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C.N.P Poetry 

The Wrong Place

By: Alice Sanford

We’re in writing class at Vine Street Christian Church, 

When a dark Hell’s Angel swaggers in and asks, “Is this essay?”

We say no, but as he leaves, we yell, “Do you mean writing?”

He rematerializes and says, “No, Essay. 12 steps.”

Now we don’t know. Maybe this is some new technique 

He thinks we’ll teach him. So we answer, “The choir is in the 

Other building,” as he and his black leather jacket leave again.

Someone says, “S.A. Smokers Anonymous.” and lights a cigarette. 

Someone else says, “No. Sex Anonymous.”

And I can imagine smokers wanting to be anonymous

But sex seems kind of tete a tete

And they say, “No. Giving it up. Like Alcoholics.”

I can’t imagine giving up scotch or sex, cigarettes or chocolate,

Especially not sex. But the woman who says it’s sex 

Claims some people do, because their bestial urges 

Interfere with their normal, adult lives,

And I know there ought to be a story in that.

Only, if you were having sex all the time

I don’t see why there would be a problem,

Except for missing out on chocolate 

And a couple of late night TV shows

And maybe skipping work once in a while . . . .

Possibly you’d see a shoe, or a certain movement of a hand . . .

And flowing creamy between your thighs, 

Blood pumping faster in your chest . . . . 

Your eyes would brighten. . . . . The phone would ring . . . .

“May I help you?” you’d say, and really mean it.


Alice Sanford is a Vanderbilt graduate and a member of the Porch Writers Collective in Nashville, Tennessee.

"One evening a 21st century James Dean biker burst into the timed jump-off I’d given the creative writing class. Our brief conversations were a delicious misapprehension of meaning and everyday surrealism --- much more fun than my original prompt. “The Wrong Place” moves from the factual to interpretations by class members --- interpretations which vary with each person’s experience of the world --- and ending with mine. The writing process itself? I’m trying to take you with me, trying to give you my experience. Isn’t writing always a dance between paying close attention to the sensory world and making personal meaning out of what you observe?"


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