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  • Jennifer Preston Chushcoff


Happy 80th Parkway! 

A Newspaper Blackout Poem in honor of Tacoma’s Parkway Tavern

After reading the News Tribune’s article about the Parkway Tavern, written by Kari Plog, I wanted to write a poem honoring the establishment. I’ve written similar poems, including one for Katie Down’s, which appears on the Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo’s Listening Project website.

As I sorted through ways to begin, I decided it would be a fun challenge to come up with a poem using the article.

I first heard about this technique in the Tacoma News Tribune around 2010 when poet, Austin Kleon, created what’s considered the first “Newspaper Blackout Poem.” I encourage you to try it out and explore. All you need is a newspaper and a marker. Many poets make good use of this form. It’s become so popular, there are even contests

I’ve printed the poem here, where it’s much easier to read. I apologize for the double space; I can’t control that. I hope you enjoy it! If you get inspired to write your own, let me know! I’d love to see it.

the walls describe the neighborhood bar Parkway epitomizes people Tacoma workers the element the iconic hangout shrouded in nostalgia can’t define whatever it is, the Parkway lovers mark the tavern’s 80th with  music, games and merchandise. Of course,  occasion isn’t required to celebrate the slow afternoon warm and welcoming. Every customer greeted regulars familiar faces bartenders never forget history hangs on the walls, dozens of old  photographs and clippings,  tap handles a champagne toast.  Nomads on homecoming tours the night for soldiers and students an adoration of this place as with any old bar stories repeat a place like this a place like this once its yours, it always is a string of  decades one of the oldest and Defiant originally a corner store. It’s unclear what led to the change but many within walking distance start  moving away but regardless of why they all make it back the bar’s history and the springtime barleywine burst at the seams everybody comes back to  a destination thanks to O’Gara who died last spring the family could grieve together everyone knows  the beloved bartender  Broaddus died people still ask picking fondest Parkway memories the longtime love keeps coming back come in and see a friend  it’s a safe place to share everyone knows  the bar’s magical, more than a quick pint. The bartenders grew up popular the defunct smelter, the motorcycle sidewalk beer waiting inside that’s the Parkway, good people on both sides of the bar eight decades of drinking and  local lore an unknown time common to world-renowned patrons a city meeting at the bar gathering stories fun to tell no matter the ups and downs, the Parkway holidays, late-night regulars turn away in a daze to shake it off back to business the  next morning, another day in the  books at the neighborhood bar where there are no words,  just a feeling  pouring  another pint within these walls.


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