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Detroit Left at the Moon


it was cool, quiet and nowhere
a fullness gone flat

i thought someone might want to see me
if not meet me—these days immortality rates are soaring
the competition more intense as ASAP programs give
birth (an assembly line?). there are more knowzits than ever.
young, devout, and DuSable—
tellin' us thangs.

there was hard dirty snow
a woman butt-naked caught
during a power outage (we are frequently
powerless these days)

          Frieda slept here

i spread my tailfins and crawled
The Scarab, caught Diego on the rise, exited
sans orange shoe laces
saw two familiar faces

met a mistier self who in her fine efforts
to impress me upstaged me

those texts skin-stained and stinking of authentic rot

          Lenin is turning over

aroused by Detroit Red gone El Hajj.

          this is the city built then beaten by industry.
          The Paris of the West may be wasted, but
          at least the river runs water.

the sun hijacked and rammed into my expectations
(those Brown Bombers/how busted the All-American Cherry)

fresh in from the dream factory
blackness descending on blackness

the food has to be hardy to defend the bones
against the blight

that infamous day the roar of rubble
blackened Manhattan in midmorning
muted other urgencies
silenced/stilled other discontents
dwarfed a history of Septembers

          Henry Ford's rusted-out leavings—

"the struggle"
placed in searing context
effort jarred
it is puny. it is mean and puny

you were cool, quiet, and nowhere

(why am i so brown? i was in the front row
when God passed out the Motown)


Wanda Coleman

The World Falls Away
University of Pittsburgh Press


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