Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Ode to a Pink House 
by Jacqueline Jules 

I see you two blocks away, 
from George Mason Drive. 
Naked in all your pink glory 
beside more demure 
brown and blue structures. 

You remind me of so many choices 
I abandoned in the paint store, 
afraid of annoyed neighbors 
and staring traffic. 

Maybe it’s time for me 
to stand on the corner, 
cheerfully pink like you— 
a two-story monument 
with neon green shutters, 
designed to disdain 
safe decisions 
at the intersections of life. 

Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the MuseumStronger Than Cleopatra, and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in over one hundred publications, including Poetica, Beltway Poetry NewsGargoyleInnisfree Poetry Journal, Potomac Review, Little Patuxent Review, and Hospital Drive. She lives in Arlington. “Ode to a Pink House” was first published in Spank the Carp. Visit www.jacquelinejules.com.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Ayers 
by Madelyn Rosenberg

The man says: 
I can probably find the holy grail in here 
if I look hard enough
But he is neither religious 
nor an archeologist 
and he finds, instead, 
an egg timer 
Molly bolts, copper pipes 
a batik scarf that would never be mistaken 
for a shroud 
plaster of Paris, mouse traps, baseball bats, 
suet 
a mason jar that will store brandied peaches 
too fermented to eat 
at some anonymous supper. 
He leaves with seeds 
and a vow to dig.

Madelyn Rosenberg is the author of eleven books for children, including How to Behave at a Tea Party and Cyclops of Central ParkThis Is Just a Test, written with friend and author Wendy Wan-Long Shang, was a Sydney Taylor honor book, a New York Children’s History Book prize finalist, and a Children’s and Teen Choice Book Award finalist. A freelance writer and editor, Madelyn lives with her family in Arlington. Visit her online at www.madelynrosenberg.com.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Darkest Days…Loneliest Nights
by Aaron R.

In my darkest day, in my loneliest night 
On my knees I pray, pray that I’ll be alright 
Is this the end of day? Will I ever see light? 
Waiting for God to say: My son, things will be alright 

Not worried about girls, not worried about fun 
Just want a healthy day—so far, I’ve had none  

The things I thought that mattered 
Like a mirror, they all have shattered 

Feel like I’m stuck with bad luck 
Thoughts about giving it up 
Thoughts about giving in 
Feels like I’ve had enough  

But I know I can win, if I just stay strong 
The light is ahead in the tunnel, if I can just hold on  

In my darkest day, in my loneliest night 
On my knees I pray, pray that I’ll be alright 
Is this the end of day? Will I ever see light? 
Waiting for God to say: My son, things will be alright 

Not worried about wealth  
Just worried about health 

Those material wishes can get stuck on a shelf 
I’m worried about self 
I’m not worried about everyone else 

A pain I’ve never felt  
Guess it’s the hand I’ve been dealt 

But it’s a reason to it—gotta find the silver lining  
It’s a season to it—God is doing some designing  

Maybe it’s refining: to a cleansed soul 
Still in my youth, getting encouragement from the old  

That I’ll be strong again  
That I’ll be me again 
Keep Him on my side, and I’m destined to win  

My thoughts went dark, and I couldn’t figure me out 
Tears in my eyes as I replied, this is what came out: 

In my darkest day, in my loneliest night 
On my knees I pray, pray that I’ll be alright 
Is this the end of day? Will I ever see light?
 
 
Then I felt God say: My son—things will be alright

Aaron R has lived in Arlington since 2009. His poem “Hunger Pains” was the winner of the inaugural World Food Day Poetry Competition sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations. His book Poetically Correct Volume 1 is currently available online. Aaron R also edits, directs, and produces his own poetry videos to bring to a poetic perspective to a myriad of situations that occur in society. http://aaronrpoems.com, https://www.youtube.com/aaronrthepoet.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


In the Suburbs You Can Have a Perfect Life 
by Susan Bucci Mockler

The dog sniffs a fire hydrant.   
The son shoots baskets until dark.   
The grass is sharply edged along the  
sidewalk.  
It takes only a moment for the man  
to forget he is father, husband, 
for his wife to become stone.  
He clenches his fist, brings back his arm, 
as though winding up for a pitch.   
The driveway is swept clean.   
Moths dart around the porch light.  
Dirt spills from the planter.  
The son runs away. 
The sky fractures.  
Fruit hangs low on the plum tree. 

