“The Projects” Awarded at Ventura County Poetry Contest

I won second place in the Ventura County Poetry Contest’s “Outside Ventura” category for my entry responding to the theme: “Where I’m From.”

The Projects

I’m from the warm red Formica table in the nook
carved from the kitchen of the post war housing
unit that faced the wall hiding the word Frigidaire
emblazoned on the six-inch thick yellow ecru door
which endured meal prep-wars with Mom’s rear
for daily dominance over the tight cooking space
where Mom handed me the tuna fish sandwich.

I took it with me and jumped down metal steps
just outside our apartment door three at a time
leaving buzzing vibrations behind and raced out
the glass lobby doors past the short white nursery
on my left where I once was a toddler and climbed
up and down with a cohort of black friends my age
screaming, laughing and throwing gym furniture.

I left the noisy memory for the screams of infants
babbling in their carriages and in their mom’s arms
by slated green benches with rough concrete bases,
along the grey pavers leading to the public school
of orange bricks with white stripes below the roof,
where I sat awaiting the buzzing of the closing bell
longing for an action pace equal to nursery level.

But I was enchanted along the way to public school
when the pavers slithered from their original grade
and snaked away from me carrying battered leaves
and twigs towards the distant oaks and evergreens
in the opposite direction of my destined destination
hidden from my view till illuminated by a lunar light
hanging from silver branches in the urbanized night.

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