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Friday, May 25, 2012


by Lori A. May

Diego Rivera: The Detroit Industry Murals

I cannot pretend to be a part of this city.
This city existed long before
me, and its history clashes
amidst what I see now as the newcomer,
the immigrant, the outsider looking in.
Judgment is prepared for me,
dished out in accusations and prescriptions,
yet I wonder where
the truth lies.

I cannot pretend to know life here,
raised up along city sidewalks
settled alongside crumbling cohabitation.
I have only slid into a space
from which to view residency,
to reflect upon what I see, what I hear,
and what I once knew as my own.

I cannot pretend ownership in this city.
What was here before foreclosures?
What was housed beneath
these particle boards and rusted nails?
What was this
before      this?

I was not raised on gasoline fumes.
I was not trained on an assembly line.
I cannot pretend to hear the sounds
of machinery as music,
the screech of metal and industry,
dreaming false promises for all.

Lori A. May’s poetry and prose have appeared in publications such as Phoebe, Caper Literary Journal, Steel Toe Review, and qarrtsiluni. She loves Detroit, despite (perhaps because of) its rough edges.