Theme: Write a poem about your hometown.
I wrote a story once that walked right off the pages.
Its readers gasped and held strawberry smoothies in hand and in tears
Wondered how the curves of letters could seem like those biodegradable straws
From the local coffee shop, delivering cold and sweet on humid days.
“You didn’t MEAN to remind me how cavernous the rotunda could seem
After hours when you could sit and watch the pendulum swing
Fifteen minutes off the posted time, wondering how the hell
The engineers got that calibration so wrong, did you?”
They still didn’t get my obsession with ships (and still don’t now)
But there’s just something about the majesties of smokestacks and
That red rust paint color so popular on freighters juxtaposed against
Blue waters and bright sky that gets the heart pumping, you know? (No?)
I squeezed the car into the lot behind the comic shop, mid-July,
And walked that 2.6 miles (slogged that 2.6 miles) down the pier
Through all those summer crowds, just to catch the way the lake
Swallows the sun like thyroid medicine, calibrating its metabolism.
(Please stop voting us one of the best beach towns in America;
The tourism is a love-hate relationship, and the historic district
Is lobbying hard against a parking garage. We could use one,
But it would block their sun and impinge upon our Victorian charm.)
I lived in a town once that walked right into my pages.
People sworn it was just the same as it ever was, and what a story that made!
I could still taste the roasted peanuts from the old Italian grocery
Where I cashed in a lotto ticket once and used the winnings on a bottle of Scotch.