Monday, July 7, 2008

Jack White Waxes Poetic About His Home Town (Detroit)

Below is the poem as it appeared in The Detroit Free Press.

I have driven slow, three miles an hour or so, through Highland Park, Heidelberg, and the Cass Corridor. I've hopped on the Michigan, and transferred to the Woodward, and heard the good word blaring from an a.m. radio. I love the worn-through tracks of trolley trains breaking through their concrete vaults, As I ride the Fort Street or the Baker, just making my way home.

I sneak through an iron gate, and fish rock bass out of the strait, watching the mail boat with its tugboat gait, hauling words I'll never know. The water letter carrier, bringing prose to lonely sailors, treading the big lakes with their trailers, floats in blue green chopping waters, above long-lost sunken failures, awaiting exhumation iron whalers, holding gold we'll never know.

I've slid on Belle Isle, and rowed inside of it for miles. Seeing white deer running alongside While I glide, in a canoe. I've walked down Caniff holding a glass Atlas root beer bottle in my hands And I've entered closets of coney islands early in the morning too. I've taken malt from Stroh's and Sanders, felt the black powder of abandoned embers, And smelled the sawdust from wood cut to rehabilitate the fallen edifice. I've walked to the rhythm of mariachis, down junctions and back alleys, Breathing fresh-baked fumes of culture nurtured of the Latin and the Middle East. I've fallen down on public ice, and skated in my own delight, and slid again on metal crutches into trafficked avenues.

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Paul said...

Does that poem make any sense to somebody not from Detroit?

I can't tell because it makes perfect sense to me, being from the city.

Dr. No said...

It makes sense to me - even though I am not acquainted with the street names and transport system etc. I'm sure non Detroit dwellers "get" the feelings he is expressing.

Paul said...

OK. I was just asking. There's more local stuff in there than just street names. And, anyway, actually being able to picture the specific streets creates a different impression, I'm sure. So it's hard for me to judge it based solely on the words themselves.