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H Victoria Mielke

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by H Victoria Mielke

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

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           >> View all 9


You’re still dubbed the Motor City
And the steel and glass and rubber
Dreams of power
Still flow from your fertile minds.

I joy at your rising jewels on the riverfront
Decked in ceramic finery from Pewabic’s kilns
Hand-painted gold leaf and art deco glories
Bright shades of stone, crafted and cut

I cry for your empty factories
And downbeat neighborhoods
And homes scarred and burnt

I smile when I think of the sheltering woods
Of Belle Isle
The whisper of a whitetail
As he nervously slips by

Of days in childhood
When we boarded the old steamers
And spent a day with the rides and games on Boblo

I look at the Bridge
The Ambassador to a foreign neighbor
An old compatriot across the river

I laugh at those smoky, homely towers
That were supposed to launch a Renaissance
But instead stand aloof at the shore
Like modernist effetes
Stepping away from the workaday crowd

I’m warmed when I recall
The fireworks’ resonant voice every year
Bright lights that pair our Independence
And Canada’s own Day

Your river is sliced by bounding freighters
Fuels for industry in their depths
The color of their hulls
Tells you what is within
If you possess that bit of Great Lakes lore

I welcome the pilgrims
Who hunt for West Grand
Seeking for the petite home
Where the music revolution began

It’s Motown – the beats and the voices
The sweet blend that brought us together
And does still, over and over
When the needle hits the vinyl again

I mourn at names lost –
Local flavors & fine savors
Sanders fudge for my icy treat
Crowley’s and Winkleman’s to shop

And onto the bus to downtown
To Hudson’s many floors of fine wares
Memory fragments of my girlhood
My excitement at
Escalators and luncheons and children’s plays

Faygo and Vernors and Stroh’s and Towne Club
Quelled our thirsts
All gone but alive in the mind

I miss the old diamond
At Michigan & Trumbull
The summer dwelling place
Where time slowed a bit
As we tarried and shared the hours
With Kaline and Greenberg and Cobb

You’re still hailed as the Motor City
Your engine is churning
Drive again forward, my city
Because the new century impels you

A short prose piece on the city where I grew up.

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Reviewed by Josephine Bohen 9/19/2002
a city and memories wonderfully portrayed
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