Thursday, October 21, 2010

Motor City

          I am a proud member of Poet's United and love participating in Think Tank Thursday, where writers are given a prompt for inspiration.  This week's prompt was: The Beauty in the Ugly--trying to take an "ugly" thing and make it beautiful.

          I thought i would give some background information to this poem.  When i was little, whenever we drove through Detroit (i'm from a nearby suburb), i would see steam rising out of the vents in the street.  As i child i had no idea what this phenomeon was--and it seemed magical to me.  i eventually came up with my own theory as to what was causing the seemingly impossible columns of smoke: ghosts. (hey, pollution was a tough concept at 7!)  To some who look at Detroit from the outside, it may appear like a "concrete jungle" laden with graffiti and abandoned buildings.  It is; i don't deny that--only ask you to see the beauty in the unseen...

Driving down Woodward Avenue
Ethereal pillars
take the shape
of the long dead
spirits of Detroit

Floating homeless men
with plastic tarps for winter coats
smile toothlessly
clutching lottery tickets
with greased stained knuckles

Ghosts of teenage girls
beckoning in faux fur coats,
their pants and modesty
a distant memory

of forgotten revolutionaries
with age spotted hands
shake their fists,
rising and rioting

The smoky figure 
of a music man
tapping in time
humming under his breath
'bout the smooth-cheeked philly
who's ain't never comin back

Rolling down the window
in the Automotive Capital of the world
A naive suburban girl
I stick my head out the window
and inhale

I am smacked
with sirens blaring and
the portrait of struggle materialized.
Grime. Dirt.  Blackened soot.
A metallic taste in the back of my mouth.
The behemoth machine of a city
standing defiantly
off its knees.

Riding through the center of the ghosts,
the spirits are ripped in half.
They dissipate
only to begin their long struggle
once again from the underground tunnels of bondage
up into the


flaubert said...

I love how you have captured the spirit of the city. I am from Manhattan. There are so many images I recall from living there.

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...

I really enjoyed reading about your early memories of Motor City.
Then your poem with all that makes Detroit the city that it is.
Thank for introducing me to Detroit.
Also, thank you for your very supportive comments about Poets United.
I have enjoyed finding your words via Poets United.
Best wishes, Eileen :)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow, this poem is fantastic! Thanks for the background which set the scene. So well written, the images are so well the homeless men holding lottery tickets in their grease-stained fingers........the teenage girls missing their pants and modesty.....and especially the "ghosts" struggling from their "tunnels of bondage" out into the open again. So well done, I loved this poem!

Old Ollie said...

What a great vision. Detroit through a poetic lense.

Mary said...

I do think you have captured the sights, sound, spirit of Detroit. I felt like I was right there with you in this poem.

Ellen aka Ella said...

Love this; you had me there in the heart of steel
madness, the bones of the city~ Terrific view!

Wine and Words said...

Ah! If only exhaust could be as beautiful. Love the imagery. As much as I like the beauty of nature...I am drawn to the brick and graffiti, mortar of hard times and burdened lives. There, the stories speak loudly, even through ghosts.

Carrie Burtt said...

This is an amazing response to the prompt...truly unique and thought have painted a picture of the city and it's exhausts so brilliantly! :-)

Fireblossom said...

When I was young, my father worked downtown, and I remember finding that steam fascinating, too. Now the world ends at 8 Mile as far as I'm concerned.

Wysteria said...

Wow, really loved your poem. The metallic taste? I know what you mean

Thank you for visiting my site too!


Suz said...

terrific poem Fury

Rashmi said...

Wonderful poem...

Jingle said...

powerful writing.
glad to read you.

Dave King said...

This is anti-tourist literature of the highest order. Hearty congratulations.