First, A Note
This is the first poem that I have written since going on "Poetic Hiatus" for the year 2011. I wrote this poem simply and unadorned with my usual haughtiness. I love this new style. I also love that Detroit has been such an inspiration to me. I hope you enjoy it.
Solitudo placet Muses; urbs inamacia poetis est.
Come, Gray Tethered Skylines,
to the winter-bound Campus,
covered in black ice lit
with Christmas bulbs from our white pine.
Smoke bellows from our breaths
like the once-burning smokestacks
on New Center’s edge;
like the Princess as it chugged along the Detroit River
before it froze over.
The blistered hurricane between the buildings
is a thief jumping from the alleyways,
broken-hearted as the way the Midwest sulks
while yet another Winter takes his place
within the air; within our lungs,
piercing our pink-fleshy bodies once turned to stone.
The neon-light haze distorts the moon’s phases—
now full for all eternity while the GM emblem
the RenCen is ever so luminous.
As Windsor fades from sight,
the ever-haunted sidewalks press on
to Woodward, Griswald, and Cass:
Jefferson snatches us; drags us slowly to the darkness
before the light that Birmingham shines
—the mild retrograde motion of a Father’s gold;
the beaming lace from saris;
the silver Lexus hood ornaments that light fires
in the burnt-out street lights:
Breast milk highways quench the throats
of the Starving and the Dead.
In a house, the Old Man told me
of the West Side; of trips up North
where the snow became lifeblood;
of skipping over thin ice while booming
like pistons and spark plugs from the assembly lines.
In a house, the Old Man remembered when
the log cabin held a hearth that lit the winter up
as a single lamp lights Russell
on my drive home.
In a house, the Old Man lets the photographs out to play—
a Packard, once pristine like the slick black ice,
now rusted-out, broken-down
like the Old Man’s lungs.
It all comes back to the round-about:
A fatuous cylinder going ‘round and ‘round,
spiraling up and down
until it spits you out onto Woodward;
through the high-rises, past the theaters—
flashing lights and limousines—
past the fast food signs and liquor stores
to the ghost-town factories;
north & north & north some more
through Midtown where but one collective mind throbs,
scratching itself for a spark;
to Highland Park,
a flat-lined homeless man
that kicks and strains for one more sip of water;
Ferndale, alter for the sons of those unemployed;
Royal Oak, sipping sweat like wine;
Birmingham and Troy:
Fluorescent halos for the dead angels.
An infinite oval, the tracks go ‘round and ‘round:
the dead-end cycle of single-track dreams;
The People Mover carries them all where they need to go.
With tokens in our pockets, everyone’s the same;
everyone’s a tin can particle;
a Troy can live in the Digs.