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East Side West Side

by Richard Reed Jr
copyright 01-01-2008

Age Rating: 7 +

The east side of town
springs from bed as a new born puppy
rising up to meet the sun,
filled with houses that look
like something that should have
adorned the front of a magazine,
the children walking to school,
orange blossom smiles dotting the morning.

The west side of town
stealing through the late-afternoon,
shadows fading into darkness,
little mean dwellings,
on-going unending wails of sirens,
hordes of grimy children, each one
busy on some suspicious-looking errand.

Sitting down for dinner on the east side,
a family affair, everyone sharing feelings,
a tight knot of security, helpings of love,
a bounty of confidence, a hum of conversation
breaking bread, more than a sitting together.

Children walking home on the west side,
no fancies of dinner, no portions of love,
mother and dad's hearts too mired in work,
like weary plow-horses, home a place
to catch one's breath, the children left
to fend for themselves
quickly find a different kind of family.

The east side and the west side
like the church and the graveyard
standing side by side.

Visitor Reads: 891
Total Reads: 906

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        01-27-2008     Jordan Screws        

This reminds me of a situation in my hometown. We have a "North Side" and a "South Side", each side (literally) divided by a railroad track separating the borders. "North Side" is the downtown area where it is mostly white with quite a few businesses and two or three banks and whatnot. "South Side" is a housing project that is predominantly black and is a rough side of town for anyone of any race, so I understand the thing you have going on in the poem. I like the "church and the graveyard" line: it suits the poem well.

One side is a thriving, happy place while the other is a run-down, shady place where everyone is just trying to survive. Like Nancy said, this could be about any town anywhere, and that is what makes it memorable in a way. Every town has its "East Side" and its "West Side", each having its own attraction, if you will. Despite the conditions of the "West Side", its residents apparently have something there that keeps them there, be it family ties or simply nowhere else to go. You did a good job describing each side of the tracks, and like earlier "the church and the graveyard" line was appropriate for the tone of this poem.

Good work.

        01-24-2008     Everett (dale) Pogue        

"The east side and the west side, like a church and a graveyard standing side by side". I may have missed the exactness of that line, but I got the full meaning. That pictured it all for me. Why not just move from the bad side to the good? Not easily done. Rarely happens. There is also a kind of pull to each side. This is a tale of two sides of one place. The best of times. The worst of times. You did it again. (By the way, where have you been? You are missed!) Dale

        01-12-2008     Nancy Pawley        

this poem could be about any city, anywhere, but as always, it's up to the individual to figure out which side he wants to live on. Great write.

        01-09-2008     Wayne Thomas        

This is a masterpiece! The flow of words, the flow of thoughts, the beautiful sentiments, are masterfully done. You make me jealous--and you still write faster than I can! Great job!
Your friend,

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