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Best Neighborhood Poems

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See also: Best Famous Poems

Premium Member Poem | Details | Neighborhood Poem | |

HELLO MISTER PRESIDENT - from A Neighborhood Child


We had all been issued small American flags on sticks.
Jack was on probation, as was I, but we were, reluctantly by Mrs. Mengin, finally
Let into the mix.

“Now    boys and girls    when the big black car with American flags comes by
We will all stand at attention    salute with the right hand    wave our flags with the right 
And say ‘Hello Mr. President.’”


Let’s rise and form a single line
No talking!
Jack!    I’m not going to put up with it!
Stay out of the street    folks!”

     (what’s this?    Hadn’t noticed    Hadn’t been listening all morning –
     the excited whispering    all around)
Sudden shuffle    Giggles…………………………………………………
Downstairs          Outdoors……………………………………………….

“The President is coming!”
“Down 14th Street!”

“Boys and girls!
Stay back from the curb
Against the fence!
Don’t forget what we all say
Remember to stand straight”

“Do you think he well really come by this dumpy old school?”

“Shut up, Earl…………..and it aint no joke!”


“Is he coming    Mrs. Mengin?    He should oughta be here by now”

“I…………..I can’t see him……..yet………?
I wonder?.............
Oh dear!”
A half-hour passed
                The futility of waiting began to be realized
“HELLO, MR. PRESIDENT!”  Jack laughs
“That aint him    Jack    that’s an old lady….HAW    HAW!”
“HAW    HAW………………………HAW    HAW!”


Punishing Jack was put off because of the moment’s frustration
“Alright!    Boys and girls    let’s go back inside
Back to work!”

Mr. Roosevelt had gone down 17th Street instead

Premium Member Poem | Details | Neighborhood Poem | |

EMMA SUE'S BIRTHDAY PARTY - From A Neighborhood Child


She’s looking happy    for a change
“Emma Sue’s a ‘Four-Eyes”
We call her that    and other names

First a threat    the stick!
But then her Mother appears with some paper bags
Bulging within    thick

Miss Mengin’s room is at attention
So early too    then
It’s only 9:00 a.m.

The bags are placed within a closet
Then locked away
The entire    LONG    day

Her Mother wears some worried wrinkles
Says a word to Emma’s teacher    frowns
But throws a smile before she leaves for town

At lunch    on the grounds
Emma Sue    as usual    stands aside    single
Doesn’t try to mingle

But    there is something  within
Hope in her eyes
Shoulders  up    elevated chin

By 2:15 excitement of the morning seems forgot
Not so!
By Emma Sue?    Certainly not!

Both she and teacher rise together
All eyes are lifted     puzzled looks
Quite forgotten the grammar books

Girls and boys begin to whisper
‘Four Eyes’    grinning    see her cheeks bloom
At front of a thrilling room

“It’s Emma Sue’s Birthday
See what she and her mother have baked
One for each and every person    little cakes

Put your books away
No more lessons
The rest of the way”


For Emma Sue I must say
Those tasty cakes made all the difference
Well?    At least for one day

Premium Member Poem | Details | Neighborhood Poem | |

LATE AUGUST - from A Neighborhood Child


It’s late August    with Labor Day on my mind
Something sharp and indistinct is in the air
I sense it all along my prickled skin
My forehead    in my hair

Kids would seem to play more frantically    as though to say
“All is quit right after Labor Day.”

Denver always has a big parade
It’s really not for us
Men have traded guns for overalls
Tanks and silver helmets for baker’s    builder’s trucks
The bands are poor and few    plain-shoed players not too fine
The working men    keep tipping hats   walk in staggered lines

One good thing late August brings
A smell of football’s in the air
A roll on churchyard grass –
You’re tackled    miss a pass

There are a few good things late August brings
To soften thoughts of school opening
Mother’s busy with needle and thread
A trip downtown
To Gano Downs
The dread “Back to School Sale”

Premium Member Poem | Details | Neighborhood Poem | |

His Neighborhood

Of things to admire, or heroes I've known
One to consider, I wish I had known
I say "Mr. Rogers", and eyebrows will raise
Considered, perhaps, a strange man to praise
With so many to choose from, with much greater fame?
An ordinary man,  with the soft velvety voice?
Simple, and modest, you think an odd choice?

He came on the screen when my children were small
With a neighborly song, he would open the door...
He would hang up his cardigan on that hook on the wall
And change into his sneakers that lay on the floor

His presence was gentle, his manner was kind
Never demeaning to children, he used puppets to tell
Many stories, with magic and storybook rhymes
And a neighborhood trolley that tooted a bell

The postman, McFeely, and Lady Aberline...
Neighbor Aber and nice people, with warm friendly faces
Each feature, a lesson, and heartwarming feelings
Taking my children to fantasy places

Yet...more than those things....Mr. Rogers had heart
His endearing examples, the lessons he taught
Of loving your neighbor, or losing a friend
How grief could be gentled,  or when worlds come to end

He would help my children take things out of that box
When parents get tongue tied, and stumble a lot
He could kindly, with wisdom, look into their eyes
They could trust, better understand, each cloudy day sky

Why, did I pick, Mr. Rogers, you say?
Why did I cry when he left us one day?


