At our previous two Pens and Pints events, YPOP members and friends shared their creative sides by writing poems and stories about Parma. Check out some of their pieces below:

by Joyce Ashman

When the Polish Constitution reaches out to us, we definitely answer that call.

It was a warm Saturday afternoon in May and cars were lined up and down Ridge Road. There was everything from marching bands to clowns to vintage-style automobiles. But there was something eerie in the air. We’d received word there were ghosts overtaking St. Charles Borromeo Church, the final destination for the Parma Polish Constitution Day Parade.

We gathered our unlicensed nuclear accelerators, psychokinetic energy meters and muon ghost traps, leapt into the MINI-1M Ectomobile, ready to protect Parma and its people from the chaos we knew we’d soon be facing. From past experience, we knew it was up to us to choose the destructor. 

Once on scene and in position, our leader said, “Clear your minds! We need to think of nothing that could harm the city!” We each stood there, clearing our minds and thinking of nothing.

“Wait!” one of our team members exclaimed. There, over the tree line, we saw it.

“Who that of that?!?” our team leader moaned. “We were supposed to empty our minds of everything!”

A giant, golden-brown pierogi loomed over the neighborhood shops. Melted butter flung off the puffy dough without caring who it splattered.

“I tried to clear everything I was thinking about, but the aroma of this delicious, filled dumpling was too hard to resist. Didn’t you hear my stomach growl?” our newest recruit admitted.

“That’s a big pierogi!” another team member laughed.

“Alright, alright, alright. We answered the call so we need to handle this. This squishy, mashed potato-filled, hunger-inducing dumpling is toast!” said our leader.

We switched on our packs, pointed our throwers at the Polish-prided pierogi and pressed the fire button. The glow of the positively charged ion stream lit up the area and hit the 600-foot pierogi. Mashed potatoes flew everywhere.

Covered in the starchy goodness, our newest recruit cried, “I think we’ve been… MASHED! I LOVE THIS TOWN”

Paczki By Jackie Baraona

Oozing with flavor

They’re good with a beer

To scarf or to savor

The choice couldn’t be clearer

Paczki is Parma’s favorite Fat Tuesday treat

You can pick them up on Ridge Road, Parma Bourbon Street

Covered in sugar and deep fried to delight

Open the red box, what a beautiful sight

Breads and Beyond, Colozza’s, Rudy’s, too

Nothing beats sharing a paczki with you

Parmatown Mall by Jackie Baraona

Let’s take a trip down memory lane

When the Shoppes at Parma had another name

Parmatown was the hangout when I was young

My friends and I used to go and have tons of fun

Grabbing free samples or a slice as Sbarro

My plans involve Parmatown yesterday, today, & tomorrow

Stopping at Kaufmans to pick up some shoes

The bookstore or KB Toys, it’s up to you to choose

Hit up the theater to grab a flick

Home Alone or American Pie — take your pick!

Everything good must come to an end

We closed it down for something a little more on trend

So patron those shoppes, but don’t forget your roots

Parmatown is a classic that’s iconic to boot!

Love of City by Jackie Baraona

80,000 people with a small town feel

Every corner has a steeple or a place to get a meal

Your neighbors know your there name

There’s a lot of things to do

Pierogi is a claim to fame

Pizza, paczki, polka too

And if you seek to meet a friend

Who lives in your municipality

Then come to a YPOP event

Because Parma is the place to be

Ice Cream of Parma by Kate Blake

Parma has many yummy ice cream shops

Where you can head to on a hot day

If off the cone, your tasty treat flops

It is likely that again you will pay.

The first stop is Honey Hut

Located along State Road

You can try flavors like Cotton Candy or Cherry Nut

A red and white striped sign marks this abode.

The second stop is Lumpy’s

On a street called Pearl

The Rocky Road may be bumpy

But you should give it a whirl. 

Brayson’s is third on the list you should try

Coconut Avalanche is my fave

While Ridge Road traffic may make you cry

You should trust the recommendation I gave. 

Lastly you can’t miss Zero Zest

But don’t let the zero in the name fool you

If any shop should be awarded the best

This is where first prize is due. 

I hope you enjoyed this tour of treats

First day of summer, you are ready to go

Nothing is better which beats the heat

Whether you’re with a friend or a foe. 

