Geographer Neil Smith warned long ago in his book The New Urban Frontier that gentrification is not a process where all of a place becomes overdeveloped and most housing becomes overpriced for working people. Instead, Smith noted after studying American patterns, the high valorization of some neighborhoods required the depression of others. While Detroit continues to lose population, its central corridor from downtown to Wayne State University has seen tremendous re-valorization and reversal of decline. Post-bankruptcy Detroit has become two places: a small and very hip renewing area, and a larger, poorer area where demolition remains the city’s primary instrument of social compact.
Our Firearms, Who send many to heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Names;
Our hands be wrung,
The N.R.A.’s will be done
in America as it is in Congress.
Give us this day our daily dead,
and send thoughts and prayers,
as we fill with holes those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into solutions,
but deliver us from stray bullets.
I encourage any and all small poetry presses out there reading this to reach out to us (https://www.fountainverse.com) and make plans to attend next year. I can’t emphasize enough how much collaboration and cross-city pollination occurs every year after we put one of this events together. Even if you are not selected as a featured press/reader, there are plenty of opportunities for you to present and perform and sell your work.
It’s too hot to sit with the dead today
so I float above them,
hanging on for dear life to the strings
of a bunch of many-colored balloons.
Up high, where the air is much cooler,
the oxygen less dense.
The vacuum of space waits hidden above me;
a black, gaping maw poised to chomp.
Death above, death below, dying in between,
one hand gripping balloon strings,
the other trying to choke down a mustard-soaked sardine sandwich.
In the distance, beyond the curve of the earth,
a thing so monumental its name cannot fit into a human ear.
In the distance, all lived pasts and livable futures.
There may be a mustard stain on my crisp, white shirt
but I’m afraid to look.
Perhaps the dead have asked me to stay away today.
It’s probably not so hot outside after all.