The Southwest Duck Pond’s commUNITY art project includes packets of poems on the rocking chairs throughout the park. “The Southwester” is proud to feature one poem from each artist that participated in the project.
In ten years I don’t know where I will be
But wherever I go I know that I will have soccer is with me
The sport that shatters barriers and embraces diversity
The sport that is very much like the MY city DC
We live in times where backgrounds, beliefs, and politics can be divisive
Where the news can confuse and make a community feel indecisive
But DC, like soccer, is a space where we are all united
And to get excited, where collaboration is demanded and invited
A city that passes and moves to make space for the ball
A city that will stand tall will protest to fight a bad call
A city of 3 a days, hustle, early morning and late practices
A city of movers and shakers, debaters, floppers and actresses
A city of teamwork makes the dreamwork
From traffic to footwork
A city of networth and network
From Anacostia to Petworth
A city of cultures merged together, with one goal: to win
A city where loss feels like a cheap shot to the shin
A city of the nation’s capital that is international
A city of the level headed rational and the radical
From corner kicks to slide tackles
Where movements are magical
A city of history, mistakes, growth, and pain
A city of misery, laughs, joy and gains
A city of mystery and layers
A city of coaches and players
A city that is a glaring reflection of me
A city that is a glaring reflection of WE
10 years ago I didn’t know where I would be
But right now I’m in a city that embraces diversity
We live in times where backgrounds, beliefs, and politics may be divided
But DC, like soccer, is a space where we are all can feel united
By Charity Blackwell
yung manny and pocket beats
T-Mobile selling GOGO CDs
cherry blossoms on the mall
murals down H st
Horace and dickies
mumbo sauce with a 6 piece
next stop waterfront
the oil man be everywhere
By Dahvi Walker
Before Duck Pond, Cow Alley
for Southwest DC
Before Constitution Avenue,
Washington City Canal.
And, before that, Tyber Creek.
In my neighborhood, we say
there must once have been a river
where the avenue runs; we’re haunted
by its flooding ghost during hard rain.
But the city is like that–
written and rewritten.
Before Duck Pond, Cow Alley.
Before Tyber Creek, Goose Creek.
Now the geese swim in the reservoir.
Sometimes, we build a church
where the church used to be.
By Jacquelyn Bengfort
Act like you LOVE me
Act like you LOVE me
Act like you have the lead roll at Arena Stage
Act Like Hellen Hayes sent you a handwritten letter
Detailing the direction of your love to me with sound cues and lighting
Act like our costumes match
Buy the way you don’t need make-up because you are beautiful
Your headshot should hang in the Kennedy Center
Or better yet, there should be a statue erected of you at the Carta Barron
So you can have the sun shine on you everyday
You are kissed by the sun
I want our love to last longer than Massachusetts Ave
I want to swim the Anacostia and Potomac rivers with you
Ok made maybe a boat ride on the river because I am not the greatest swimmer
I want to learn to swim with you
I want to learn who you are
I want to study you like a well written play
I want to be your #2 pencil
You are “A Raisin in the Sun”
Let grow grape vines in Marvin gay park
Act like you love me.
By John Johnson
A burst of brightness
greets the Randall Rec Center
every week – an impromptu
community of artists
who playfully claim they can’t draw.
Even in a pandemic,
this group of retirees
and young professionals
are unabashedly prolific,
gathering weekly over Zoom
to joke and laugh
at how water never does
what you ask it to.
The weeks flow forward
in still-life sketches
of purple garlic and green peppers,
of gamboge-colored poppies,
hills covered with sienna grass,
and cerulean seas that ripple out
in waves across the days.
A virtual gathering of friends
who splash in the water together,
and leave each day a little more colorful.
By Jonathan Lewis
SW DC ACTION POEM #2
Bottle the air
between when a firework’s fuse is lit
and that first pop-fizz.
Folks know what happens next—
hoot and holler, sulfur—
that part is easy.
Remember the not-knowing scent
Love who you are before
the sky fills with stars of your making.
after Yoko Ono
By Sandra Beasley
The Living Community
What would I be without a wave from a neighbor as I’m on my way?
A watchful eye letting me know that I’m seen
and cared for.
The market that makes sure I get an extra something
Each time I stop in.
Each person I pass smiles,
greeting me as the day greets the morning.
These people are sunshine on dark days.
They have seen me through hard times
with kind words,
and a bite to eat.
Evenings filled with talks over fences
have led to laughter and clarity.
I am here because they are here.
No matter where we are,
be it in our homes or far from them,
we are each other’s backbone.
Our bonds are bigger than the buildings we occupy
and streets we live on.
The lessons of love and kindness learned from them
are always in my heart
and imparted on all wherever I go.
By Vernon Preston