Detroit Seasons

Yesterday, my friend reminded me of this poem. I wrote it in 2017, for my hometown: 

 

Arkansas cotton fields to Detroit landscapes,

My family’s southern roots blossomed into maple trees and dandelions decorating yards

On the city’s west side,

Summer scents of blackened charcoal watered my mouth in hunger

for hot dogs perfectly grilled, burnt on top.

My stomach danced to Mr. Softy’s childish jukebox,

kids on my block hustled for $1 passports to ice cream dreams.

Nothing stung like the buzz of the ice cream truck

passing us up ‘cause our shouts were unheard, hands waving into fading hopes,

rising again

when the next truck came.

*

Fall welcomed school days.

In high school, catching DDOT buses

Was like waiting to trap a fly,

I stood at the Schoolcraft bus stop as hours added up,

Plus

I searched for my voice at a high school of choice

Where we had to test to get in, impress to fit in,

Looking back, I wonder why all Detroit’s young couldn’t have the best to them given

*

I grew up and became fed up whenever

Detroit souls were hidden to those who refuse to see

The city as more than a barren landscape in a relentless winter

where nothing of color grows

To those who only see Downtown and Midtown

As the sole nucleus

*

Why claim Detroit

If you suddenly frame it as a city whose season is its overdue spring,

An image of a place to grow when you don’t truly love its heart,

Its Blackness that beats with the genius

of people creating:

Sounds of Motown, J Dillas, and Stretch Moneys,

Dancing hustles and daily hustles to pursue dreams,

Gardens and community and laughter on porches,

Spaces to heal and affirm humanity.

Why claim Detroit

if you don’t truly love it?

 

 

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