The Broad Street Line: A Series of Haikus

The Broad Street Line: A Series of Haikus
Mary E Chase

Can be read from top to bottom or vice versa.


Fern Rock

Where are we, Philly?

I think there’s too many trees

Am I in Jersey?



Sleek colors and bright

Orange and blue and clean silver

The only one here.



Here you sit, Logan.

Almost the end and nothing

Special going on.



Grungy to a T

Is that blue or green anyway?

Stone in the bucket


Hunting Park

Was there really once

A Hunting Park here long ago?

Feels impossible.



I have a riddle,

What’s green in the middle and

A lake in the city?



Pretty colors in

Red, yellow, and graffiti,

But it feels empty.


North Philadelphia

The eponymous

The busy, the center, the heart,

Where does North Philly start?



Oh old home stop,

I wish someone would mop,

You’re special to me.


Cecil B Moore

T for Temple U,

U-ni-ver-si-tyyy! Fight! Fight!-

Or actually, dont.



Mirrors and abstract forms

Who would have guessed there would be

Such beauty down here?



Leaking water drips

A little kid stares at me

Through the dirty window


Spring Garden

Big, sweeping colors

Sleepy faces and slow feet.

So bright and so bold.



I always thought that

They should call this Chinatown.

Who needs conventions?


City Hall

It’s moments like these

When I actually realize

There’s a world down here.



Yuppies in nice suits,

Last stop for Center City.

You’re not better than us.



Hipsters, punks, artists.

Now entering: South Philly.

Hold onto your hats!



Quintessential stop.

I smell the cheesesteaks from here,

I can hear the diner.



How could I describe

In seventeen syllables

Just what home feels like.



Purple-pink tiles

It feels smaller, somehow cozy.

What a calming place.




Those big, silver columns here

Unlike anywhere else.



Well here we are then,

The end of the line again,

The Narrow Path of Opportunity

By Kyle Kaufmann


Sleeping on the Street



By Natasha Tax





by Dominick Drew


Salvation in the Dark

By Michelle Park

A blanket of darkness overcomes the vibrant colors that once were
All remaining life hastily retreats into the safety of their own worlds.

The once pure night sky littered with stars now obscured by dust and pollution
It has been shrouded by our own clouded minds. The lost generation weeps.

Within this city of brotherly love, the unheard cries of assault ring every night
Love hurts or so I am told—but must love be so heartlessly cruel?

The piercing sirens in the night become a nocturne for the complacent
Are we so deaf to the moans of the weak and dying?

Men lie on the ground, warming themselves with only their memories of the sun
Yet we turn a blind eye to their shivers and pains.

The people step with haste, eyes glassy and despondent. Looking down. Forever down
One wrong step, and all is forfeit. No weakness must be shown.

Rusted fences, broken concrete. Buildings with youth lost-aged beyond its years
The wind whispers an ode to the aggregation of wealth and misappropriation.

On the sidewalks, shattered glass reflects the hopes of many
Broken bottles, broken dreams. Why stay sober when we’re dying, it seems.

Nightclubs and bars. Decadence and depravity
Nests covered in filth serve as a haven for the fearful.

Yet it is always cooler in the night, the day no longer relentless
It offers a short reprieve for those who are enervated.

The darkness hides our weary spirits
We are free to remove our masks of false strength.

The city lights shine brightly like the North Star Polaris
The last beacon of hope for lost souls.

Street lamps guide the lost, it matters not where they lead
Such a path visible only to those who seek new life.

The unfailing moon will not be tarnished, glowing brightly where the stars cannot
Unwavering faith is the message it brings. Always we must continue to fight.

Time is slowed to a peaceful halt. There is no longer any rush
Chains are broken, the halter removed. We are free in the dark of the night.

The nighttime breeze gently caresses our now unfortified bodies
Such delicate comforts lost to us in the war of day.

This city, Philadelphia, both cursed and blessed
Has become our salvation in the dark.

Blue Skylilne

By Tyler Guth

Blue Skyline

In Philly.

In Philly I found cobblestone streets, cracked sidewalks, glistening pavements. I found the oppressive skyline, rigged in form, cold in gaze. I found the curse of capitalism, the nine to five, the women and men in their suits strutting down Market Street, lunch in one hand, leather briefcase in the other.

In Philly I found brittle fingers clutching cardboard signs, Please Help, scrawled in thin black letters, huddled against a concrete wall, balled up on a park bench, shuffling down the sidewalk.

In Philly I found the juxtaposition of rich and poor, the thin, raggedy man rattling his cup at the corner of a wells fargo. His eyes dark and weary. Businessmen slapping away in their slacks and ties, coins rattling in their pockets, coins that will never pass through his aching hands, coins to be lost in the abyss of the modern apartment couch, not even a glance in his direction. Not even one.

In Philly I found the single mother and her child sitting next to me on the subway, her face aged and withered. Her eyes glistening with hope and fear. The child silent, guarded, wondering.
Her voice, a low hum of gravel, telling me that the express train did not run on Sundays, a kindly voice. Thank you, take care.

In Philly, I found the eyes of the people who walked by me, calculating whether or not I was a threat. I found their eyes and gave them a smile. I found their eyes and willed them to see me as me and not another threat in our city. Our beaten and bruised and scarred city.

In Philly, I found hope. I found the warmth in a stranger’s eyes if only you’d hold eye contact for one second longer and acknowledge them. I found the bright faces of the children in their khakis and white polos, skipping down the sidewalk, with endless possibility and all the time in the world in their back pockets.

In Philly I found the narrow dripping alleyways, the broad open museum steps, the impatient car horn, giving me reason to sprint across Broad Street so that you could make a left turn. (You’re welcome) I found the abandoned lots, still fenced in, grass poking through the cracks in the asphalt. I found darkened buildings, and the metal bars that separate the guilty from the innocent.

In Philly I found my voice in the silent hours of night, when I’d lie awake and listen to the distant sirens. And in those sirens I found a lullaby, a prayer.

In the streets of this city, so full of soul.

I found home.
In Philly.

By Lynn Yip

Dark and Light

IMG_3899Walking in Temple University, seeing the light in the dark, and finding the peaceful side of Philadelphia.

City Street




Looking down a side street in North Philadelphia, you’ll come across a vibrant stretch of row homes juxtaposing against the cool tonality of the Center City skyline.

By Joe Schaefer

Deep rooted history

By Amy Page

Deep rooted history
scattered throughout.
City streets and busy highways,
Bypass pages of a history book.
Ink quill pens and signatures
lanterns lit to see.
The flag’s first stitch,
a beautifully cracked bell,
This is Philadelphia.

A heritage so rich
A feeling so deep.
Impeccable beauty,
Surrounds a park full of LOVE.
32 homes along a cobblestone street,
72 steps that became world famous.
Devine, greasy sandwiches
That will always compete,
In a city that bleeds red, orange and green
This is Philadelphia.

15 perfect houses all in a row,
A Founder who stands so tall.
The room where 56 delegates
Said we were free,
And it’s all here
All in our backyard.

If you look beyond the trash
You will see the treasure
If you look beyond the abandoned walls
You will see the ones that could tell stories
If you look beyond the caution tape
You will see the Brotherly Love

At times we’re rowdy
Most times we’re just loud
But, “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”
This is Philadelphia.