From the Churches and the Houses, a poem … and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

Are you in the huts of the poor, consoling the
Broken-hearted with the sweetness of your soul, and
Filling their hands with your bounty?
A Lover’s Call, Khalil Gibran



this is no city of ultimate bliss,
the traffic is backed up to kingdom come

and the streets are a scrimmage, full and rough,
teeming with feral bits of hope and hunger

the people here are virtuous though,
ripe with love for one another, for Christ and music

hear the music winding, insinuating
and tumbling from la iglesia y las casas

the rents are morbidly obese, don’t you know?
though the wages and hours are skeletal

too often along B Street and downtown,
a man begs a cigarette, a woman begs for lunch

© 2019, Jamie Dedes

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

I chose to write about the poor part of town, but you don’t have to do that unless you are inclined. Tell us in your poetry about a city or a particular part of a city in which you’ve lived.

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose

PLEASE NOTE:

  • only those poems on theme and shared in the comments section under this post will be published. 


Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, September 2 by 8 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

21 thoughts on “From the Churches and the Houses, a poem … and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

  1. Hello Jamie! Here is my submission for this prompt – inspired by my trip to Paris this summer.
    ****
    Salt of the City – A Haibun

    They were mostly tall, thin, and dark skinned like the softest black velvet. Their clothes hung on them. Their feet in flip-flops covered with dust. Yet their voices were strong, offering their wares in accented English – mini Eiffel towers, larger Eiffel towers, ones that light up as if it were covered with fireflies, ones that were staid. Their bodies seemed strong, carrying large sacks of these trinkets to different parts of the park. The odor of their sweat was strong, evidence of their hard work in the heat.

    They stood out among the tourists – they were their working, laboring under the sun – while we were there for fun, our choice to stand in lines under the sun.

    Maybe they arrived in this city with a degree or some other skills; definitely they arrived with hope. Yet their labor in the City of Lights seemed to diminish the light in their own eyes.

    Summer’s salty sweat
    Seasons the immigrant’s work
    Hope masks bitterness

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Down The Old End

    Some of them survived
    until the mid-60’s,
    waited to be demolished
    like rows of smoke-stained teeth.

    Birmingham’s back-to-backs,
    three walls out of four
    joined to the next dwelling
    and, through covered alleyways,
    courtyards with communal privies,
    a streetlamp and clothes lines.

    This is where my Grandmother came
    as a young bride, took the key
    to 2/228, Cromwell Street, Nechells,
    and called it home.

    This was where she bloomed,
    thrived in a community
    of silversmiths, button makers
    and biscuit-factory workers.
    She reared four children,
    worshipped with them
    at the local Catholic church,
    kept her kettle on the boil
    for tea and gossip
    and bustled each day
    to the corner shop that sold
    bootlaces, tobacco and cough drops.

    She liked her spacious house
    in a leafy suburb,
    enjoyed a hot bath
    filled by water from the tap
    but still hankered
    after “the old end”,
    told how neighbours
    drew comfort from one another
    and the shared red brick
    that weathered births, deaths
    and two world wars.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jamie, here’s my poem.

    Bangalore through the window

    Like dairy-free chocolate the square

    tiled yard sweats sultriness livened

    by sparks of music from the living

    room piano. Past the iron gate

    autos trundle as insistent as bikes

    that thunder in the lane where

    a listless dog drags a woman swinging

    her pointless cane past the vendor

    with sharp samosas in his voice

    smearing yesterday’s oil in today’s

    newspaper. Money plants struggle

    in verandas crammed with city

    life too preoccupied to care

    for other things besides.

    Pot-bellied and backpacked

    even pressured fore and aft

    an old man hangs in the balance

    (much like our existence) with

    eyes that rake the sky. It’s long

    overdue and not the way

    when he was young

    when it was greener.

    He tracks the points of no

    return as dominoes topple.

    Away from these musings

    a schoolgirl masticates to

    appease shooting hunger

    focused on a short-lived

    bargain from a kirana store.

    Keys ripple as a

    koel pleads in the soupy

    mirage for rain.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Backtrack

    You’ve changed, of course, since I saw
    you last, whispered Tarra a bit, Brum.
    You boast a glitzy New Street Station
    and the Reference Library’s a chapter
    in your history of bulldozed buildings.

    But I’ll recognise you after eight years.
    I’ll soon connect with your bustling hub,
    find my feet the moment my toes touch
    your pavements and I hear the ker-swish
    of bus doors and hum of passing shoppers.

    Don’t forget how many times I circled
    your heart. Bloodlines will pulse me down
    Corporation Street, over the traffic lights
    and into Priory Queensway, opposite Argos.
    I’ll wait at the 14 bus stand, check the fare.

