My heart is in Detroit
the smokey, steel city that sings
a choir of beautiful voices
Diverse in range and size and shape
Moving together, one rang clear
for the heavy hands and slouching shoulders
the men piecing together the American Dream
the automobile that moved forward.
One caught the movement
in a million stories, strong and shiny-bodied
holding what it means to be American
in this place.
hard work. hard work. hard love. creation.
Detroit as it still sits, a home for those
willing to work on it.
One day driving back from Detroit to his home in Fraser, my dad took a detour. He wasn’t that far away from his old home. He is an anxious man, but his anxiety increased rapidly when he turned down the ice and snow covered street that was once his childhood.
There was not much around us. He grew up on Linndhurst on the East side of Detroit. It was daytime still but my dad was cautious, driving slowly with his eye out for others.
There was not much around us. A few empty lots were lined in a row covered with bushes, grass and scraggly trees, crooked trees climbing out of the ground. There was one or two shells of homes, more snow and ice and bush filled spaces, and then my dad came to a complete stop.
There was not much around us. He was sad, filled with nostalgia, naming the neighbors and pointing to each spot they had once resided in. It was a declaration that this place was once alive. We were sitting across from a ghost of a house. It was barely standing with crossed out eyes and entrances boarded. The old wood stared back at us. Nothing was very remarkable, nothing was very recognizable for dad.
There was not much around us. He took a photo to send to his three brothers and sisters, to show his dad. All of the family was spread out across the suburbs with families of their own now. We were stopped still in the quiet street for five minutes, and I began to worry at this stillness. He was in shock, the past so easily changed. The past is so easily removed.
I have always had a hard time letting go. It doesn’t matter if it’s a place, a bad job, a bad relationship. It doesn’t matter if it felt right at the time; I still have trouble in the act of letting go.
It stems from the writer in me. I have a need to record: What did I feel? What words were really said? Why? Rather than give any separation the breathing room needed to reflect I am clinging to every last detail of what is about to end.
I am bad at breakups. In an effort to be better, I try to rip it off those endings like a bandaid. This does help cure anxiety. In life there is no such band aid, no beginning and no ending so clearly seen. The days bleed with the pain and healing. I gather my recordings to piece together a new meaning, but it is often too soon.
I’ve been telling friends I got a magic pen for Christmas. “Ooh what’s that?” They ask. “It is a magic pen. It stores all of my writing I do in a notebook onto the internet,” I answer.
I have not tried it much yet. Frankly, I am unsure of making the switch. There’s something beautiful about your hands on paper, carefully writing each word, softly and with purpose.
There is something thrilling following a spasm of thoughts and ideas, this quote, that line, combining thoughts into a new approach never thought of before. I enjoy the ideas that come at random times yelling, screaming, a page on fire with the frenzy of the mind. Your body trying to keep up with the record. Your notes wherever they land.
It is a fact that most words are just not needed. Most ideas are meant to be forgotten. Later if they return, like lost loves sailing home, then they are a keeper. They pull at your heart for too long until you cannot forget and must explore.
But what about the rest? They are left to fade, to crumble or be tossed away. Do you really want to see them? To let all thoughts fill your computer? Would it not overwhelm the art of cleansing, of finding that right words, that right idea that pulls you forward? Would you see the best if there was just too much to see?
I’ve now opened the pen in the box. I haven’t downloaded the app or set it up just yet but I will try it. I will let my mind of the cloud hold all the words for me. Let it sit where it is visible, searchable, taggable, clickable. It is made up of only words. The same ingredients I love. They all have meaning and are waiting for the final touch, the act that brings them together to make something meaningful.
I told my business partner I got a pen from Christmas. He is tough and straight to the point when he speaks. So I left out the magic part. He gawked at me: Your boyfriend just got you a pen?
And I had to explain it all over again, beginning with the magic part.