Monday, July 7, 2008

D-town Gets Some Poem Love from Jack White

I think it's great how many famous people are from the Detroit area - Aretha Franklin, Eminem, Kid Rock, Jeff Daniels, to name a few. Another one of those celebs is Jack White of the White Stripes and Raconteurs (check out this site, very cool!) Now, I will not even pretend to be a quasi-fan of Jack, his music or his band. I've heard he's quite a talented artist, but I've also heard that he's snubbed his so-called beloved hometown on quite a few occasions (joining Madonna in the not-so-proud-I'm-from-D-town category). However, contrary to the way Jack's feelings toward Detroit have been portrayed recently, he holds a great deal of admiration for the city. And he's proved it to Detroit, the music industry and all those who've ever doubted his hometown pride by offering the Detroit Free Press a poem about how strong he believes the city is, titled "Courageous Dream's Concern." You can check out Brian McCollum's article here.

So I'm not a Jack White/White Stripes/Raconteurs fan, so why the heck do I care about this? I care because I think his poem is creative, and the fact that he took the time to write a poem about Detroit rather than doing a boring interview or writing lyrics to a song is enough to make me care to read the darn thing. Yes a song may have gotten the point across, but a poem is classic. It's's's straight from that big red organ pumping life into your body. He writes/sings songs for a it's much more intriguing that he wrote a prose-like poem. Some people look at this as a stunt to gain some publicity and think Jack White needs to get over himself (check out the comments on the Freep story). But I look at it as a guy who stepped back, realized his words were misinterpreted and found a unique and interesting way to set the story straight. And then again...maybe his publicist got a bit creative and thought "Hmm, you should write a poem and give exclusive rights to the Free Press. That will get people's attention!" Regardless, it was a creative and bold move...and it DID get attention, so it worked!

"The following poem is the Detroit from my mind. The Detroit that is in my heart. The home that encapsulates and envelops those who are truly blessed with the experience of living within its boundaries."

'Courageous Dream's Concern,' by Jack White

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
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.

Three motors moved us forward,
Leaving smaller engines to wither,
the aluminum, and torpedo,
Monuments to unclaimed dreaming.

Foundry's piston tempest captured,
Forward pushing workers raptured,
Frescoed families strife fractured,
Encased by factory's glass ceiling.

Detroit, you hold what one's been seeking,
Holding off the coward-armies weakling,
Always rising from the ashes
not returning to the earth.

I so love your heart that burns
That in your people's body yearns

To perpetuate,
and permeate, the lonely dream that does encapsulate,
Your spirit, that God insulates,

With courageous dream's concern.

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