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. 

DC United

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

Instagram: @CharityJoyceBlackwell



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

Captain White’s

the oil man be everywhere

By Dahvi Walker

Instagram: @dahviswalker

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

Instagram: @scratchpaperpoem

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

Instagram: @verbalgymnastics

Watercolor Party

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,

windswept fields

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

Instagram: @jgoeslewis


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

and salt-sweat.

Love who you are before

the sky fills with stars of your making.

2020 summer

after Yoko Ono

By Sandra Beasley

Twitter: @SandraBeasley

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,

sage wisdom,

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

Instagram: @VFresh10

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