Thursday, June 7, 2007

Baseline, a reprise

No truer wall existed
eight miles to downtown
dividing everything
along north and south lines
-
except love
and her brother hate
they did mix freely;
her many lovers who
dwelled within the concrete
on the streets and alleyways
and in houses that spoke of a
peaceful time without devil’s night
before the riots and the panic
and ensuing exodus
bore children their children of love
of love and hate and they too
live and die but are still are loved
at the broken headstones
and dandelion bouquets
in Detroit's carbide embrace
-
But the wall stood with feet of a giant
the line was a glare of blood and desire
and though it’s praise can be heard sung
at every haunted bar in this land
it still pulls memories up by the root
reminding every soul connected
to this city of the balance
the blood; of love lost deathly
and how many miles separate
all of these parts of humanity
along a north south wall
once called baseline
but better known
as eight mile





3 comments:

Susan Miller said...

Humanity and the fuzzy line that divides, how close we all are to there...that line that divides

This is a gift, I think. You standing there, being there amongst all that it is and having the vision of one standing on the outside looking in. Nice, Eric.

I especially love the ending. Thank you for showing me your city.

eric313 said...

no problem. I'm glad you and others have an interest in witnessing Detroit. The picture is actually on an obilisk that was laid down by a land surveyor named Schoolcraft who was surveying while this was still part of the old northwest territories. It is still used to this day to set the section lines for our townships and counties, and I even used it for a job that was nearby once--we had to. Surveying is all about proving to the bank that a given property matches it's legal description and nobody's paying for improvements that don't exist. But back to the point, Schoolcraft's also responsible for saving the lion's share of Ottawa, Huron and Ojibwa tribal myths. A rare paleface who loved native American culture way before it was the cool thing to do. If you've ever seen a story about Hiawatha, it was probably Schoolcraft who got it to you. An interesting life, for certain.

eric313 said...

and thanks for the observation. I fit in up here enough to know people, but I don't fit in enough that I still have an outsider's point of view, despite the fact that I haven't lived in Tennesee since I was six