Dark Side

Night Photography in Virginia

Night View of East Main Street, Norfolk, Virginia, ca. 1914

Harry C. Mann (1866–1926) Night View, Facing East on the 200 block of East Main Street, Norfolk, Virginia, ca. 1914

Harry C. Mann (1866–1926)
Night View, Facing East on the 200 block of East Main Street, Norfolk, Virginia, ca. 1914


Respond to this image with short story or poem (under 1,000 words) and post it below to enter the Dark Side Writing Contest. See Contest Information page for full details.

Though the contest is now concluded, but you can read the entries below and the Winning Entries.

Creative Commons License
This work by Library of Virginia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

5 Responses to “Night View of East Main Street, Norfolk, Virginia, ca. 1914”

  1. Riley Slate says:

    You make me laugh, but you don’t see past the lie in my eyes.
    Can’t you tell you’re breaking my heart, little by little?
    Every time you smile, every time you crack a joke, you crack my heart.
    But you’re too caught up in your laughs to see that mine are fake.
    So fake that, when I turn away, my laughs turn to secret tears.
    I walk down the alleyway of my family, but still, no one sees my tears.
    My tears can turn to hate real quick, but this, I hide with care.
    This hate fills in the cracks in my heart and transforms my heart to steel.
    You would think that this steel would be hard to break,
    but it only takes one hit to shatter it completely.
    And when it shatters, my chest is empty.
    I can feel the emptiness and nothing else.

  2. Thomas Maluck says:

    “Another Round For Riley”

    Not everyone is up all night
    but some are arm in arm,
    triggering the special scorn
    of a man suffering self-harm.

    Riley’s friends called him out
    but now they’re cashing out their tabs
    and Riley’s out of cash,
    empty pockets for empty cabs.

    The tram cars are out of service,
    but their rails help Riley downhill,
    like the lights that meet on the horizon\
    and suggest an end to his tunnel.

    Norfolk chills those alone,
    sending birds back to the Bay.
    Nothing warms Riley’s walk home
    like sleeping in all day.

  3. Abigail Parsons says:


    This world can be so
    Will the street lamps always gaze upon the stars
    Jealous of their natural beauty?

    Or will there be a day
    When the stars will give way
    And lamp-light shines as bright as the hope in our own hearts?
    It’s hard to say.

    Will the waters of the world turn to oil at human touch?
    And will the glistening pureness of the Earth
    Turn into black gold
    More valuable now then even our own lives?
    We shall see.

    All this waiting
    Praying for a change
    That only we can make in this dark world.
    Stop the thinking;
    Start the acting.

    Be the star that shines so bright
    Be the water, cool and clear
    Don’t ignore the things you see
    Help the world to stay sincere.

  4. Savannah Wilson says:

    A Song of Freedom

    I gaze down the street, squinting to shield my eyes from the glare of the lights. They hang overhead, swaying, creaking in the sharp November breeze. I take a deep breath. Do I really want to do this?
    I know the answer. I have asked this question to myself thousands of times throughout the past week, whenever I lie in bed, whenever I walk down the street, whenever I allow myself the leisure of thought. And I know. I know that the answer is yes.
    Yes, I must do this. Yes, I must do this alone. Yes, I must do this now, now, while I still have the chance. Now, before I change my mind. Now, before I become afraid.
    Slowly, cautiously, carefully, I step off of the street. Huddle on the sidewalk. Wait for the last few stragglers to leave, to go home, to forget that there is one person who has not yet gone in, who is left alone with only the night for company.
    Behind me, I hear the sharp click of footsteps. Then a voice. “Excuse me ma’am. Do you need somebody to escort you home?”
    I jump, then hurry to hide the large bag that I’m holding beneath my coat. “Uh…no, no thank you, sir. This is my home, right here,” I say, pointing to the building that looms above me in the shadows.
    I step slowly and deliberately onto the threshold, grasp the doorknob in my gloved hand, and wait for the man to walk away.
    In the glass door, I see his reflection turn, stroll down the sidewalk, enter a building across the street. I let go of the door and step back into the open. I look left and right, but see nothing, nobody. I am alone.
    Tentatively, I step onto the street, into the light, and begin walking, slowly at first, then more quickly, away from my home, away from everything I have ever known. I allow myself one last glance down the light-soaked road before I turn away forever. I do not know where I am going, nor do I care. For now, I am too busy dancing, dancing to a song of freedom that only I can hear.

  5. J.S.Lee says:

    the picture lies.

    there was never a straight line to you.
    not even your light trains give off
    that kind of glow.

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