Just Down The Road

Written for:  Phoenix Rising – “Where Am I?”

Since poetry is a concise expression, the implications of setting are a major function of the rest of the poem.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to write your poems this week with a main concentration on the three aspects of setting and less on the characters within your verse. Go into specific detail and inject imagery into the places and settings that inspire you. Ask yourself, “Where am I?” and write about it!

As evening sky settles pink, four
friends head to a favorite Italian
restaurant. Sign in red
scripted letters on white post
with an arrow leading several steps
down into a grotto setting,
sound of opera playing.

New waiters speak only Italian,
smile graciously, and pick up
a word here and there. Wine flows,
antipasto plate is whisked away,
and the main course arrives.
At meal’s end, collective sighs.
The four leave sated, carrying
containers of leftovers, and dessert,
for which no one had room.

In darkness, with a sliver
of moonlight, they walk
back to their car. The underpass
is filled with homeless people,
young and old, huddling together,
trying to keep the cold at bay.
“This is a sin,” one couple declares,
taking out the pristine containers
of leftovers, and offering them
to a grateful pair of homeless
Veterans. “You should not do that,
the other couple admonishes, “or they
will not even attempt to pull themselves

Four old friends continue their walk
in chilling silence.


About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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10 Responses to Just Down The Road

  1. writing, writing, words words words. says:

    To say “wine flowed” is to use a cliché. Don’t do that – it’s lazy. I want to know some of what the main courses were, and the taste and texture of the dessert. I want to be shown that the people were homeless, not told, and to be shown how two were Vets and were grateful. Or was that just your assumption? Don’t be sentimental – it doesn’t work. I loved the last line. Keep writing!


  2. Oh, what a sad comment to make, as though they would rather eat someone’s leftovers than be able to work. Some people’s disabilities are hidden deep – don’t judge. Your compassion is so sweet, Sarah.


  3. julespaige says:

    Oh, Sarah…I agree with Georgeplace on this. Sometimes it is the disabilities we can not see – that call of admonishment… chilling. Especially when we only see what we want to see.


  4. Candy says:

    so powerful


  5. writing, writing, words words words. says:

    I’ve owed you an apology for some time now. My comment was totally out of line, and harsh. I sincerely regret what I consider egregious behavior. My apologies, Purple – I am very sorry.


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