A Brief: Washingtonian

posted in: Poetry 18
The Lincoln Memorial from the back, under construction. Photo: Wikipedia.
The Lincoln Memorial from the back, under construction. Photo: Wikipedia.


So it’s been over a year since I lived in Washington. Remember all that? Go back to November 2014 (you can click on the archives filter and get to it fastest that way) and read all about it. Heartbreak, unrest, rats. Cold.

I was looking for another poem for another reason and remembered that I wrote this one and never shared it. It’s called “A Brief: Washingtonian” and I rather like it. The meter does stay consistent throughout but you have to practice to get the emphasis on the proper word in some of the verses. (Believe me, I know; I worked on this a long time!)

I hope you enjoy this poem. It’s pretty melancholy but it’s also meant to be sort of sweet.

A Brief: Washingtonian
by Mary Fons (c) 2015


From my art deco castle, I surveyed the land
The rivers, the sidewalks, Msr. L’Enfant’s plan;
The rain days were my best days; I felt kingdom come;
Connecticut Avenue an elephant’s trunk;
I signed the thick lease on December the First,
And I lived in that city and I watched from my perch.

When crinoline petticoat clouds would descend
And wring out the water that they’d been washed in,
The valley would deepen right in front of my eyes;
I loved every tree and miss the mist so:
It sifted the raindrops and slicked all the leaves,
And I’d watch from my throne with a hot cup of tea.

“You live in Washington?” the people would say,
“But how did you get there? and why would you stay?”
(I slouched there in sadness, cast out of Chicago
And New York left a rotted taste in my mouth;
When I fell in D.C. I hit the ground gently;
Not something you count on when you fall accidentally.)


Sovereign Washington straddles two states:
The first offers mountains and wrought iron gates
That open to Arlington’s coveted park;
I saw storms roll in during burials there;
Boys keep on dying; girls at graves must remain —
Virginia’s  for lovers and lovers love the rain.

The other half lives where Baltimore stays;
For Maryland’s only the Beltway away;
Colonist gentry ate plenty of land,
But the pushed, angry fringes refuse to go silent;
Molotov cocktails still light the sky,
We’ve two hundred years of the Fourth of July.

Old Gore Vidal said that D.C. was dead;
All of those legends in a rose garden bed;
All the past generals we’re ordered to owe;
Fathers who stand after years in the ground;
All of these corpses, cemented in stone
And we visit them, worship them, celebrate bones.

Young men in bowties walk to work on the Hill;
Scotch-swilling yes-men have secrets to spill;
They quench and they drench blue blazer lapels,
They pinch all the a**es in reach of their booth;
What hath the rules wrought, what shall become
Of a nation divided, of the coming undone.

Still the hovering District has life stuffed inside;
Buses and restaurants serving the tide
Of young men and women with audible smiles;
Lives here are mixed every way that can mean;
Art anchors the landscape from border to line;
Within days of arrival, I claimed all as mine

And furnished my life there and tastefully, too;
My gorgeous appointment near the National Zoo;
I mixed high and low and the ending result
Was a chamber at once both cozy and gilded;
I worked there and cooked there and looked at my hands
I slept there and kept there and made all sorts of plans.


Then confused, I felt moved to leave D.C. behind;
I could tell all the reasons, but oh, nevermind;
I heid back to Chicago, the prodigal daughter;
Welcomed, embraced, she never stopped loving me;
My loyalty lives there — now returned, so do I,
I was never much more than a Washington spy.

In May, cherry blossoms kiss rows of trees;
I missed them that year (typical me);
I’ll visit them, though, sometime in the future
And try to remember what I needed that year;
I’ll touch the perfume and I’ll be okay —
And I’ll walk through the orchard, queen for a day.

18 Responses

  1. Torina
    | Reply

    A wonderful poem.

  2. Pat Hicks
    | Reply

    Great poem I enjoyed it very much.

  3. Sue
    | Reply


  4. Dee
    | Reply

    A Master of words
    I travelled the tale
    More Adventures, oh share you must

  5. Ann Bailey
    | Reply


  6. Rhonda Mossner
    | Reply


  7. susan
    | Reply

    Thanks Mary

  8. Tracy
    | Reply


  9. Becky Garten
    | Reply

    Beautiful. I especially like the phrase “crinoline petticoat clouds”. I could really see the clouds. I honeymooned in DC in October many years ago and it was a cloudy, misty, time. The best weather in which to enjoy museums. Thanks for taking me back to DC.

  10. Susan
    | Reply

    Mary…you amaze me. I so lpok forward to your posts. Every. Night i look to see if you had time today to write. I feel an excitement start to build and when i see something new my heart says “yes”! Thank you for sharing you!

  11. Barbara
    | Reply

    I just got to read your poem, Mary you bring tears to my eyes in a good way.

    • Cully Gregory
      | Reply

      Read my story.,. Could it have possibly been me and her? I have been trying to find this person who took my breath away. I by chance happened upon Mary quilt show one night many months later and she captivated my attention the same sense and familiarity of that wonderful day. Cully Gregory is my name Kansas city MO.

  12. […] impressions indelibly made when the world was different and you were different within it. This poem of mine gets at some of the emotions I’m talking […]

  13. Cully Gregory
    | Reply

    I have a question for you. Did you ever die your hair blonde or maybe that’s what it. Aturally is? Where you ever on a flight from DC to Chicago that landed the landing gears down hard with a little further ulence making the landing a scary event? I sat next to the most. Beautiful Valentine I could have ever imagined . She a moment in time I will never forget. Our eyes locked and e scything flowed like the snow that melts perfectly in spring and the sparrows alone to instruct us about relationships so divine that it was more than mere chance. It fills my heart with unequalled awe of that day. Your poem and place you talk about make me have to ask was that you? Did we cross time and space on a quantum collision of fairy tale story book legends? I hope that was you and you were her. The fact that though nothing other than a power so great I can’t fathom the I.apct it made on my sole. If that was you a I. An say if thank God in heaven I found you! Otherwise. A prize for you I have for only you could claim that no one would I let take from you I can’t . You were the wind that took my breath away for o my to go e back on a perfectly divine. Valentine’s day. Fully Gregory

    • Cully Gregory
      | Reply

      I’m.not sure how to edit the errors in spelling and grammar I have e to post this ASAP. Let your heart fix the mistakes and fill it in with what only you can make sense. Wow that would be the best Stoke of luck. Better than winning publishers clearing house sweepstakes or all the little com boned! Is that you? I was there and the picture looks like me coming back to the hotel on the FAA contract. Did you search me out and place this here like I now the secret that only sparrows god gifts the lessons of love and how God blesses them with heart of partnership that if everyone new and learned from them it will save the world… ??? . Side by side they look at me everyday trying to tell me what a wonderfull thing it would be if we could hold hands like you humans do.. they revealed this lesson to me. I’m amazed at the great wisdom such a tiny creature has that we walk pass and care little for. Something I can never do again and look at them the same from this day forward. A blessing that we could gain in another glorious establishing fact of God’s plan and how precious God creatures are that we have obligation to protect.

      • Cully Gregory
        | Reply

        Lottos combined ! I don’t like that logic in the auto complete feature of the android OS.

        Replace that error above please. Mary. Kisses for Valentine’s day if I may to you from me. You deserve much more than that for the romantic at heart

    • Cully Gregory
      | Reply

      Cully Gregory.

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