Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Ode to the ZIP Code 2022 Finalists!

Your ZIP Code is more than an address. It is an identity.

Every year, Toledo City Paper and Toledo Area Parent partner with The Fair Housing Center, The Arts Commission and the Toledo Lucas County Public Library for the annual Ode to the ZIP Code poetry contest. As part of the event, writers of all ages submit five line poems— each line with a number of words corresponding to the numbers in their ZIP Code. Over 250 poets submitted entries this year. The winning poems will be presented at a special virtual event on April 19 (419 Day) at 6pm, via Zoom and Facebook Live.

What poems best captured the spirit of the 419 this year? Here are the finalists!


Victoria Austin, 43612
I’m from the mud.
cultivated, evolving, growing
remember the past, build the future
and LIVE

Debra Buchanan, 43605
Vibrant scintillating sunrises, sunsets
Reflecting on steel
Structures, towers, flare stacks, tanks, spires

Dirty nickel at its best

Bridget Hanson, 43607
Empty fields five houses
One block down
Bullets flying people dying community trying

People take a stand kill no man

Jamie Heath, 43537
River warms, ice melts
Wading fishermen crowd
Rods and reels; bait, lures
Jigging and rigging
Walleye bite. Line draws tight. Pull, whir.

Mariah Horton, 43608
4-Four abandoned houses nearby
3-Three wrecking balls
6-Six neighbors breaking in new soil
0-Zero (abandoned houses)
8-Eight garden beds bringing food security to us

Brayden Marshall, 43606
“you will do better”
Bell tower tunes
Rocket pride illuminate the hallow halls

one door closes, another dorr opens.

Mason Michalak, 43612
The raccoon trots over
worn, broken asphalt
raised by thick tree roots and
the sewer

Hunter (Huntorprey) Turner, 43604
4 Heart of the city
3 Art Tatum’s space
6 Blending church steeples and skyscrapers alike
0 –
4 Holy Toledo begins here

Trini Wenninger, 43560
So, where ya’ll from?
From Sylvania, Ohio.
That near Columbus? Cleveland? Cincinnati?
No, it’s north, northwest of Toledo.
<<blank stare>>

Laura Willis, 43620
4 As roads intersect at
3 Bancroft and Ashland
6 Artists present beautification: wildstyle; tagging; slap ]
2 everything but
0 [empty] <— This is intended, however, to be written.


Michael Bailey III, 43614
The sedate city Toledo
quiet hidden dangers
filled with storms,tornadoes,mosquitoes and
A quiet town Toledo

William Baldwin, 43613
The net goes swish
Fans roaring loud
The final score on the jumbotron
Cemented into history

Aubrey Brant, 43528
In every other yard
Dogs, good boys
Bark as I walk past
And wave
Like a parasite, who can’t take a hint

Oliver Cherry-Timmons, 43613
Where buildings now stand,
Once there was
Swamp, turned from wet to dry
Now our home.

Maya Fillion-Ritchie, 43620
Old West End Investigators
watched out windows,
binoculars pressed firmly on frozen glass.
Looking, listening
(for loose crumbs)

Alaya Huddleston, 43610
sunrise shines dirty windows,
kittens hoppin fences,
bikes with radios ride down avenues,

Mikaela Jordan, 43608
4 where the teachers teach
3 and food banks
6 reach out to those in need
0 (people all around communing; it’s not always happy times on this side of town, but that’s alright)
4 it’s home you see

James Nauden, 43607
Pale frost stricken net.
Backboard crackling as
wintery knives dive from its bottom
(onto a barren court).
Mimicking sounds of our flat discolored ball.

Finn Olsen, 43566
A place not for
the wanted runner.
Holding up the narrow bridge.
In their color coded sweat pants.
Why can’t they leave Waterville alone?

Rebekah Repp, 43623
A tunnel of trees
Oak and Sycamore
Encompass the road I walk down
As sunlight
Slowly pokes through

YOUTH (12-younger)

Aminah Algendy, 43606
4- Ottawa Hills Elementary School
3- Schools Rarely Close
6- But when it actually does close
6-We have fun at sledding hill

Muhammad Algendy, 43606
4- My friends are fun
3- We love playing
6- At the park and big field
6- We also love to go sledding

Nathaniel Chen, 43615
The day we met
It was snowing
I taste I touch I play
Boom! it is all gone!

Calvin Divinity, 43610
Walking home from school
I love music
Might seem crazy what I’m saying

Xavier Otting, 43560
Olander parks are fun
Libraries are cool
Hockey is my favorite sport
I like swimming in the pool

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