Friday, April 17, 2009

We want our city back

The poetry reading curated by Monika Berenyi and Cecilia Costa featured poets and artists from Detroit’s Artists Workshop, Alternative Press, Broadside Press, and Lotus Press, including Detroit poet laureate, Naomi Long Madgett, John Sinclair, Melba Joyce Boyd, Bill Harris, James Semark, George and Chris Tysh, and others.

This beautiful evening’s reading was part of Monika and Cecilia's local oral history project dedicated to the collective history of Detroit’s poetry and print culture from the 60's and 70's. One of the highlights was definitely Melba Joyce Boyd's reading of her poem 'We want our city back'.

We want our city back

We want our city back.
We want our streetlights on.
We want our garbage gone.
We want our children
playing on playgrounds,
but not with loaded guns.
We want to retire
by the river
and raise collards greens
in abandoned fields.
We want our ancestors
to rest in peace.
We want our city back.

We don't want law and order.
We want justice and jobs.
We don't want small business.
We mean serious business.
No more Mom and Pop wig shops.
No more Mickey D's
rappin with the homies.
No more Dixie Colonels
serving Kente cloth cuisine.
No more taco supreme.
No more indigestion or
quick-fix politics.
We want our city back.

[First two verses]

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