Writing Through Hard Times – November 2018

Each month, the Denver VOICE publishes a selection of writing from workshops sponsored by Lighthouse Writers Workshop. The Hard Times Writing Workshop is a collaboration between Denver Public Library and Lighthouse Writers Workshop. This workshop is open to all members of the public—especially those experiencing homelessness. Hard Times meets every Tuesday from 3-5 p.m. on the fourth floor of DPL’s Central branch. The Lighthouse sponsored workshop at The Gathering Place is specifically for that organization’s clients.

To check out more writing by the poets featured in this column, go to writedenver.org

Trish Veal

Arvada Autumn

Yellow, rust, and brown begin to burst forth upon parched trees.

Gentile Indian summer breeze

Glides through strip-malled mountains majesty

Near fruited box-store covered plains


Rich harvested farmland.

As air breaks of a regional transit bus

Prepares to make a left turn

The Metro light-rail horn blares


Upon tracks.

Discourteous drivers

In a hurry to wait,

Reaching the signal only ten.

Cars and trucks

Earlier than the rest,

To park

With engines running.

The discord

Of India Arie, Brad Paisley, Snoop Dogg, Mariachi, and Segar,

Vibrate the ground.

This corner teems with activity.

Travelers on a shopping spree, business trips,

Late luncheons or early suppers; maybe

Catch a matinee.

Men and women 

With their lives upon their backs, in carts, or bicycle baskets

Spying out for an evening respite

Until the day shelter opens ‘gain.

The haggard,

Stop by the white mermaid

Surrounded in dark green

For an evening pick-me-up.

For the  sun is slowly setting

In a cloud-spotted sky.

Marianne Reid


Words, spoken by people, have power.

Ranting at length:

He did not want another child,

Tried to get me to abort.

I kept it, though.

Poor baby. Started dying

The moment she was born.

Severely broken heart.

What if

He had held her

And told her

He changed his mind,

That he wanted her?

We buried her after that.   

Frank Coons


I have not been hungry

enough to speak

of that all too common want,

and what

it drives a person to.

So when

I saw the old

gentleman, reduced,

and balancing

on death, reach

unsteady into the dumpster’s


only to bring

an unrecognizable

edible (old onion

ring, bagel piece, a wing

bone stripped),

and close-eyed

put it in his mouth,

I didn’t understand

and don’t yet,

the edge

that the starving

teeter on.

But there must be

a moment

of terrible decision:

which crime

to commit

before becoming too weak

to commit it.