“Motor City Tirade” by Dawn McDuffie

Dawn McDuffie


Send us your homeless, your crazy.
The lady who wears a wedding veil
every day with her fox stole and twenty necklaces—
better she lives in the city; she would be locked up
after one day on the clean streets
of Bloomfield Hills.
Hookers belong in the city
just like wastewater sent in from the county
in exchange for clean water pumped back
for comfortable lives.
Whole rivers flow under the pavements,
constrained by tiles, carrying no light
but still making a path to the Great Lakes.
And hidden children in ghetto schools
breathe burning garbage,
roach droppings and asbestos dust,
and flunk out when they miss
too many days.
They don’t visit the shiny casino
that displaced the local pool.
Now we must host the happy gambler.
Nothing as perfect as those casino streets
edged with pots of pink geraniums.
Oh, it can be so pleasant here and also
near the mayor’s house where the four-foot
snowfall is promptly whisked away
while the rest of us pray the electricity
won’t give out. Aging circuits
keep the lights flickering. I watch them
up and down the street from my house,
wires popping and writhing
when the load just gets too heavy.

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003

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