The Dentist

Bronwyn, South Philly/ Lower Moyamensing

“I’ve been here for just over four and a half years (I’m originally from New York City) and  I didn’t expect to love Philadelphia as much as I do, but my neighborhood could do with less liter.”

“It was fun, but a bit awkward. Good distraction from from having to finish writing my short story assignment due Wednesday though!…It’s ‘adorkable,’ could use some work.”

the dentist

I actually like my dentist.

Weird I know, but she’s pretty cool.

Her office doesn’t smell like a usual dentist’s office, but that’s because I have a rare allergy, and her staff does a major cleanup before I get there so I don’t die in the chair.

She’s very professional, very caring, super friendly, and because she doesn’t take my health insurance, very expensive.

If my dentist closed up shop, I’d have a hard time finding a suitable replacement, believe me I tried.

I just saw my dentist about 45 minutes ago, I figured I’d sit in the park, reading a book, waiting for the 30 minute time limit to be able to drink and eat again after the fluoride varnish-the bubble gum flavor is not tasty, but at least it doesn’t kill me.

While I love my dentist, and she’s the first one I’ve liked in 20 years, if she could accept my insurance, that would be swell.

It’s important to take care of your dental health. I’ve had braces three times b/c I kept losing my retainer, I had periodontitis b/c I spent my 20s not flossing, but after a lot of money and time I finally have a clean bill of oral health.

Find a good dentist kids, and take care of your teeth. You’ll miss them when they’re gone ( fortunately, I still have all of mine).


Tess, Bella Vista

“I love Philly!”

“I actually liked writing the poem. Usually I feel weird writing but it was enjoyable! Not as bad as I expected!”

the sun tess

bright, far, above

burnt, firey and crispy

like my grandma when I call her for the first time since Christmas

The beginning of everything, I suppose. Is that lame?

Overwhelming and lethargic, at its best.

I just wish I could always remember my sunglasses

My favorite time of year. I’d never smell the air without it.

Henry V

Steve, Center City

“I like Philly, I like the city. I wish people here were less hasty and more worldly.”

“Confusing, lacked context but enjoyable and a nice change of pace. My product would not make it into a short story/ poem collection book.”

Henry V

“There is some soul of goodness in things evil, would men observingly distill it out.

For our bad neighbor makes us early stirrers, and such is good husbandry.

And thus do we gather honey from the weed, and make a moral out of the devil himself” (Henry V).

It would be hot, burning and red.

Burning Rubber.

An angry and impetuous person.

Jocular but strangely intimate.

I would have it express the same idea through a wider variety of mediums in sensation and experience.

It is a novel way of understanding our experiences to me.

The Nothing That Is

Richard and Oliver (dog), Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia

“Very much like certain parts of the city, but lacking a good big movie theater near the square”

“Even by the standards of e.e Cummings, I would find it difficult to call it a poem.”

the nothing that is

It wouldn’t

There aren’t any

Contemplating “nothing that is not there and the nothing that is” ( Wallace Steven 1921- The Snow Man)

It can’t

They liked The Snow Man

Nothing of the “nothing that is”

As a way of looking at the world


Ashley, Center City Philadelphia

“[Philly is] homey.”

“I tried to be spontaneous, not think too hard…I’m sure with practice, I could get better.”


Chirping birds in the park

Nature’s music, work of art!

So happy I can be a part.


green leaves

Chris M, Arch St (West Philly)

“I think that people who are not from Philly should shut up and enjoy Philly for what it is.”

“smooth and creative. I was surprised.”

green leaves

Dark some lighter than others

fresh air minty flow like

money. if there were no more

the air would disappear the birds fly in and

out they change on their own fall to spring

reminds me that there is a God.


Isis K, North Philadelphia (Strawberry Mansion)

“I love this city. Although it’s dangerous at times, it has its own version of a sanctuary. I wouldn’t say it’s identical to many other cities, it’s the kind of city that grooms a very special, the most special individuals.”

“I think the final poem is rough around the edges. But forced growth is never produced in smooth conditions. So I guess it works.”


Sometimes when you’re in the middle of your busy life, you get settled. And suddenly, something in you starts to push. It’s telling you to grow. And this growth requires separation, separation even from yourself.



Catherine, Washington DC

“Love Philly-used to live here-miss it”

“fun, challenging”


they are humped and bumpy and waffled

unless you’re thinking of the dog,

the slob, the piano player, and the

boy who just can’t kick the football.

they’re salty as sweat or the sea or

they smell like warm ink and paper.

if they were a person, and they are

many people, they would have a cane

and pinch a monocle into their eyesocket

and wear a tilted top-hat

or they would carry a ratty and beloved

blanket or wear a zig zagged shirt

or maybe just a birthday suit.

there are two kinds of this thing one

that grows in the ground and one

that flies through the air waves-

or finds its way into your mailbox

or door slot or memory.

these things get shared hot or cold

or bare or salted or funny

or genuine or both.

nothing needs to change.

its/they are a staple and a favorite


Spring Peepers- (frogs in the pond)

Charlie T, Michigan

“Philly is a great city that I’ve only visited a few times (about 5 days total) that is a lot like NY or Chicago…full of interesting random people…”

“I’d like to polish the poem…it’s pretty rough, but I like the idea…”

Spring Peepers

The song is strong, loud and sweet…

It songs of love and sex and life.

The pitch is high and a mingle from a hundred voices.

The frog sings a song that is a thousand times ten thousand years old…

It starts with one voice or a few

And bounces around until the whole chorus sings

With voices urgent and insisting

Calling from the wet mud and cold

And hoping for life…