    It’s the old route home through Nechells
    where Dad was born, the back-to-backs
    long gone except as names for the new estate.
    Rupert Street. Cromwell Street.
    Do you hear them echo in your bowels?

    Do you meet the friendly shade of Bridget,
    Dad’s Mom, on her knees and soaping
    her doorstep, greeting a neighbour across
    the yard? Or Ernie, his Dad, in a white muffler,
    striding to the millwrights at the edge of town?

    I’ll reach Saltley Gate then window-gaze
    through Alum Rock, where Mum grew up.
    Once, on my way to see her, a young couple
    caught the bus at the Gate and asked the driver
    if he could stop near Parkfield Road.

    Don’t know it, he said, and I called out:
    I’ll tell you when to ring the bell.
    I know where Parkfield Road is.
    I was born there,
    in my Granny Kate’s house.

    Like

  5. Down The Old End

    Some of them survived
    until the mid-60’s,
    waited to be bulldozed
    like rows of smoke-stained teeth.

    Birmingham’s back-to-backs,
    three walls out of four
    joined to the next dwelling
    and, through covered alleyways,
    courtyards with communal privies,
    a streetlamp and clothes lines.

    This is where my Grandmother came
    as a young bride, took the key
    to 2/228, Cromwell Street, Nechells,
    and called it home.

    This was where she bloomed,
    relished the inner-city community
    of locksmiths, button makers
    and biscuit-factory workers.
    She reared four children,
    worshipped with them
    at the local Catholic church,
    kept her kettle on the boil
    for tea and gossip
    and bustled each day
    to the corner shop that sold
    bootlaces, tobacco and cough drops.

    She liked her spacious house
    in a leafy suburb,
    enjoyed a warm bath
    filled by water from the tap
    but still hankered after the place
    she called the old end,
    told how neighbours
    drew comfort from one another
    and the shared red brick
    that weathered births, deaths
    and two world wars.

    Like

  6. My Friends City

    When I visit your page,it is as if I am visiting your place in a famous city
    a city of japanese gardens, a kaleidoscope of bright flowers,of music in the air
    reaching out it turns into a dream and I wish I was actually there-

    when I visit your page I feel the warmth of your hospitality, an aroma of a hot cup
    of coffee served with chocolate muffins and strawberries, bright sun
    shines through the window as

    your soft furry cat eyes me jealously and springs and slips around me finally landing
    onthe sofa, while you smile patiently, and I wish I had a
    cat if not anyone else around-

    when I visit your page I hear the cars and trucks on the road down below,
    an occasional siren or two, your city is so well planned and seems a lot
    in order so, unlike many others

    when I visit your page I find your city full of books and magazines, inhabited by talented
    gifted authors and poets,it gives me great joy to find
    a reading public lives nearby

    My visit to your page guides me through my thoughts, I compose words on paper
    and leave for you to see, and hope and pray that I may come again and again
    to leave all affection there and take love away

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The Two

    This was her tale of two cities,
    nothing revolutionary, only
    wide-eyed comparisons,
    each bearing its own
    pronounced individuality
    as she struggled to find
    a niche in one and then
    the other.

    One was born of strong
    politics and toughness and
    every winter a new coat and
    shoes. The other grew out
    of Quaker thought and old money
    and neighborhoods bearing
    the stamps of Ireland and Italy.

    Both she would long to leave as
    finding a niche was
    an ache that always plagued.
    She finally gave up her story,
    believing she could go
    anywhere and find home,
    only to realize the wrongness in her bones
    has made her battle weary
    (and longing again for
    a place).

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Dear Jamie Ji
    Some More Lines

    The Forbidden Birthplace

    Walking for more than half a day,she sat on a large stone by the deserted road
    thought how far now, the place of birth, just once she wished to set eyes on

    ‘all roads lead to unknown places, never go anywhere,stay where they are laid.
    Oh a passerby! please stop a while and tell me, have you seen the heaven here?

    ‘the heaven on earth, the land of fruit and flower gardens, and a lake full of boats
    yes,there is a place,where weather stays cool and fresh, vegetables grow in plenty

    No the passerby replied, ‘heaven can not be on earth,you are mistaken, this road
    leads to nothing but death and destruction, killing,shooting, and occupation by enemy

    Oh No,heaven is beautiful peaceful,green and glorious, with no killing or any pain
    where peace eternally prevails,contentment reigns,quietude rests as mountains protect.

    No, sorry’ the passerby walked away shaking his head.’Oh a horse rider’ trotting along
    Oh Rider please stop a while and tell me,have you seen the heaven here, quite near?

