Writing Through Hard Times

The Hard Times Writing Workshop is a collaboration between Denver Public Library and Lighthouse Writers Workshop. The workshop is open to all members of the public—especially those experiencing homelessness. Each month, the Denver VOICE will publish a selection of the voices of Hard Times.

Hard Times meets every Tuesday afternoon from 3:00-5:00 on the fourth floor of DPL’s Central branch. To check out more writing by Hard Times participants, go to www.writedenver.org.

Christopher Young: The Long White Train

The long white train came rapidly approaching the station, eager to make the scheduled stops with precise punctuality. Those passengers waiting on the platform were not so eager, while a select few found relief overcome them as they saw the long plume of smoke in the distance make its way closer.

Curiously, no timetable could be found on the platform or in the station, yet people there possessed a seeming knowledge of the train’s scheduled arrival, as they instinctively knew to arrive at 2:05 for a 2:45 departure. Clearly they must have also had the knowledge of their destination, though with no one appearing to know each other, one could only assume.

The plume of smoke grew thicker and more menacing, encroaching the station with speed and conviction, making certain to arrive at the elusively scheduled time. Perhaps these peculiarities would be made clear upon the arrival of the long white train. Again, one could only assume such facts.

But the peculiarities of the passengers being without luggage could not be explained upon the train’s arrival, or could it? Were they, the passengers, aware of their destination? With no luggage spotted among the crowd, did they, in fact, even intend to return at all?

It seemed far too coincidental to believe all the passengers present, without expressions, without luggage, could have purchased a one-way ticket for this train, on this day, at this time; however, there were no clues to the contrary. A relier on assumption seemed needed once again. ■

Michael Sindler: Grasp

Grasping for a deeper meaning

Unable to pull it closer

Through the fog, as though I’m dreaming

Grasping for a deeper meaning

Source from where pure thought is streaming

Led to water like a dowser

Grasping for a deeper meaning

Unable to pull it closer. ■

Benjamin Eric Nelson: No One To Blame


Large veins pumping life’s sins  

Way too carefully blissful  

A change in nature  

A change in beautiful terms  

The concrete killed my soul  

Future darkened and chosen one absolved  

Tragedy for the affluent  

A nation destroyed by its own strength  

Contained in memory  

A song  

Lift up the earth  

Lift up and be calm  

Like and love  

Put down the vice  

Seek and find  

Synapse twice  

You are powerful in my eyes  

Clowns that drive  

Have no sighs  

Apply the poison  

All of the cures for it are spaced  

A trace of lace  

Above and at lengths  

Tried to become grace  

Paper waste  

Now no longer faced  

In front of a menace  

Just a taste  

Must be a jerk just in case  

Not drowning  

Not burning  

Comfort disabled by pain  

Not too bad  

Hurts all the same  

No one to blame. ■