Nancy Scott: Invitation to Browse

RUNNING DOWN BROKEN CEMENT                                  CvrBrokenCement_2w-resized
Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2014

The book is a collection of narrative and lyrical poems inspired by my career, spanning several decades, as a social worker for the State of New Jersey, when I responded to allegations of child abuse and assisted homeless families to find permanent housing in the community, and also by my experiences as a foster parent.

Review by Donna Donovan, Midwest Book Review, 2014: Running Down Broken Cement.  Go to Links page for review by Michael Northen at Wordgathering, a journal of disability poetry and literature, December, 2014.

Autographed copies discounted at $10, plus $2.50 postage, available at Also from publisher. For more details, including sample poems: Click here to go directly to my author’s page.

Kelley Jean White, MD, has said this about the book: Nancy Scott is truly a voice crying in the wilderness, the American wilderness of broken cement and breaking lives. She has earned her voice by years of work among the poorest of our poor, with those struggling on the edges of our broken systems of health, education, and welfare. She has listened carefully and now bears witness to the sufferings and triumphs of…those neighbors we have turned our backs on…. You may need to read this book slowly, a few poems at a time, but you need to read it. These are not pretty stories–they will trouble your spirit and break your heart. Scott’s people will stay with you, those who are hungry, unhoused, sometimes angry, yet often wise and forgiving. You’ll watch Rosalita tenderly care for a child despite her broken body, meet Andre and Woody, Tyrone and Calvin, Danela and Balfour, young people struggling to find reasons and ways to live on our bleakest streets, wait with Marisol at the welfare office and free clinic. You’ll also visit Myra, nearly eighty, who counsels parents of suicides, Roger who’s learning to cook “as a blind man”, Mary, who at 81 pleads to have her apartment back…

The Ship Builder

Perhaps by a quirk of hormonal imbalance
or a reckless moment of indecision,
she’s neither a man nor a woman.

In our Victoria’s Secret world
she’s a nightmare—heavy brow,
ample breasts, and paw-like hands.

With these hands, she builds ship models
with popsicle sticks, tying
intricate knots, fully-rigged sails.

She explains it takes months to finish
a ship, paint and lacquer it, making sure
all the riggings are exactly right.

Suddenly her fingers are nimble and lithe.
It isn’t a man or woman I see
but the mainsail taut in a steady wind.

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