Part of Diego Rivera's murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit Woodward Morning
In Detroit the parking meters never tell:
three quarters gets you twenty minutes.
The first pile of stones we set
was for our fathers dear,
that we may not forget the creation
from carbon and from iron.
Kirby and Farnsworth are seasonal
dry-up river bed streets;
The second heap of stones we set
was in memory of our mothers,
that we may not forget the harvest
from the incised earth.
Then we set marble for our brother and our sisters:
cool mausoleum buildings where we laid our books
and the icons of a Yankee Industry
and murals of Mexic Rivera!
Woodward is the Father of all thoroughfares:
a mighty Mississippi!
old cars sweep like snags of rotten trees,
and we bob our heads and bolt across the stream:
big-bottomed barges laugh at us,
while we dodge a wave of feral sloops...
nothing but day-trip kids!
Everywhere you look there are lascivious
cornrows, reaching down like willow trees
upon the shore,
grasping for muddy waters down below:
tight rows spaced like pregnant furrows
worked with time, patience, and agile fingers!
bursting with the Earth’s delights!
I am a thief, you know,
and I midnight swim that river
and come to you to steal the silken scarf
that you sleep upon…
and taste the fruit of those rows of corn.
tell - "tell" is used in the sense of "counting:, the idea being the meters do not seem to tally the coins one drops into them.
This is a visit to the area of the Detroit Institute of Arts, on Woodward between Kirby and Farnsworth, across from the Detroit Public Library, which is next to Wayne State University. I was waiting and walking around.
There is a voyage through space and time: we are explorers of old - perhaps the first Native Americans to wander into the Great Lakes.
We set markers or cairns of stones to denote important areas of power. Then - as time passes - we build the marble structures from the monies of our industry. Carbon and Iron could refer to the Auto Industry, or it could refer to the heavier elements created by stars long ago.
The thoroughfares continue, through good times and bad, and there is beauty.
There is laughter... and kids run around... and we are all here: Black, White, Hispanic; we are waiting for that bright idea of the future. It is not a Renaissance, a concept which has been repeated until it is meaningless. The Future will be totally new, and we shall be in on the ground floor.