Premium Member Poem | Details | Neighborhood Poem | |

INNER CITY - old neighborhood today

INNER CITY – old neighborhood today

Not at all what it was
Not yet what it must become
Voices once so dear    drowned out
      by decadent color
Noise so disgustingly near
Sit and think longingly on old neighborhood
Shed a tear

Premium Member Poem | Details | Neighborhood Poem | |


The neighborhood next to mine
Oh, to see it.. it's mighty fine
Their houses aren't made with stick
They're ornate with beautiful brick
Sidewalks proudly mark their way
No overgrown ditch made of clay
Streetlights line their paved paths
Not a single pothole do they have
No better place you could ever find
The neighborhood next to mine

*In my early childhood my family of 9 was very poor and I wondered why we had to live in the "dark neighborhood" without street lights.  By the time I was a teenager my family was affluent.  But I never forgot the dark neighborhood, the best friends in the world, and being grateful for every blessing that comes my way!

Date: 9-12-14

Premium Member Poem | Details | Neighborhood Poem | |



Where kids had the run-o’-the-place
Smelly brats
Like a shot!
There was imagination.
Games ad lib
A terrible    wonderful use of neighborhood
An awful    rollicking use of the day
Where a poor aproned mom must scrub and scrub
The tub on Saturday nights
No begging a child to go to bed
Hell! He fell asleep at the dinner table
There were bed-wetters
Nose pickers
Clothesline-tent revealings
All secret explorations not even the adult will 
    admit to

I blush in shame for just a minute or two
Oh    I fit so furtively    so sweaty    red-faced young

Premium Member Poem | Details | Neighborhood Poem | |



There were sidewalks
The way to everywhere!
Tread of resoled shoes
Step-over cracks
Upward slabs    mountain making
Spat upon

There were personalities
Runny skin to lifebuoy
And then    the flow
When sun     when lights
    were low
too tired to care

There was love
    slightly understood
                               but needed
those mother-eyes
the womb-warm feeling
all mixed with kitchen smells
    powder    rouge

oh    I fit so lightly
    so actively young

Premium Member Poem | Details | Neighborhood Poem | |

THE BULLET TREE - from A Neighborhood Child


No one knows how long the bullet has been lodged in the big    old maple tree
Mr. Ailey claims he knows    but    Mr. Ailey is an old    old man
No one    till Teddy    so far as we know    ever tried to dig it out
Mr. Ailey says the growth    at last    will push it out
Ailey says    “The shot was fired at trailin’ injun’ horsemen”
He rubs the wrinkles down off his face    and says
“It was a Wells and Fargo stage    a rollin’ down what now appears yer Downin’ Street
That there tree was jist a sturdy pole when ‘Ugly Ben”    a sittin’ shot-gun fired a round
At them    them injuns”    Then old Ailey clucks his teeth
The bullet tree is just down the terrace from the deaf lady’s house
It stands on the dear lady’s property  (Mrs. Troutman)
“That there house ya see”   Ailey’s pointing with one crooked finger
“That there house useta be nuthin’ but prairie dog territory”   He coughs    spits a string
“I come huntin’ buffalo afore even that there tree was more’n a shootin’ twig
Ta git back ta Ben    Now    Ben come back one day ta see ifn he could find a shell or two
When he come upon the bullet lodged in tha tree
So he drove it in and pushed the empty shell casing in in back of it
Thet there bullet    Ya see?    Goes tat ha very heart o’ thet there tree”
Even at our age we didn’t believe half of what the old man said

Teddy tried to pry the bullet out one day
But the deaf woman crackled threats from her porch
Her voice    we thought    what a porcupine might sound like
Anyway    the deaf woman’s cackle was a bad omen    we thought

The bullet tree    at last    became a challenge
To dart    after careful observation    then
To touch the dented    weathered    circled end
Without arousing Mrs. Troutman 

Premium Member Poem | Details | Neighborhood Poem | |

FALL LEAVES - from A Neighborhood Child


First    color catches the eye
Yellow    tan    brown
Parented colors of sun and sky
Bronzed    gold-crusted
The breeze seeming to sift 
A finest dust into the air    to lift

Above all    a leafy hill
Raked by Brother, Bill
Beside the bullet tree
Mixed up by the breeze
I’m buried clear up to my knees

My first impulse was to run and jump atop
To roll around    
Yet    I flopped
Rising    quite soaked through
By the still green heavy mass
Of hidden October grass

Still it’s time to roll around
Looking upward
At the twiggy web above the ground
As a few stray leaves    given up
Flutter down
Golden yellow    milk chocolate brown

The great round trunk of the bullet tree
Reaches    its fingers bare
Standing alone so painfully    
The sky sorrows down
With here and there a tattered    black-fringed cloud
I standing     SHOUTING!    sounding comically proud