New House in the Suburbs, Paul Klee
1924 – National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

“Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast. It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye.”  Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

This clapboard suburban house is not like my Sidto’s, a
house with hydrangea blossoming below the front window,
purple and mauve, in a place where big maples gave us
their charming seed pods, those green whirlybirds
that quivered in the wind while determined dandelions
climbed their way to sunshine through breaks between
the cement squares that formed our sidewalks, a kind of
serendipitous geometry from the Office of City Planning

No, this suburban house is not a bit like Sidto’s where
air-raid sirens sounded at noon each day, disturbing
the otherwise peaceful hours of playing out front or
in the tiny kiddie pool on the second floor balcony,
the sun glinting in gold and red sparks off cousin
Linda’s light brown hair, the breezes drawing smoke
from Aunt Mildred’s cigarette to mingle with white
clouds milling above us and a blue sky offsetting
the pale jade waves of the Hudson, no … it’s not

At all like my Sidto’s self-effacing home, this suburban
abode brags and postures with its professionally tended
Kentucky bluegrass lawn, hapless whirlybirds imprisoned,
packed with the cuttings and fallen leaves into bags for
trash collection on Tuesday; this suburban house, painted
In pastels closely approximating the colors of Sidto’s
hydrangea, boasts an in-ground swimming pool out back,
fiberglass and cement, replacing the blue vinyl inflatable,
and here closets stand behind sliding doors, making
armoires unnecessary, an expensive antique indulgence
for those with the bucks and real estate to accommodate

Not at all like my Sidto’s house, no pedestrian chain-link
fences here, poplar trees separate one property line from
the next and dogs are leashed to prevent trampling the
neighbor’s flowers; a huge wall-bracketed television claims
access to three-hundred channels, a technology fallen from
a reasonable seven on a compact Motorola stored in a corner
awaiting special shows in that time before television as lifestyle;
and by day we didn’t have calendars filled with playdates,
we romped by the front stoop with its easy and spontaneous
access by neighbor kids and by adults coffee klatching over
home percolated joe, sipped slowly from six-ounce china cups

The new suburban house has a long drive and three garages,
multiple cars for trips to shops, school, and worship, walking now
a custom of treadmills, health clubs, and routine post-prandial strolls
or weekend hikes in the country; our room-sized closets and other
storage bare witness to our hoarding, which will find its way to
land fill and fish tummies, and our generous pantry is packed with
prefabricated foods and poor canned facsimiles of Sidto’s
cinnamon-scented chicken soup, secretly seasoned with love
and family traditions and I have to ask: Have our lives grown
larger or just our living space and our carbon footprint?

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

* Sidto (Arabic) – grandmother


“The New Suburban House” painting featured above triggered for me the memory of my grandmother’s simple economical home and homely customs as compared to many modern-day developed-world extravagances. This week use the painting as the jumping off point for your own poem in whatever way you are inspired and

  • 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


Poems submitted on theme in the comments section here will be published in next Tuesday’s collection. Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published. If you are new to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, be sure to include a link to your website, blog, and/or Amazon page to be published along with your poem. Thank you!

Deadline:  Monday, April 27th 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.

Jamie Dedes:

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  1. “Sticky Summer Morning”

    Daybreak mimicking Homer’s “rosy-fingered Dawn”
    (once hammered into my head by a high school literature teacher)
    attacked the starkly white aluminum siding
    on the boxy property
    my parents had built just before I turned two.

    They’d never predicted
    that an accountant a decade my senior
    would someday park his sedan in the driveway
    under the basketball hoop –
    where my brother and I played “H-O-R-S-E” –
    after said sibling and Mom and Dad had departed
    for an August adventure in Boston that I’d
    flaked out on
    following one of our gargantuan arguments

    or that the visitor would deflate my dream of what
    my deflowering would look like,
    unfolding on the family room floor as
    a poorly-paced procedure between
    a basket of oily onion rings and a
    yawning goodbye,
    but I didn’t regret the “meh,”
    since it had to happen sometime,
    and at least I’d proved I wasn’t
    too grotesque for sex,
    as some of my classmates had concluded,
    so I raced through my prayers and nestled
    on the settee for an
    air-conditioned nap
    as a black-and-white sitcom
    flickered across the TV.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. house in the suburbs..

        was not for me

        though i imagined it to be


        i would have wondered how

        it could  have been

        to live there

        new and important

        with parents tidy

        neat garden and no bashing ever

        not in that house


        maybe that is where it happened

        behind the shiny clapboard

        the neat hair and spectacles

        foul mouths hidden

        tempered by gins those

        other nasties

        came gathering here

        hidden in the shiny


        my honeys

        oh really

        down in the cellar

        not painted so fine

        Liked by 2 people

  2. this is the house I dream of and long for
    on a beautiful piece of Gods Earth, where I
    first cried and opened my eyes, I am told
    It was a cool evening of June otherwise hot
    It was my Grandma’s house, made of strong
    wood and and a roof of iron sheets-

    logs burnt in a small brazier kept inside the room-
    the place a hill station built around a lake, bordered
    by the River Jhelum-houseboats lined the lakeside,
    but my grandma’s house was on land, with trees
    around a small lawn, and a small vegetable garden

    but I have heard only stories about the house
    never saw it nor ever will, the real houses are fading
    ‘we shall meet in a house in heaven’ father used to
    say,’pray for that for that is real’ , and so he left this
    world, and grandfather too and grand mother even
    before him- all in a home in heaven-

    and now we say, ‘stay home stay safe’ as safe as
    houses indeed. but not always, not in war with bombs
    falling and shells blasting’ but perhaps in a pandemic
    of the Corona kind,
    O heart mind and soul, true love strong faith breaks all
    roofs,distances, spaces and walls
    houses or no houses, the faithful are, will be together
    all culture erased all traditions wiped out-life’s uncertainty
    matters not for new ones, memories survive like tender
    butterflies as love and life itself flutters with colors
    fragrance and the softness of a pansy flower.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. For we have forgotten in the fog of ages, the sparkling of gems and whirlybirds, those little hands had grasped.
    A wonderful longing here for that rarest of things, the incense of the past…

    Liked by 2 people

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