Picnic in the Park by Matt Egizii

A bright, sunny day in the park

A throng celebrating a community event

White tents and the smell of food truck grease

Ohio heat, Lake Erie humidity, the wind stands still

A riot of noise and movement

Loud conversation about this, that, the other

I sit in a stiff plastic chair, sweltering but smiling

Next to me, a fair-weather featherless friend

He stands still but has no legs to run

His wings are ornamental, fused to his sides

A cotton candy colored companion

The stillness of the air avails him not

A sun-seared smile sits beneath his snout

Transfixed upon the explosion of activity he cannot share

Floyd waits and wonders and dreams

Polish Village by Kerri Kirsch

Polish village is the place to be,

Especially if you like Rudy’s.

Mardi Gras is the day for paczki,

Considering I am a Budzinski.

Everyone is Polish on this day,

And in Parma on the 5th of May.

Brayson’s and Krakow have really good food,

You’ll see lots of white socks with those Parma dudes.

Raise a glass at Schnitzel ale brew,

Then Das Schnitzel Hauser for goulash stew.

Polish Village has something for everyone,

Mainly fun, fun, fun!

Parma-Ridge Library by Laura Bednar

A familiar creek of the floorboards greets me

through the security gate of the Parma-Ridge Library.

A cast of characters that defines the city’s melting pot status

occupies the seats of the computers.

Living an Amish lifestyle, my home was internet-free, 

leading me to be a slave to the 30 allotted minutes 

the library computers offer.

School projects were done next to elderly men reading the news,

Young kids playing video games,

and that one person making odd noises, 

unable to remember their library card number 

to gain access to the blinking screen.

My number runs in red across the digital screen on the circulation desk,

choosing me for the library lottery.

Kicking out the current user and placing me at the top of the digital food chain.

Michael A. Ries Ice Rink by Laura Bednar

Never very outgoing, I bit the bullet

and wobbled my legs out onto the ice

of Michael A. Ries Rink.

The echoing arena opened before my friends and I 

to make as much trouble as 13-year-olds could.

Scraping along at Bambi speed, 

my friends insisted I let go of the wall.

As I starfished on the ice, a young boy skated up,

the confidence of a suave player at only age 6.

Claiming he was my boyfriend, he casually mentioned his age

as I rested my ankles in the penalty box.

I quickly exited, grabbing fistfuls of my friend’s jacket to balance myself.

The introvert was asked out, just 7 years too early. 

Its a Sunday Serenade by Darlene Gareau

You’re a Parma resident — you got in a hurry in the school zone. You were late. Now you’re really late. You mail in a check with a flamingo design on it and go on.

Two weeks later, you’ve in front of Parma High, the lights in the mirror. “But officer …” You write a bigger check. It has a flamingo design on it.

Three days later, speeding past Greenbriar, three strikes and you’re going to serve the Sunday Serenade.

Attend church at three Parma churches of three different languages or religions and you’ll get your redemption.

You’re a non-resident — you go through the school zone at 21 miles per hour — straight to Sunday Serenade and no pierogies for you

State Road Declares Itself Parma’s One True Main Street by Jeremy Jusek

I harbor snark for Brookpark,

the highway’s toilet — salutations

to four-eighty’s evacuation

but it’s got nothing to wipe with

except car dealerships,

don’t tell Rollhouse I said this.

Then there’s Ridge, overblown yuppie

think it’s special just because it crosses

the name-stealing Ridgewood. They think

they’re special because of the mall —

but that took its fall and is no longer there.

These rigid twins are two fallen angels

guarding Eden, paradise turned Chipotle timeshare.

And if they think they’re “Main”

they can chew my underwear —

which is, of course, mostly gravel.

Pearl’s a contender, forming

intersecting triangles down to Berea

and beyond, but I’m onto Pearl’s affair

with Bagley: two scraggly lengths

of concrete that love each other madly.

And I’m not disloyal!

Meanwhile I’ve got intersectional access

to every type of address: Sloppy Bob’s,

our most recognizable churches, delis

and bakeries and Honey Hut ice cream,

Bar 17 and Ukrainian food — I’m the drivable

open-to-all location-heavy dude.

I don’t know what the polls say or how many votes

this speech will sway, but I’d take my stoplights

any day over Pearl and Ridge’s hellish four-way.