Coming Home.. Detroit, 1968

Philip Levine  [1972]

A winter Tuesday, the city pouring fire,

Ford Rouge sulphurs the sun, Cadillac, Lincoln,

Chevy grey. The fat stacks

of breweries hold thir tongues. Rags,

papers, hands, the stems of birches

dirtied with words.

Near the freeway

you stop and wonder what came off,

recall the snowstorm where you lost it all,

the wolverine, the northern bear, the wolf

caught out, ice and steel raining

from the foundaries in a shower of

human breath. On sleds in the false sun

the new material rests. One brown child

stares and stares into your frozen eyes

until the lights change and you go

forward to work. The charred faces, the eyes

boarded up, the rubble of innards, the cry

of wet smoke hanging in your throat,

the twisted river stopped at the colour of iron.

We burn this city every day.



One response to “Coming Home.. Detroit, 1968

  1. Creepy. Almost a Nostradamus-esque view into today’s set of problems in the motor city from 1968.. A search for meaning in the town that gave rise to the futility of the American dream.

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