Ode to Anacostia

Reginald Conway

This November, 826DC is thrilled to publish our very first compendium: a collection of the best of the best from our first five years. To celebrate the release here on the blog we will be posting a weekly podcast consisting of selections from the book, read aloud by students, volunteers, staff, and other friends of 826DC. So find a comfy spot and get ready to listen, savor, and share the words of our most inspiring young authors. This project is made possible in part by support from AT&T Aspire.

You Will Be Able to Say a Thousand Words collects the best writing from 826DC’s first five years of running fun and unique writing-based programs. Spanning genres and styles, students ages 6-18 imagine dangers on the high seas, struggles with bullying, and mourn loved ones. From advice to their former selves to advice for the reader, students begin a journey that starts on the page and ends in the boundlessness of the imagination.

This week’s featured piece from the collection is “Ode to Anacostia” by Reginald Conway, first published in City Blossoms. Reading for us today is all-star 826DC volunteer Tara Campbell. She is the grateful recipient of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ (DCCAH) 2016 Larry Neal Writers’ Award in Adult Fiction, and the DCCAH 31st Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding New Artist.


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Home to

Kids running on pilgrimages until the street lights came on,

Anacostia,

Where you were bound to see ten ice-cream trucks a day,

And a pink pickled egg in someone’s hand.

Everybody knew everybody,

From Barry Farms to Wahler Place

Why so much beef now?

I remember when I discovered abandoned buildings,

Climbing until I couldn’t anymore.

Anacostia,

Where the 94 bus came.

Could you believe it was only 75 cents?

I will never forget–

The holder of my innocent thoughts.

Every day,

I lived in a different game,

From Freaky Friday

To Shame, shame, shame.

Anacostia,

Is a possibility.

Every portion of cracked concrete has a face,

Telling the history of how rich it was and will always be.

“Pinch me because I must be dreaming”

About Anacostia.

Home to culture,

Southeast, and finger-licking memories.

Home to Go-Go.

Anacostia.