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Winners of ZIP code odes read their poems at Vizcaya

Alicia Zuckerman, Editorial Director of WLRN-Miami Herald News, records Odette Barrientos of ZIP code 33013 (Hialeah) as she reads her poem during the finale of the O, Miami poetry contest, ‘Ode to your ZIP code,’ on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at Vizcaya in Coconut Grove
Alicia Zuckerman, Editorial Director of WLRN-Miami Herald News, records Odette Barrientos of ZIP code 33013 (Hialeah) as she reads her poem during the finale of the O, Miami poetry contest, ‘Ode to your ZIP code,’ on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at Vizcaya in Coconut Grove MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Larry Spinner, a retired ad executive living in Boynton Beach, poked fun at the many pharmacies and hospitals in his 33436 ZIP code.

“Hospitals and pharmacies/that's my beat./I'm not a doctor./I'm an old geezer who lives in Boynton Beach.’’

“When retired people get together, they don’t talk about where they went last night,” he said. “They talk about their prescriptions and what the doctors told them. That was part of the inspiration for this poem.”

Rhonda Saunders wrote a more poignant poem, reaching back to her father, a Vietnam vet whose demons followed him until he found refuge in Key West (ZIP code: 33040).

“I own little/and regret less/Key West does that’’

“I get it now,” she said. “My dad inspired me to move here. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have Key West. This poem is my way of thanking him.”

Spinner and Saunders were among the five winners announced Wednesday night in the “Ode to Your ZIP Code,” a month-long poetry contest co-presented by WLRN and O, Miami, a Knight Foundation-funded poetry festival. The poem's form was simple: A Haiku-like poem built around your ZIP code, with the number of words per line and the number of lines in the poem (five) dictated by the five numbers in your code.

The call for ZIP code odes reached 188 South Florida ZIP codes and another 239 from around the country, some coming from as far away as Oregon and New York.

Presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco chose the winners from 3,543 submissions. The five winners read their poems to a crowd of about 200 at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Coconut Grove on Wednesday night.

Nick Vagnoni’s winning piece was about the peacocks that take over the streets of El Portal, whose ZIP code is 33138.

“They’re very entitled,” said Vagnoni, 33. “If you stop your car and a peacock gets in front of it, it turns into a standoff.”

Hence, his poem:

“peacock roadblock peacock/roadblock peacock roadblock/peacock/roadblock peacock roadblock/peacock roadblock peacock roadblock peacock roadblock peacock roadblock’’

The winners

Here are the five winning Zip Odes, announced Wednesday at Vizcaya:

33040 by Rhonda Saunders

I own little/

and regret less/

Key West does that/

33138 by Nick Vagnoni

peacock roadblock peacock/

roadblock peacock roadblock/

peacock/

roadblock peacock roadblock/

peacock roadblock peacock roadblock peacock roadblock peacock roadblock/

33322 by Jeanie Ross

Sun Rise Lakes/

Sun Rise Boulevard/

Sun Set Strip/

Sun this/

Sun that/

33436 by Larry Spinner

Hospitals and pharmacies/

that's my beat./

I'm not a doctor./

I'm an old/

geezer who lives in Boynton Beach/

33140 by Harriet Feuerman

too old to/

wear a bikini/

but/

the sun still shines/

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