Susan Bucci Mockler is the author of Noisy Souls. Her work has appeared in the Maximum Tilt Anthology, Crab Orchard Review, Poet Lore, Gargoyle, The Delmarva Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, The Cortland Review, The Paterson Literary Review, Lunch Ticket, Voices in Italian Americana, and the anthology My Cruel Invention, among others. She has been a poet in the Arlington County school system and teaches writing and literature at local universities. She lives in Arlington with her family. “In the Suburbs You Can Have a Perfect Life” first appeared in Lunch Ticket.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


March of the Leaf Blowers 
by Richard Peabody

They don’t use machines. 

Just get down on their knees 
and blow. 

Richard Peabody wears many literary hats: poet, writer, editor, teacher, publisher. He taught at Johns Hopkins University for fifteen years. His Gargoyle Magazine (founded 1976) released issue 71 in 2020. He has edited (or co-edited) twenty-six anthologies, including Mondo Barbie and A Different Beat. A new poetry volume, Guinness on the Quay, was published in 2019.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


“I Love Barbie Taylor. T. Mc.” 
by Miles David Moore

Graffiti spray-painted on a wall in Arlington, VA, now demolished 

It’s official now. T. Mc no longer  
loves Barbie Taylor—not for the commuters 
on I-395 who for eight thousand yesterdays  
read passion in three-foot schoolboy script. 
Today the bulldozers came, and romantic  
words became rubble, to be cleared away  
for the ritual mating of asphalt and earth. 

But what of real love? Did Barbie and T.’s  
live past demolition or die long before it? 
Did T.’s love leave the wall? Was Barbie’s ever there? 
When Barbie laid azure or emerald or onyx  
eyes on T.’s declaration, did she roll them  
in ecstasy or embarrassment? 
Did Barbie and T. find out too late  
that love can squall and soil itself,  
or wither in a stranger’s wink, or survive  
the fatal screech of cars against each other? 

Or did Barbie and T., a couple not perfect  
but comfortable with their familiarity,  
see their wall come down with a pang for youth  
so long gone, so shortly gone,  
hold hands for the millionth time, and wave  
at T. Junior walking with his first girlfriend? 
If the earth has an answer, the dozers drown it out. 
Their burring voices shake the overpass  
where “Todd Loves Tiffany” appeared last week  
and echo in the park, rustling the oak tree  
where Isaac has loved Maude a hundred years. 

Miles David Moore was founder of the IOTA poetry reading series, which he hosted in Arlington from 1994 to 2017. From 2002 to 2009, he was a member of the Board of Directors of The Word Works. His books of poetry are The Bears of ParisBuddha Isn’t Laughing, and Rollercoaster. “I Love Barbie Taylor, T. Mc.” first appeared in The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Homefront 
by Stephen Niedzwiecki 

It wasn’t the sands that tore us apart
And it wasn’t the job that made him leave
It was the words they said

It wasn’t the bombs or shells
But rather the words in Washington
That buried him in Afghanistan

The sand between his fingers
Now runs red
Under a false crusade 
For the drops of oil
That fuel their needs

The way his body fell
To the stained sand
Like the way
 He used to fall next to me
Unto the crevasses and folds of our bed
And I wish he was still lying next to me 

Stephen Niedzwiecki is a freelance writer from Northern Virginia, where he earned a BA from Marymount University in Arlington. His articles have been featured with InsideNoVaMSNThe Stacker, and Capital Standard.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Leaving 
by Emilio Iasiello

Because you had left
because you had left and there was
nowhere else to turn,
I rode out past my Metro stop—
past Court House and East Falls Church,
straight to the end of the line,
Dunn Loring.

