Project Description

The Olympic Games | Pamela S. Wynn

There was a man and he had naught
And robbers came to rob him

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children . . .
Well actually, it was a cramped
one-bedroom apartment
in the poorest part of town.
And she wasn’t that old.
Recently divorced, without a job,
the father laid off and behind
in child support. And the children,
there were only two: a blue-eyed
blond girl of four and a tow-headed
boy of seven.

The story takes weeks to unfold,
so I’ll skip to the part
where the woman is forced out
and there’s no place
for the children at all.
The building is sold,
wrecker balls tear down walls,
the rubble is hauled away.
And on that spot a stadium built
for the world to come and play.
Flags wave, bands play
and the city swells with pride.

Question | Pamela S. Wynn

Sun high, throat parched. . .
I’ll knock on a gate and see what the villagers will give me
—Su Tung-p’o (trans. from the Chinese by Burton Watson)

in the park
a festival of flowers in bloom
it’s pointless to try to count them all

on the benches
faceless citizens awake
joggers pass and pick up speed

the first night the concrete was cold
in the parking garage stairwell
the second night temperatures
had risen, the bench was on the edge
of the city plaza
after that a fog crept in
little memory remains intact
of the days and nights that followed

today crows perch on the barren branch
of the oak beside me
dandelions at my feet
I yank them out by the roots

if I were a child again
I’d fashion them into
a necklace
if I were young again
I wouldn’t know
how many children can sleep atop a single sidewalk vent

Christmas Eve on the Streets | Pamela S. Wynn

He wandered about preaching
those last three years, Jesus,
no place to lay his head. Today,
they could arrest him for that.
He even started out that way,
no room at the inn and all.

At the Governor’s Ball,
gold-rimmed glasses clink
and gowns of satin swish in dizzying dances
on the arms of men of steel.
A heady swirl, a toast,
“Peace on Earth,
good will to men.”

Outside, Rachel’s ghost howls
at each closed door she passes.
Hush now, Rachel.* How
will the newborn sleep
with all your weeping
and lamentations?

*In the Bible, in Jeremiah 31:15, Rachel mourns her sons
and the attempt to destroy future generations.