Once Upon a Time in Detroit by Gary Glauber (LANDMARKS Series)

Excellent poem by Gary Glauber “…a widely published poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. He champions the underdog while negotiating life’s absurdities. He has three collections — Small Consolations (Aldrich Press), Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press), and Rocky Landscape with Vagrants (Cyberwit) — as well as two chapbooks, Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press) and The Covalence of Equanimity (SurVision Books), a winner of the 2019 James Tate International Poetry Prize. Another collection, A Careful Contrition (Shanti Arts Publishing). is forthcoming soon.”

Silver Birch Press

carl ballou licensedOnce Upon a Time in Detroit
by Gary Glauber

At 24, I took invincibility in stride,
drunk and still driving a rental car at midnight
into a town I’d never been to before,

heading the sixty miles I needed to cover
in record time and never once worrying about it.
Pointing the sedan in the right direction,

I ate up that random highway’s asphalt miles
like I had been to the feted Motor City
a hundred adventurous times before.

I was driving American, feeling every inch
a patriot of horsepower privilege, a Mitch Ryder song
appropriately blaring from the car’s radio.

I was to be shown how nice this town
with the less-than-stellar rep
could actually be. The gray-haired

officials in their fancy tailored suits
showed up to ensure me major improvements
were currently in the offing.

The impeccable politicians included me
like some wealthy insider, privy to their racist,

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Geocaching

July 25, 2020

I’m thinking a lot about roots today, and got in touch with some of my kin from my father’s side. The following is a re-write of something I composed back in the fall of 2017. It seems to fit…

I came from a home of books, and bike rides, and walks down to the river. I came from sunshine on skin, and bare feet from April til August. A place of wonder and of tears, of loss and of hope.

I came from a family who settled in Bloomington Minnesota after World War II. I came from a darkened living room, where daily deaths and casualties of Vietnam scrolled on the nightly news. I came from a hot summer night in July where my father woke us to see the Apollo moon landing.

I come from these things I learned about the war, I emerged from being embedded in unspoken belief in science, and America, and fishing, and racial justice. Done deals. The way it Is, when you call yourself an American.

I came here by love for shaking the tree. I came here out of family values of the “good” in our world, and how we’ll always probably need to struggle to make the world more closely match our vision.

The vision is gained by shedding a cloak. I am going toward a place where I the fire is tended, whether I realize it or not. I am looking at a forest of friends, to uncover the twilight of loss and why that is no country to live in.

Instead of silence, breath.

Instead of silence, the world coming into me through pores of the skin.

Instead of silence, the wind in oak branches.

Instead of silence, repose and rest.

Featured image of Crow-Hassan Park Reserve. Post image is section of restored mural painted in 1931 by Cora Holden at the Drury Plaza Cleveland Hotel. All images by Michele Montserrat.