In the Arcade by Jan Palmer
In the Arcade by Jan Palmer

EDITOR'S NOTE: Asbury Park is an ArtPoem, in which a work of art or photograph inspires a poem, or vie versa. ArtPoems 2015 will be performed at BIG ARTS on February 27 at 7:30 p.m. A choreographed dance by Dance Alliance will accompany the reading of “Asbury Park.” ArtPoems will be featured at Arts for Act Gallery, Fort Myers, for the month of March beginning with Art Walk on Friday, March 6, from 6-9 p.m.


Asbury Park

Inspired by In the Arcade by Jan Palmer


You bring out the boardwalk in me,

wood slats rising above ocean dunes.

Walking the walk stretches back time,

a life line to a place called home.


Sunday dress, black patent leather shoes,

strolling with my dad, sipping cream soda.

After the merry-go-round, sitting on a bench

licking frozen custard, facing the ocean.


You bring out the teenager in me, Senior Prom

at the Berkeley Carteret Hotel striving for the

epitome of elegance, noble boardwalk. You were

there when Ray Charles rocked Convention Hall.


Cold winter-whipped walk when my bridal party

chose those pink taffeta dresses for my June

wedding a few blocks downtown at Steinbach’s,

a diamond solitaire on my gloved hand.


O boardwalk baby, you bring out the mama

in me, pushing my first born in a stroller,

his eyes wide as fireworks flare. No one

knew they were close to your last hurrah.


Bruce Springsteen could sing Greetings From

Asbury Park, but could not save you. Drugs moved in,

mansions managed by slum lords and painted horses

from the carousel placed on the auction block.


You bring out the survivor in me, no matter

how abandoned, splintered, nails popped, you

rose anew, a classic, stretching your slats.

Even Sandy’s wrath could not destroy you.


You bring out Jersey Girl roots in me, both

of us a little weathered, yet wanting to walk

the walk, one more time when I see your sign:

Love You to the Moon and Back.


Lorraine Walker Williams


About the poem: This ArtPoem was inspired by artist, Jan Palmer’s photograph. Seeing the disarray in the photo brought back memories of better times in Asbury Park that were connected to my early life and thus the poem evolved.