same, and
    They still called it Corn Pone.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 13, 2017

  29. MichelleMcEwen

    Genoa City

    No school
    meant The Price is Right
    then the news then
    The Young and the Restless
    which mama and daddy both watched.
    Daddy was more into it than
    mama was ‘cause she preferred
    Santa Barbara with Eden
    and Cruz. Daddy loved him some
    Victor Newman though
    and, later, Drusilla.
    Sometimes
    he’d have the TV real loud
    so he could hear it in the bathroom while
    he shaved, while he got ready
    for the 3 to 11 down at the post office.
    Mama would just shake her head
    at her soap-opera-lovin’ husband.
    Years later, watching
    The Young and the Restless
    on my own, when the world found out
    Phyllis was really Sheila
    with Phyllis’s face, it was daddy
    I called first ‘cause it was daddy
    who’d care the most,
    who’d have the same
    goosebumps.

    1. pipersfancy

      My family were devout followers of “Coronation Street”, the long-running British daytime drama. And I must admit… in high school, I feigned illness more than once to keep abreast of the story line… My dad was a big fan.
      it was daddy
      I called first ‘cause it was daddy
      who’d care the most,
      who’d have the same
      goosebumps.
      I love this!

  30. writinglife16

    DETROIT

    Nestled within the
    waterways that are
    the Great Lakes
    sits Detroit.
    This grand lady
    has seen much and heard even more.
    Like the birth of two nations
    and a state.
    She has survived
    fires, riots, and bankruptcy.
    And the scandals…well,
    a lady doesn’t spread gossip.
    She never gave up.
    Like most grand ladies,
    she kept her head high
    and kept moving on.
    And she still does.

  31. MET

    Exit Question

    On the Way to Cincinnati
    There is an exit for Morrow, Kentucky…
    I wondered if the people
    Who live close by
    Ever say
    “I am going tomorrow to Morrow.”

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 13, 2017

  32. SarahLeaSales

    Grammarcity Park

    Grammarcity Park had two regions—
    the rotten North Egg,
    and the equally rotten South Egg—
    hatched by two gangs known as
    “The Pros” and “The Seven Cons”
    (the latter also known as “The Fanboys”).

    Though such activity was criminal
    in this dark city—
    overpopulated with commas,
    nightly knifings with em dashes,
    and unclean colons—
    little was done to muck out
    this den of corruption.

    One night of Celtic Thunder,
    the Fanboys decided the only way
    to defeat the South Pros
    was by appealing to the Chicago-style
    gubbermint,
    and, in the name of equality,
    forcing them to become
    gender-neutral,
    thus stripping them of their
    individuality—
    the core of their identities.

    And so, while the Pros were trying
    to figure who was who
    and what end was up,
    “The Fanboys” band played on,
    still making connections.

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