A Poem by Ziggy Matthews

This is #5 of 300 in my series. The topic was to rename my hometown. It became a great time to reflect on my life here and the feelings that come up whenever I drive by different places.



My prison. My tragedy. My home.

Not a place of acceptance.

As I look around at the skyline,

What else could be expected?

It’s the place that every childhood memory took place,

But it’s also the home of too many nightmares

That will never be erased.


After a year of social isolation,

I realize more each day

That I can’t escape.

Eventually, I have to accept

Everything that happened:


The heartbreak, the bad decisions,

The awkward feelings, the tainted incisions.

When I look into the sky

All is see is failed ambition

For the sake of erasing




When will I be free?


For you, Ole Omaha,

I wish this were an ode for you.

But how can you love something

When it feels so



Too far gone?

Can it be redeemed?


I can still feel the chains around my wrists

As if they were my birth right,

My own crucifixion.

If Christ bore the weight of all my sins,

Then tell me why they still feel so




Would rusty nails and plywood erase these memories?



They’d all stay

Floating around in my head

Coming back up at the worst moments.

They always know which moments…

If only I could surrender these memories

And let them go.

Maybe then they wouldn’t haunt me.


But I remember too well

Those times behind the Burger King

In that back alley.

I remember too well

Biking down sixty-ninth street


I remember too well

Climbing on top of my

Elementary school roof

And wondering what it was like to fly.

I remember too well

The knife I held to my throat

Outside on the corner

Of Sixtieth and Leavenworth.


But there were good ones, too.

I remember that innocent moment

In the arcade below Westroads.

The mini golf, the flirting.

The asking out my first real love.

The shooting paint balls at cars

From my friend’s roof.

I remember being so proud

When I got that full ride scholarship.

That night when my life changed for the better

In the basement of Sixty First and Lafayette.

My proposing to my wife underneath the full moon

On my apartment balcony.

Oh, I remember.

How could I forget?


Omaha, you’re home to so many things.

Are you my isolation or my only good thing?

Sometimes I wish I could forget you.

Spread my wings and migrate

To somewhere new.

A place that doesn’t know me,

And I don’t know it.

But like any other bird,

Nature will bring me back,

Forever trapping me in your grips.

My prison. My tragedy. My home.

Photo by John Matychuck on Unsplash

© 2021 Ziggy Matthews

Author's Note

Ziggy Matthews
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed! What memories flood your mind when you think of your hometown?

My Review

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I am a fellow Nebraskan, I consider myself a Lincolnite and most of my memories of Omaha revolve around bad traffic at the 680 split on trips through or to the airport, I guess I have some good memories from the Henry Dorley. I feel intimately familiar with my hometown, seems like there's memories on every corner. Even though I now live in an exurb I feel like I'm part of Lincoln. Where do you teach?

Posted 3 Years Ago

Ahhh, I relate to this poem so much, thank god I'm finally leaving my hometown (I hope) and starting over somewhere new, somewhere where I don't have such a stained/dirtied reputation, living in a small town makes it hard to keep people outta your business, so you were lucky to grow up in the whole "big-city" scene of things, whenever I think about my hometown, I think about my ex-best friend stabbing me in the back and exposing me to the world (Like, all my secrets and everything) and just ruining my name all over Oglethorpe County, but I do think about the bittersweet memories I have with her as my best friend, but I always find bad in good situations (I know those words sound familiar to you) so I've been mainly focused on our last encounter that tainted our friendship forever, which tainted my view of my own hometown forever, so much bad has gone down in my hometown and I'm just glad I'm leaving :) I've felt like Oglethorpe County was my prison for the longest time, I've always felt trapped, I really related to this poem, Ziggy, maybe not the whole "But like any other bird,
Nature will bring me back,
Forever trapping me in your grips" but everything else, I felt, thank you for sharing your poem and feelings with us about your hometown, glad to know I'm not the only one that feels like that...

Kindly, Nix ❤️️

Posted 3 Years Ago

Memories are many things for good and bad. Sometimes we have to learn to forgive ourselves for things we have done in the past. Easier said than done

This truly shows both the good and the bad in life. Sometimes I feel trapped as well but not because of bad memories simply because I hate the cold winter and want a new adventure in life

Posted 3 Years Ago

You're talking TO the reader about things that generate an emotional response in you without making that meaningful to the reader. You're working to make them "know" when you should be making them care.

When you say, "Not a place of acceptance. As I look around at the skyline, What else could be expected?" What can it mean to me? The last time I was in Omaha was decades ago, but I thought it was pretty nice. And I have to ask, "How can a skyline say it's not a place of acceptance?"

If I knew what Omaha doesn't accept, BEFORE i read the line it might make sense.

My point is that poetry is 100% emotion based, but you're focused on providing data without the context. When you say you remember this, and that, how can it be meaningful to anyone but you.

Think of yourself reading a horror story, Do you want the author to tell you that the protagonist feels terror, or to terrorize you, and make you afraid to turn out the lights? To know, or to feel.

My point is that poetry is all about feelings. But not your feelings, it's about the ones you generate in the reader, as the words are read. That takes an emotion, not a fact-based approach. Make the reader LIVE the events that generated your feelings to do that in the reader. Place the reader int the viewpoint of your protagonist, in the same way you'd do it for fiction.

Is that easy? Hell no. But unless we make the reader care...

Jay Greenstein

Posted 3 Years Ago

Ziggy Matthews

3 Years Ago

Thank yo so much for your critique JayG! It seems like you did not like my intro and that through of.. read more

3 Years Ago

• My original comments about Omaha is not about the city itself, but the memories that cannot be .. read more
When I read this, I have seen the pain you went through. I have gone through similar things and yet they still happen.
Thank you for sharing with us, this was a wonderful read.

Posted 3 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ziggy Matthews

3 Years Ago

Thank you so much for reviewing my piece! Please feel free to send me any read requests you have. I .. read more

3 Years Ago

Thank you. I have a bad habit of sending multiple rr during the day.

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5 Reviews
Added on March 7, 2021
Last Updated on March 7, 2021
Tags: poetry, depression, suicide, omaha, nebraska, ziggy, matthews, love, ode, memories, self hatred, self esteem


Ziggy Matthews
Ziggy Matthews


A disturbed "at-risk" child that grew up to become a semi-functional adult and teacher who helps other "at risk" children become semi-functional adults. Writing is my therapy and passion. Realistic fi.. more..


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