There is a secret to be told
About a place in Rotterdam South
Lombardia the place is called
A place that has my house.
The treets are filled with tumbleweed
Of trash just dropped onto the ground
A kid’s first vandalism deed
In the canal a shopping cart found.
Loud music sounds from flats nearby
As I put my kids to bed
While others outside play and cry
To roam the streets instead.
Lombardia a far from perfect place
That much I can tell
A district depressed may be its the case
Still there is a magic spell.
For it is a community still
Where people say hello
Where you can borrow if you will
From neighbors that you know.
In summer, barbeques roll out
where pork chops and kebabs meet
Raki and scotch are all around
Our laughter fills the street.
And Lombardia’s imperfection
Keeps lazy glee at bay
With slowly growing affection
I decide that I will stay.
So I decided to go with the easiest rhyme scheme possible for a ballad: abab. The hardest part was working with assonance. I think the fifth verse “For it’s a community still” as a repeating ‘o’ vowel in each line, but I don’t know for sure if I hit the mark on that one.
Contentwise, it’s was quite easy to write as our family is recovering from ‘moving-house-fever’. We like the neighborhood, our neighbors and our house. But we believe we could do better: a better neighborhood and a bigger house that is. Bottom line is: that neighborhood would be further from our eldest son’s high school where he attends a special class for gifted learners. That neighborhood would be harder to reach with public transport, something both my husband and I rely on for work. Of course we could make friends with our new neighbors and class mates, but it must be said: we have pretty cool neighbors. And my toddler has his first best friend. And then I’m not even mentioning the costs of that bigger house.
So consider this poem therapy for my moving-house-fever. My neighborhood may not be perfect, but it’s quite alright.
xoxo – Irene.
8 thoughts on “Ghetto happy”
I really liked this one – how the neighborhood may not be the greatest, but some neighbors make it fun. We live in a neighborhood where we hardly know our neighbors, even though we have lived here for 9 years. Sad, but most people keep to themselves. Thanks for sharing about your neighborhood. It makes me hope for a better place to live once I feel the time is right to move.
Timing is important, especially with kids! The next house and hood would have to be perfect if we were to move further from my boys’ schools and friends.
Yes, we are probably waiting until my kids graduate from high school – my son is junior, but my daughter is only in 4th grade. By then we will have this house in decent enough shape to sell.
I really love this one. So alive. So vivid.
Thank you! Alive and vivid makes me happy.
I enjoyed both your poem and your affection for your neighborhood. I like that you didn’t try to paint it all ‘rosy’ — just described it, flaws and all. Loved your last four lines!
Wow – I couldn’t tell you were keeping it real ghetto lifestyle from your previous poems 😉 Good work.
Let’s call it the freedom of an poet’s interpretation or blame it on ‘lost in translation’ 🙂