Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Detroit Poem Holds True 10 Years Later

While reading this week's Metro Times, I came across a poem titled "Detroit" written 10 years ago by Mariela Griffor. "Detroit" was conceived after a conversation Mariela had with Harriet Saperstein. Saperstein ran the economic development organization, HP Devco, is a professor of physics at Wayne State University and an active world researcher on peace and security issues. Saperstein devoted 35 years of work to the architectural improvement of the city. The poem by Griffor may have been written 10 years ago, but it still holds true today. It touches on the negativity and suffering that still surrounds the city, but Griffor also cries out for rebirth and revitalization, such as many are doing today.

by Mariela Griffor

When I drive down from
Grosse Pointe on Warren
a sudden knot in my heart
is born.
The solitude my soul
is roaming
with the images of
a city broken
and gone.
I cross my fingers
hoping I won't see
any black cats
streaming manholes.
Detroit full of churches
and where is God?
Could he be hidden
under politicians' coats?
A mon cher
looked through my car window
and he believed
he melted snow.
His eyes aflame
consumed two seconds
when the red light stops.
City in flames,
who took away your palaces
and gave you back
to a tribal pain?
It was not me,
I am a foreigner,
I just came to see.
Detroit wake up
from your profound sleep.
Build back your empire.
Build it back
so I can see.
Forget about
black LaKeishas
and your white Portias
forget about your yellow Chengs
and your brown Carolas.
Let the golden haze
that rusts on your aura
shine proudly
on your face again.
Let a feeling of goodness
grip the city as if in storm.
Let your dreams flourish and endure.
Turn the holy fight into
Let the happiness return.
Leave your vinegar grief behind.
Let me see Detroit.
Let me see.

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