I stood on the same platform
where we talked of nonsensical things, 

a curled flower, a furled look 

neither one willing to depart first
as if to leave was to break a spell,
cast our two weeks together
into an abyss,
a sweeping erasure.
There was so much left unsaid—
possibilities, the what could-be.
I wanted to tell you things,
take you places—
overcast beaches
where God flings wind off the ocean,
where at night, phosphorus algae
gleam in the shallow water like
fallen stars.
I wanted to tell you the future
was shadowless,
make you believe
that your boyfriend, my girlfriend
were like so many careless gestures
made then forgotten,
a closed fist, an empty wave
the space between our nine-year difference,
bridgeable.

After we kissed, I recalled
how you walked away—
your dress a violet imprint
among the wash of blue and grey suits.
You refused to show me your eyes
keeping them fixed on the light
beyond the tunnel ahead,
endlessly burning.

Emilio Iasiello is the author of Postcards from L.A. He has published poetry and fiction in numerous journals and written two other books: a collection of short stories, Why People Do What They Do, and a nonfiction narrative, Chasing the Green. He has also written for the stage and screen and has had numerous works produced in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and London, UK.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


The Rut 
by Laura McCarty

The doe leads the buck on a death hunt 
tearing across cemetery grounds. 
Dry leaves whirl back up into the sky 
as she hurdles white tombstones and tramples 
fresh graves. With one antler broken, he chases 
her over the hurricane fence, into the parkway.

I lead you, too. I wear my red dress, 
curl my hair, paint my lips and cheeks 
different shades. You walk me to my car 
and ask if you can follow me home. 
I navigate you through the dark, sometimes 
speeding up to see if you will drive faster.

The doe’s hoof clips my fender as she bounds 
across the road and disappears to the woods 
on the other side. From my rearview mirror 
I watch the buck dive into your car. His broken  
antler catches on your open window, spinning you both 
in the other direction.

Laura McCarty raised her two daughters in Arlington, and loves walking her dog at Donaldson Run. Her creative writing has appeared in The Rumpus, Lunch Ticket, the St. Petersburg Review, among other publications, including the family anthology of poems My Mother, My Daughter, My Sister, My Self. In 2016, she was a finalist for the Diana Woods Memorial Award. She received her MFA from American University and Bachelor of Journalism from University of Texas, Austin.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


The Kent Narrows
by Tod Ibrahim

This is what I know: your eyes always seem
more green in my mind. That is what I’ll keep.
Everything else goes to the next the way
it came to me. I’d like to think I’m giving
more than I took, but I know selfishness.
So, in turn for keeping the memory

of your eyes, I give you nakedness
and afternoons alone together, I give you
everything you told me and everything
I thought. In turn for keeping, I understand
the world through your eyes and see the stars
moments before the sky, feel you sitting

on the last step, your feet bare to the sand,
your eyes to the Atlantic, your back full
to the sun setting. I’d always thought we’d lose
our bodies and from there form wonder.
I’d always thought we’d lose ourselves and
form nothing. The line between wonder,

nothing is the unseen between late afternoon
and dark, where I am now, stopping near the end
of a two-mile backup at the Kent Narrows Bridge.
With the road longer this late, the body
moves outside, making the outside part of the body,
making the darkness more lamp black within me. 

These things move up through the stillness,
through the body, up from the road to the sky.
And waiting for the bridge to come down,
I think of you heading up the stairs, your feet
bare to the wood, your back full to the water,
your eyes green to the sky. 

Tod Ibrahim, two-time recipient of George Washington University’s Jenny McKean Moore scholarship for poets, holds a Master’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is Executive Vice President of the American Society of Nephrology. A fragment of “The Kent Narrows” was selected for the 2001 Moving Words program on the ART buses.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)