    ‘Hmm No, I don’t think heaven can be here. It used to be long ago,I heard people say so,
    but my horse and I are tired, in vain looking for grass and clean water,but nothing for miles

    O Farmer with your cow,please stop and tell me have you seen heaven here,nearby?
    O Sister Dear, go back go back, there is not a barn or a haystack, all broken and burnt

    the wooden huts with slanting roofs, lawns with pine and chinar trees, pansies and roses
    in flower beds, no more no more, you will find,nothing in air is clean and kind,all are blind’

    Oh No, what do these people say and why, how can a heaven on earth be so destroyed
    lush green hills be dry, lake devoid of lovely shikara boats,rows of graceful poplar trees

    that lined the road, seen no more, shops closed, windows and doors barred- smoky air
    the road is here,but no traveler travels, barbed wires cordon streets, all empty,unfair-

    O dear, the journey in vain, the quest remains, how places by enemies are overtaken
    birthplaces vanish in gunfire and teargas,bomb blasts, fires, stone and brick fights-

    Tis a pity how humans hate, cannot tolerate or follow advice,spread love and peace
    and grant the deserving rights, bless and comfort,fulfill each others basic needs –

    Alas, heart is heavy the spirit laden,no return ever to a birthplace called heaven
    majestic mountains pure air, sunny days filled with apples red,starry nights,gone

    All that remains are stories, heard, the house was wooden but shone like gold
    a home is no home,it has to be left or abandoned,’ a dream in life is all, to hold’

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Jamie Ji

    My Pine Scented Home Town,
    Abbottabad

    The last five miles are
    winding winding ways,
    As the bus turns the corners,
    I remember the winter days,
    Home, home on the range
    Reflecting autumnal grace,
    Before you know, its
    Behold ! the town itself, reveals,
    At its own, the evergreen stature,
    The Spiritual Presence of Nature

    Majestic melodious mountains,
    Blow the Highlanders March,
    of The Hundred Pipers.
    As early as cool February
    As fresh as is the month of May
    When Spring awakes
    and apple blossoms call,
    Soft snowflakes greet you,
    Sinking and vanishing, as they fall;

    Serenity intense, beauteous nature
    crisp and pure
    White and sure;
    Oh! Let me feast my eyes
    On the beauty of my town,
    Breathe in the sweet smell of pine,
    Oh! Let me live the truthful moments
    While they are there
    And let the freshness creep into my soul;

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A city lover….
    “”””””””””””””””””””””
    I’ve a home is my city and you gotta tell me
    what’s the city’s name?
    where a boy is insane and you couldn’t help
    but smile back.
    I cry out for God sake
    Tell me, where do you wish to be framed
    would you stay in a hotel ….yeah,
    From the churches, and the houses, a poem is out to the prayer.
    wish you all the best:
    Tell me what’s the city’s name?

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Respected Jamie Ji

    Some Lines from Rawalpindi City Pakistan

    Ah Old Harley Street, If Only You could Speak

    Where art thou? With All Thy Grace and Treat

    Where evening cool breeze would gently sweep

    And the open spaces would be free and neat;

    Where I learned to ride the bicycle and Greet

    My friends who came out to meet-

    Ah Harley Street! where art thou?

    With memories sweet-

    This same road where bell tingling horse driven tongas

    With strong horses and shining leather reins

    Would lift the learning loads and stay on the beat-

    At that time, this same road was all for residents

    No sounds, not even an innocent lambs bleat.

    Ah Harley Street! where art thou?

    So defiant in dilapidated defeat!-

    YOU seem to be there still serving in retreat-

    Though gone is the tar rubble crush and concrete;

    Ah Harley Street . All is not lost.

    Courage never to submit or yield-

    YOU have the BEST on YOU

    YOU are replete with –Institutes of Education

    Tuition Guidance and Dedication-

    But AH there’s the rub-

    The cuts craters humps and dilapidation-

    OH Lord, what are WE learning and teaching

    in this precarious condition? That is the question-

    Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer,

    the slings and jumps of outrageous travel

    The heart aches and

    thousand natural shocks that the flesh is heir to-

    Or to take arms against oceans of ditchy trouble..err. rubble-

    And by appealing begging imploring

    “Please Sir , may we have some more” Ah No!

    Or by opposing clean sweep them….?

    Who would bear the whips and scorns of time immemorial

    The laws delay, the repairs astray, the rains decay ; AH SILENCE!

    Do we continue to grunt and sweat under a weary life?

    Or has conscience made cowards of us all?

