Thursday, January 17, 2013

Motown Dreams

Despite precautions,
despite an arty hand-made cross on the wall of every room--
despite the bus schedule copied down on the back of an envelope--
the wind blows
in January, in Detroit,
the wind blows
as if it knew you before you knew yourself,
like a too-loud aunt resurrected from childhood.
The wind blows
as if it knows you by name, by predilection--
the wind blows
as if it knows and has a problem with you.

Here in Detroit,
we are almost Canadian;
despite the MKZ's in the circular drives of Oakland County,
we are mutts;
we are donut-heads and hockey-hearted Janes.
Look, I'm not proud.
I pick my way through the slush and into the Dollar General,
happy as a skunk at midnight.
I put on no airs--
I like Randall and the honey badger every bit as much as Rimbaud,
and I would kiss a French trapper right on the lips,
right through his six months' beard,
if I could ever find one.

Despite tenacious hope,
despite the redeeming power of toll house cookies,
the wind blows
in January, in Detroit,
the wind blows
and carries me into another afternoon,
as smoothly as delirium rolling
off the cold, competent assembly line
of winter time double shift Motown dreams.

I really do have an "arty hand-made cross on the wall of (almost) every room". I brought them home with me from San Antonio.

...and, a song to go with, which references "south Detroit". They play it at the Red Wings' games and everybody shouts that part. But anyone who lives here knows that there is no "south Detroit." There is "downriver", and there is *in* the river. Take a look at the shape of the mitten, and you'll see what I mean.


ellen abbott said...

The wind can drive you mad.

TexWisGirl said...

thanks for the dose of detroit today. also thanks for the journey tune. love it. :)

hedgewitch said...

Even your 'journal entries' turn into wild-winged poetry, girl. Your vacation is totally killing me so far. I even am reduced to quoting--I heart this line terribly much:

the wind blows
as if it knows and has a problem with you

Being now in a very windy place, and coming from a city whose sobriquet is ' The Windy' I've felt that knife cut right through my kneesocks at the bus stop too many times. Also, love the French trapper--where are the voyageurs when you need a hearty canoeing song, I say? This is a gorgeous, imagistic, intricate and dazzling bunch of words, Shay.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Love this wind, like a too-loud the "almost Canadian" and "happy as a skunk at midnight". I can feel the winter cold in this wonderful blowy poem.

Daryl said...

the feel of winter here is matched by the winter cold in this not quite hummable Motown 'tune'

Kerry O'Connor said...

I love the voice in this poem, the wistful lines on repeat, blew through my marrow, and the references to real place and time made this one of the most authentic pieces I've read in a long time. It is an art to bring a setting so to life that someone on the other side of the world in sweltering summer can taste the cold.

Kim Nelson said...

I love me a good dollar store as much as I hate the wind. Here in my desert, the wind has howled for the last few days, on the heels of freezing temps. Dual paned glass on a south-facing window kisses the cold away.

Anonymous said...

I freaking love it, dude. ;)

I will be back after reading it several more times. You definitely captured the essence of wind in your words.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Nice cider up top. Mmmm.

Sioux said...

The specific details of this piece makes it delightful. Shay, you can have a poem that bites, but there is always (or almost always) just a touch of whimsy. Of course, when you occasionally roll down that hill of hilarious--head-first--it's incredible as well.

Grandmother said...

I love that this is so tied to a specific place and the wind is a character in the poem, which is incredible.

HermanTurnip said...

It's nice to know that the hockey season was saved this year. Go Kings!

Isadora Gruye said...

My bestest friend in the whole world lives in Baltimore. So for this reason, I have been to Baltimore more times than anyone in their right mind would go...your homage to Detroit reminds me of that city, where everything is a light industrial zone long abandoned and the habitants left are ever so steadfast proud of a legacy of trinkets.

Reading this was like drinking chicken soup, it warmed my heart and made me homesick for a place I have never been.

I love how you've described the January wind and will not think of it the same way again.

viva la

Anonymous said...

Shay, I'm laughing because, when we lived in Buffalo, NY, we called ourselves "almost Canadian" as well. I even got Canadian TV stations so we could watch curling at the Olympics, ha ha.

Madison isn't too far north of Chicago, and now that we're here, I find this almost scary-real!! Nicely done, and so glad you took up Jasmine's list, as did I.


Anonymous said...

Here's what really blows my hair back:

"Despite precautions,
despite an arty hand-made cross on the wall of every room"

"we are mutts;
we are donut-heads and hockey-hearted Janes"

"and carries me into another afternoon,
as smoothly as delirium rolling"

Anonymous said...

that entire last verse is just too cool! i wanna see pics of your crosses. {not as proof exactly... i mean, i believe you... sure, i do!}

Mama Zen said...

I just adore the way this feels. Maybe it's that it feels so personal.