Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"Detroit, July 1967"

Below is a poem that I wrote back in October. I've been wrestling with a novel about the 1967 riots in Detroit for nearly four years. The novel is in various stages. Some chapters are complete. Others need more work. Nonetheless, the poem below emerges from my musings about the novel, where it is going, and what needs to be done next. The tentative title of the novel-in-progress is "At Home in the Night." One of my goals this year is to complete a good draft of this novel.

"Detroit, July 1967"

They swirled like a barrage of gnats
Spot lights unveiling
Hot summer night torn sideways
Babies screamed, slaughters gutted streets
Filled up with swollen anger and
Hungry mischief. That July 1967
When hope snapped necks and dreams
Broke backs and no more stilted speech
Like shattered glass on 12th street
Ringing as loud as the pain, and
Confusion, and silent slow silk
On his arms, strolling home beneath
Whorling wind and heat and loss.

1 comment:

E. said...

I can't wait to check that book out.

Your poem felt like a frozen moment of fascinated observation and yet at the same time...a moment of desparte urgency in the face of inevitable transformation.

"hot summer night torn sideways"

That line is memorable, timeless.
I can see it as a page of moving life, torn from a book in the frame of a motion picture film.

"slaughters gutted streets"

this is an amazing thought for me. How something that would be considered an effect is itself a creative act, leaving a legacy, albeit one of profound emptiness.

haunting but it provides clarity for me.

Thank you for that.

Nice to read something so vivid for a change.

peace Michele.