    AH Harley Street! If only you could speak’

    Liked by 1 person

  12. greetings and blessings from LA

    dissecting the Geneva Convention

    the summer is what it is here
    the humidity clinging to my tired skin
    like a crazy 50’s t.v. wife mockery
    on Wall there’s the law and then there’s us
    each side with glaring mutual understanding
    that nothing is being done
    no longer angels no longer devils
    Gods gone fishing and they won’t be coming back
    the species of Adam failed to keep their end of the
    Covenant with Noah and Jesus holy shit what have we done
    in life there is reason and there’s law
    inside the soul there is right and there is wrong
    inside the ego all is mine and nothing yours
    on Koehler there is a man who doesn’t know he suffers
    the fear he knows not himself prisoner of
    the bio-hazardous ecosystem freedom gone awry
    the filth the human shit the rage the insanity disease
    the pain addiction poverty starvation piss trash
    tears the waste of modern time
    no longer get through the stains of a life
    poorly lived or sorely wasted no logic
    no feelings no rhyming no Kingdom will come
    betwixt the cardboard and the shelter
    the damage has been done
    wage on me wage your wars
    indifference is your nuclear weapon

    Liked by 1 person

  13. BEASTLY BEAUTY

    Big city late night smogging
    Human volcano awaiting
    Final intolerance of life
    Neighborhood via drugs degrading

    Nominally safe inside row home
    Dangling a keychain of pepperspray
    Alone while sons at work today
    Overactive imagination spirals away

    Back home in humid Florida
    Gators move prehistorically
    Searching for mates in yards and swamps
    Devoid of any sensuality

    Here in my old hometown Philly
    Human hoards do the same
    Cruising in cars, buses and subways
    Any-cost sex, biological imperative aim

    Inside I strum guitar and read
    While some sad soul screams outside
    Teetering between two realities
    Alone on a great divide

    Where is the truth
    Worthy to compare?
    Or is beauty hidden
    Everywhere…?

    (c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens
    (Thanks, Jamie!)

    Liked by 3 people

    • THE DANCER Copyright Irene Emanuel.
      Static in the traffic,
      Sparks Road on a cool mundane morning.
      Selfishly sorting my day into easy
      slices of work and food,
      I blank-watch the robot.
      I disregard the news vendors so that
      I won’t note the latest crime statistic.
      I dismiss the sad eyes and life-weary palms
      aimed at my car window.
      I am in my motor-home,
      I am not seeing visitors today.
      Ahead is the corner vacant lot,
      charred by open fires and human detritus.
      Transient dwellers stirring their raggedness
      into their bleak empty day.
      Slow smoke-wisps swirl softly over
      the scandalous scene.
      As my eyes seek a prettier place,
      the cars inch forward and I see him;
      jumping through the smoke,
      a joyous spinning dancer,
      oblivious to his shocking surroundings.
      Raising his smiling arms to the grey sky,
      shouting his pleasure at being alive.
      Suddenly the lot is etched in gold
      and I am filled with gratitude for my good fortune.
      The green light beckons me onward as
      the dancer completes his pagan pirouette.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. .the little city.
    little place

    we did not live there really

    only in heart in memory

    power house

    god of clattering birds

    hills and history

    a place to look at cows

    look at

    clean houses

    pieces

    coffee small cakes

    pot jam

    trusted patrons

    we need to concentrate on detail

    to describe things properly

    need to

    go there each year a while

    to retain to remain in memory

    need to

    care for little things

    st david

    may be a myth a memory

    he carved it so

    said it was the centre of the universe

    for some it is

    so

    so

    st davids

    the city is in wales

    Liked by 3 people

  15. .bournemouth.

    come gently with birth

    come gently with life

    grow with the place

    until we grew beyond how it was

    beyond the culture and crowding

    thinking

    becoming unsettled

    moving

    retaining memory

    1.

    cycling the promenade hoping

    some one will love us some day

    baking down dunes

    walking down tracks

    barefoot hoping for less paving in town

    2. humbling for a home

    walking looking in windows

    will some one want us

    house us?

    3. finding the two above

    settling for the place where folk

    come to holiday beautiful

    while we work the bones of it

    the grit beneath

    bournemouth beautiful

    the reason beneath the move away

    is beyond any words i have just

    now

    where folk

    come to holiday beautiful

    Liked by 3 people

  16. .then there was manchester.

    maybe in the fifth visit i met him

    in the city in the thrift shop

    open

    from nine maybe till six or five thirty

    several buttons and an open face

    head

    adorned with patterns

    he opened easily

    recognised we are not robots

    despite the badges

    it is colourful in the city

    she mentioned it in suprise

    immediately apologised

    notice i talk more about people than

    the archtiecture though that was appreciated

    and wrote of it especially

    do you know i watched the pigeon paddle

    the parakeets flying

    crossed

    over the road carefully minding the trams

    the tram lines

    tripping gently forward

    we found ouy way together

    in manchester the fifth time

    Liked by 4 people

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