Motor City is Not My Home

Emily XYZ

Motor city is not my home / but I love it just the same
Murder city, kill city ok but that’s just one way
to look at the place where so much comes from
and I know GM should have been allowed to fall but for all
the good men and women who would have gone down
with it, and their children / everyone here
has suffered enough already, the coasts have
no idea no idea what it’s like when whole towns are
laid off and shut down / New York money never
had to contend with this and New Yorkers only rate their own
poverty, their own suffering, and LA turns a blind eye to all
suffering / LA rising and so rich but still no heart
even after all this / more foreclosures than Michigan?
May be but no way more pain / nor than Ohio, nor more misery in a year than Indiana
handles in a week or ten days / There is a train that goes from Detroit
to Pontiac to AnnArbor and west, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Michigan City
ends in Chicago / it’s an old train, everyone in the United States
has been on it once, since Lincoln’s body I think
It carries hopeful people out to new jobs and then
back home again / I’ve been on it, unemployed in Michigan
going to Chicago, to look at the leafy street I left behind, Evanston,
city of chocolate brown maple trees / and mourn the life that was
no more / trains converge at Union Station,
but leaving Chicago, all go their separate ways.

numbers, photograph by Tim Beckett

photograph by Tim Beckett

Now I am employed, older, divorced
All the things I thought I would never be
Dressing the sunset, another midwestern storm the usual
roiling blue and gray crosscurrents / behind them, high contrails of
military aircraft / I fear a tornado, but it never materializes
here / whatever is happening out west is just scenery to me now
the east is a blank slate, colorless / having solved all problems,
I get in my car
my Japanese car
and drive alone
along
the continental
divide

— Emily XYZ


Poetry Writing

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