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To celebrate National Poetry Month, we asked you to write a poem about a place in South Florida that means something to you, and include the phrase "this is where."We read nearly 600 poems throughout this contest and featured some on air. Then you voted for your favorite, and our panel of judges (made up of published poets) selected theirs.Five contest winners were announced on April 30 at Miami Club Rum.See the winners here.

#ThisIsWhere: Poems About The Unobvious Thing

@alwaysbrig / Instagram


Each week at #ThisIsWhere we try to avoid having a theme. But they just keep happening anyway. 

It's oddly organic. With no larger agenda in mind, you pick out what you think are the ten best poems from the recent submissions. You read them over, and suddenly, like storm clouds parting, there it is: a theme.

Last week it was Miami Traffic Poetry.

This week it is the Unobvious Thing.

Sometimes the Unobvious Thing makes itself clear midway through a poem. (See Scott Fiore's "The Wall" or Stelios Serdenes "The Hatching".)

Sometimes it lurks at the edge of the reader's perception and never fully reveals itself. (See Jaime Rodriguez poem about the Convenant House, or Ms. Rudy D's poem about Tap Tap.)

But the Unobvious Thing always brings some resonance and mystery. It always keeps you thinking.

The one thing we can be sure of in all this: #ThisIsWhere is a joint project of the O, Miami Poetry Festival, WLRN, and the poets of South Florida. 

If you would like to submit a poem, go here.



by Steve Pollack of Miami

Heaven had one thousand, two hundred sixty-five

Cushy seats,

All the icy air you could breathe and a magical screen

More vast than a South Florida summer

Then, a shortage of angels,

When they, those bastards, cut heaven in two

The twinning struck like hell fire in 1983

Down the middle of the 163rd Street Theater

In a misnamed suburb, neither North Miami nor Beach

This is where they downsized Hollywood dreams

The where: 163rd Street Theatre, North Miami Beach



Cuba & Miami: A Love Story

by Adrian Cárdenas of Hialeah

This is where the kiss is longer, 

where I create a narrative that’s otherwise: 

Mima and Pipo walk to our house to speak to us 

about their sex life, making my mother and me 

laugh. They sit on the rocking chairs next to the window

and he squeezes her thigh. Para, Miguel! a coy smile follows.

¿Que? he responds. My father waves at them 

from the garden; they wave back. Everyone has moved on.

The where: Miami Lakes




by Elizabeth Coale of Miami

The old guy called me chicken legs in front of the apples

He said it to my face, but in Spanish so I wouldn’t know it

Except I had a translator.


Then I tried to buy this dessert thing

Quiere ese en una bolsa?

I didn’t understand the cashier

Because Diego went back to the car.

So I said ‘que’ because I know it means what.


This is where I came to get 99¢ manzanas

And experience another culture

But instead the cashier’s glaring

At this stupid white girl. I think next time,

I’ll just go to Walmart.

The where: A food store on Flagler




by Jaime Rodriguez of Pompano Beach

A Ministry of Availability from a tenement on Seventh.

Tigers and lambs, isn't that right Reverend.

Lighters and cans, and an AIDS epidemic.

They would only release me to the Cuv., in the care of, for the remainder of.

But, THIS IS WHERE it was.

Breakers and Vista Mar, the Sand Castle Motel.

Takers with, Kids in cars, the Boys Wont tell.    

But, The smell, Salt to Sulfur, Where Lucifer Fell.

Lost and Sober, on the Harbors of  Mariel.

The where: The Covenent House in Fort Lauderdale



The Wall

Credit Scott Fiore
The Wall.

by Scott Fiore of Fort lauderdale

The cracking glass would eventually shatter and resonate to the sleeping,

Metal was easily impressed, but emitted a faint, tolling bell.

Wood, organic, cushioned, but created splinters and a thud.

Sand catches delicately, but slowly covers.

Feathers would only engulf, silently, forever.

This is where I found my wall.

The where: Dania Jai Alai



Appelrouth Lane

by Katharine Doughty of Key West

This is where I will grow up I knew somehow

on this one block one way bookended by justice, 

gutted at the corner of happy and healthy.

There, perpendicular, gaze trained on Mile Zero, I would drink,

partly because I like to watch the light changing.

Here a restaurant, fetish shop, nightclub, guest house gone straight,

Lawyers, artists, homeless, one seasoned sailor, and chickens

feed on Spanish Lime and Mangos that fall into the street.

This is the parking lot of the revolution.

Lady Ylang Ylang shakes her tresses into the night air 

There are 100 mermaids sleeping under my bed,

Klezmer music outside the window at 2am.

Is this where, stumbling home, Hemingway rested?

Are these those baby shoes I found in the trash or my own?

The where: Appelrouth Lane in Key West


The Hatching

Stelios Serdenes of Hollywood

Between Oak & Elm,

Two tree-streets visited by Apollo

Long before they were named.

Golden sands, Calypso’s favorite.

On a cool September midnight, 

After the departure nearby

Of a roaring jet going south,

Two big, black raisins pop out,

Ready for a long voyage

To the opposite direction,

On top of a loggerhead.

This is where the beautiful

Birth of a Caretta-Caretta

Can be experienced.

The where: North Hollywood Beach




By Ms. Rudy D of Miami Beach

my American man eager to please I took him

colors collide while Caribbean jazz plays kissed by the sun

we get the usual

sauce pwa, mais moulin, fish, rum

on the way home in his long black car

he touches me freely with pride

Did you feel the bass player's burning stare? 

He loves you.

one year later

this is where I was married

The where: Tap Tap in Miami Beach



Breaking News

Serafima Fedorova of Miami Beach

This is where a man 

stepped on a manatee 

and died of a heart attack.

His obituary might be

written in Spanglish

next to an ad for a strip club. 

And the tourists won’t know

that he was found naked, 

straddling the ocean,

waterlogged like gossip columns

bloated like the yellow pages.

We will mourn him 

in the burnt coffee of Monday.

We will bury him

in the smoke of our fathers' cigars.

The where: Unknown



Salt Silence/Silencio Salado

By Cesar Omar Cortes Montes of Hallandale Beach

This is where the beach opens its sand arms

to confess that my heart should be in the hands of the sea.

In the distance I hear the cars running fast along Ocean drive

fleeing from the sun, seeking shade to rest.

This is Hallandale beach,

this is where the silence is another way of talking

and where I prefer Keep this silence to say the things that I can not say

those words that are daughters of death and fear.

In this beach my silence is worth more than all the treasures

by shipwrecked men in a time without time.

On this beach I translate the language of the wind

and again I feel alive, terribly awake.



Aquí es donde la playa abre sus brazos de arena

para confesarme que mi corazón cabe en las manos del mar.

A lo lejos escucho a los autos que corren veloces por Ocean drive

huyendo del sol, buscando una sombra para descansar.

Esto es Hallandale beach,

aquí es donde el silencio es otra forma de hablar

y en donde prefiero callar

para decir las cosas que no puedo decir:

esas palabras que son hijas de la muerte y del miedo.

En esta playa mi silencio vale más que todos los tesoros

por los que hombres naufragaron en un tiempo sin tiempo.

En esta playa traduzco el idioma del viento

y vuelvo a sentirme vivo, terriblemente despierto.

The where: Hallandale Beach