Last year my friend told me to write a poem about the city. I never finished it. I don’t think it will ever have a true ending, because the city is full of lessons to be learned and more importantly people with stories to be told. “The city” is really any city, though it was written with Lancaster City in mind.


There’s something about you that causes me to think that I can be somebody

Somebody going somewhere

Much like that man over there

He’s dressed in his black, made-to-measure suit

Walking the last block of his daily commute

Looking astute, with no question of his pursuit

His fitted look draws my eyes to each angle of his frame

I wonder from where he came and what is his name

A girlish story rapidly circles my brain

No thought is complete

Just sweet and meek, with nothing concrete

But it’s now obsolete


As I walk through the doors I breathe in the aroma of your being

The warm fragrance of espresso is calming and freeing

The freedom you provide gives me a break from life’s demands

Somehow I’m empowered with latte in hand

Sitting down for a moment to sip in the liquid solace

My eye is caught by a figure almost flawless

Her tattooed arm has caught my attention

Now caught in the tension, looking deep into her complexion

Wanting to stare and compare

But I know that isn’t fair

I just want to declare

“I like you. I like your tattoos. I’m not judging you. I just like you.”

But that’s not completely true

As she picks up her brew I begin to consider her world view

I try to fight the typical questions from first impressions

Are you truly an artist or musician?

What’s caused your break with tradition?

Was this your ambition?

Have your dreams come to fruition?


My inner questions interrupted as he side steps through the door and my view is blocked

His beard a bit mangled and his head a bit cocked

He’s known

Known but alone, surrounded by everything he owns

The barista calls out a hello followed by a first name

He looks around quickly then does the same

His presence makes me feel the ignorance of my youth

With no tools to relate how can I bring truth

This part of you scares me in my smallness

Here I can’t impress and excess only bring regress


Back on your uneven pavement I’m headed in a particular direction

You still have my affection made better by imperfection

Your faded streets signs and aged architecture are somehow refreshing

History’s seasoned maturity is confessing and expressing

While young artist flavoring is progressing and coalescing

Rushed smiles and nods are the dialect of the day

I find a familiar face and follow my nod with a “hey”


As I round the corner your landscape makes a quick shift

It’s then I begin to wonder how your two parts coexist

My eyes find the frame of a boy about six

He’s playing with his firetruck while eating some chips

Your sidewalk is his playground, he knows nothing different

His imagination soaring what you offer is sufficient

His name is called and he pretends to ignore

But that doesn’t last long when she swings open the door

A woman of strength, with streaks of grey hairs stands waiting for compliance

The boy’s pace hasten at her presence, there’s no room for defiance


A loud boom of latino music vibrates through my body’s members

But the sound fades into the distance like smoldering embers

Your diversity reminds me to widen the eyes of my mind

To make this world one color you’d have to be blind

Your design is complex and I’ve just scratched the surface

Maybe that’s your intent

Maybe that’s your main purpose

Easy answers are short lived and quickly outgrown

You provide an open space for my thoughts and questions to roam


There’s something about you that makes me think I can be somebody

That I am somebody

Somebody going somewhere

With a story in session

Deeper than first impression

Likely beyond my own comprehension