20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers

Janice M. Scott

Janice M. Scott

This rainy Sunday
I didn't see who came
Who wiped the water
From your name?

Falling rain; eight falling
Walls of lines of water
Could she be your wife?
Perhaps your daughter?

All I know in
Letters in steel
Still, can't fight
The sorrow I feel.

Patterns flow
Within the walls
Skylines flowing
Move and fall.

Inside the pools
All is down and down.
Yet steel grows and
Rises all around. 

(C) 2013 Norman Dziedzic Jr.

Actors, Painters and Poets

     Like an airport
Everything rushing to meet deadlines
     Eyes darting everywhere
Searching space for direction signs

     However here
The escalators run always down
     Our signs
Lead only to the crown

     Like a negative
The colors aren't what they would seem
     The pictures taken
Whisper, they never really scream

     In our machine
The gears don't even know their place
     Their teeth
They grind 'til memory banks erase

     And the masses
Marching backward, they can't know
     Though they progress
They're moving much too slow

     But the actor
With poet and painter near by
     He can see
And the three of them could tell you why

     And the crown
We know it has no ears
     And the court
No eyes to see our fears

     And I the poet
Like a musician without a song
     Must follow
Even knowing the path is all wrong

Alone – Away

I haven’t written anything in a while so I turned to the archives. This poem was created by three people in college each taking turns writing a section. This was circa 1987 when we did this. At first I wasn’t that happy with the last part but it has grown on me so here it is in it’s entirety.

Bathed, she squats silently on a hill
pale and strong and unmoving.
She seems content to wait


Since she has no match and
forever. She is very bold and
set in her (or her creator's) ways.
Why not? Has she even a choice
or a mind or an opinion? She
seems learned in history in especial.
Though it seems fruitless knowledge.

She is frustrated, idolized, and stonehenge.

Left to himself (and not by his choice), he
stands, upright; facing the wind from across
empty fields.  He seems awake but his eyes are


Since his will has no match and cannot
move [a hill], he tries to change
his (or his creator's) path.
Why? has he lost his choice
or his mind or his opinion?  He
seems smothered in effect in circumstance.
Though it seems a weightless measure.

He is stifled, shunned and bane.

He is a cow.

(c) Norman Dziedzic Jr, Jeff Moles, James Peck

Coffee Shop Circumstances

Thursday night and almost full

Silently I study the view

From a “comfy chair” in the corner.

Circumstances have made me a

Regular of sorts

But I only recognize one old guy

Kibitzing too long with the barista

Wearing the same bright yellow shirt as last night.

The couple playing Munchkin

are oblivious.   Belonging more at a kitchen table but

good for them.  I envy their comfort.

Mr. Superman T-shirt commands the

study group at the large table too comfortable with the girl

to be just friends.

Random jazz fills the gaps -

The old guy bites his nails.

The man at the counter is all business while

two couples chat and flirt

away from the kids?

away from the bar?

maybe just away.

With jazz and superman and munchkins,

I drink in what I can of coffee

and time and circumstance

1 Comment

Mr. Sandwich Shop Guitar Man

I see you
      Turn your pages
I hear you
      Sing your songs
But I know
      You are not here with me

You are not here
      Next to the soda kiosk
         Where thirsty patrons
         Bashfully avoid eye contact
         While cupping ice and drink

You are not here
      Across from the counter
         Of energetic salami assemblers
         Who call your name
         At the end of each song

You are not here
      Near the booth
         Where the father asks
         For Puff the Magic Dragon
         Confused when you say you don’t know it

Mr. Sandwich Shop Guitar Man

I see you
      On a different stage
      At a different time

Without the air of
      Pickles and potato chips

Without the air of
      Tired moms and milk shakes

Without the air of
      Longing to be singing
      Anywhere but here
      Anywhere but here

But here you are
      Singing to the sandwiches
      Turning pages to find a tune
      Perfect for a ham and swiss
      Perfect for a pickle
      Perfect for Jackie Paper
         And his dad
         And the counter jockeys
         Who call your name
         And bring you back

So your journey
   May begin

(c) 2010, Norman Dziedzic Jr.

December’s Denouement

I actually started this on 12/1 but had to force myself to finish it today…

Autumn exhales, long and slow
Spent - by the harvest
And the felling of leaves;
Tugging at the last brown stragglers.

The barren maples and birch
Palaver on winter preparations
Warily eyeing the constant conifers
Who hold tight their secrets.

Time is ever even but our division
Shifts toward the night. Drifts
From the light to algid evenings
Descending toward the solstice. 

And then, though imperceptible
Days stretch for the celebrations
Late in the season, late in the year.
December's denouement.

(c) 2012, Norman Dziedzic Jr.

1 Comment

On the Platform

“Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…”

On the platform,

The CTA platform

“Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…”

And it was the north/south line

And it was the Chicago Avenue Station

“Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…”

And as she talked,

All listened,

“Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…”

And as she sang,

A few drunks laughed,

“Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…”

(and everyone pretended

she wasn’t even there)

“Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…”

And with the rolling of the trains

“Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…”

All sounds turn

into a dull rumble




You may have to click the title above to see the entire concrete poem. It clips on my screen. Couldn’t find a way to force it to use the entire width.

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