Writer’s Block: Poetry Break

Brush Park

Brick hulks of houses,
three stories tall with parapets and slate roofs
and plywood boards where windows should be,
near big gaping holes where once stood neighbor houses.

I’m sure they were meant to last forever.
We used to build for the ages, even houses.
But the people with money who built these are gone,
and even their successors have found better pastures.

Except for a few stalwarts,
holdouts for a different kind of progress,
who carefully nurture aging phoenixes in the ashes

Or those who wander, finding slight shelter
where they otherwise would have none,
sleeping in the less well-loved buildings

Or the ones the stalwarts and the wanderers hope to avoid
in fears of becoming another item in the police blotter.
A friend claimed to have seen a man, just shot,
from the window of his apartment on the border.
His tones hushed and spooked as he told the tale.

On a cold winter’s day, meager sunlight in the afternoon,
you could sense that these houses are leafless trees.
The trees will surely be green in April’s warmth, at least.

Maybe these brick hulks will be gone.
The city has Plans, you know.
They’re in the papers every few months, promising rebirth.

For now, on this leafless day,
with an eye cast over your shoulder,
stand watch amid the sparse city blocks.
These houses will be here another night,
like dreams from childhood

Some blooming,
some forgotten,
some not quite what they hoped to be,
some almost gone.

—November 29, 1998

Notes: I wrote this years before the new baseball and football stadiums were built on the south edge of the Detroit neighborhood known as Brush Park. The area had been one of Detroit’s earliest “high-rent districts” and had fallen beyond disrepair. Things are better now since the stadiums brought some more development, but there are still a few blocks with an odd mix of restored homes, crumbling buildings, and empty fields.
     At least one person will tell me this is not a poem. Like I really know anything about poetry, but I think it is.

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About songdogmi

I'm a longhaired almost-hippie stuck in the inner suburbs of a major rust-belt metropolis who's thoughtful, creative, and kind of geeky. In exchange for a paycheck I run around in a cubicle maze most days. When I escape, I play music, hang out in coffee houses, dink around on the computer, take naps, and think I should be off in the woods somewhere. Every once in a while I get in my car and drive far, far away, though I've always come back so far.
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2 Responses to Writer’s Block: Poetry Break

  1. maxauburn says:

    I like what you wrote.

    It’s beautiful. The imagery is strong, the feelings it invokes are equally as strong.

    Thank you.

  2. kenny2fl says:

    poetry

    Oh yeah! that’s a poem. Nice message — but sad.

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