Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Surreal Detroit

No, Virginia, this isn't Augusta, Georgia. It's Detroit, Michigan.

After the events of 1967 and after decades of Devil's Night fires, there are now many rural pockets like this in Detroit. All one need do to find them is to go out and explore, taking snapshots like Alberto Korda.

Saturday, June 20, 2009



Motor city madness has touched the countryside
And through the smoke and cinders
You can hear it far and wide
The doors are quickly bolted
And the children locked inside

Black day in July
Black day in July
And the soul of Motor City is bared across the land
As the book of law and order is taken in the hands
Of the sons of the fathers who were carried to this land

Black day in July
Black day in July
In the streets of Motor City is a deadly silent sound
And the body of a dead youth lies stretched upon the ground
Upon the filthy pavement
No reason can be found

Black day in July
Black day in July
Motor City madness has touched the countryside
And the people rise in anger
And the streets begin to fill
And there's gunfire from the rooftops
And the blood begins to spill

Black day in July

In the mansion of the governor
There's nothing that is known for sure
The telephone is ringing
And the pendulum is swinging
And they wonder how it happened
And they really know the reason
And it wasn't just the temperature
And it wasn't just the season

Black day in July
Black day in July
Motor City's burning and the flames are running wild
They reflect upon the waters of the river and the lake
And everyone is listening
And everyone's awake

Black day in July
Black day in July
The printing press is turning
And the news is quickly flashed
And you read your morning paper
And you sip your cup of tea
And you wonder just in passing
Is it him or is it me

Black day in July

In the office of the President
The deed is done the troops are sent
There's really not much choice you see
It looks to us like anarchy
And then the tanks go rolling in
To patch things up as best they can
There is no time to hesitate
The speech is made the dues can wait

Black day in July
Black day in July
The streets of Motor City now are quiet and serene
But the shapes of gutted buildings
Strike terror to the heart
And you say how did it happen
And you say how did it start
Why can't we all be brothers
Why can't we live in peace
But the hands of the have-nots
Keep falling out of reach

Black day in July
Black day in July
Motor city madness has touched the countryside
And through the smoke and cinders
You can hear it far and wide
The doors are quickly bolted
And the children locked inside

(C) Music and Lyric by Gordon Lightfoot 1968
Banned from American top 40 radio stations
that same year...except in Detroit.

4/13/68 with Mr. Lightfoot

The Detroit Revolt against the police brutality
predominantly practiced in the overcrowded Black community
started less than five miles from where my family lived.
I remember the clouds of smoke rising, the echo of gunfire,
and having a half track full of national guard troops
level their rifles at us kids as we sat on our porch
after the curfew hours and ordered us back into our house.
The City of Detroit was on lock down.

6-20-09 The Walking Man

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Used Book Store

There has been an new used bookstore opened up in Eastpointe MI.

On May 9 the Motor City Book Drive opened. Every book is a buck.

Every inch of the space not used for the too narrow aisle ways is filled with shelves of books in every genre.

Apparently it is tied to a charity which supports literacy and environmental activism.

Give them a look because I know you all are always going to used bookstores anyways.

18135 E 9 Mile


It is located on the North side of the street across from the CVS drug store. The door in is tucked in the back of the building away from the street but the sign sits thirty feet up on the corner.

They are only open on week ends

Saturday 9am-3pm

Sunday 1pm-5pm

Saturday, June 13, 2009

No More Homeruns Over the Centerfield Stands

All Things About The Corner

This is a 1931 picture of Navin Field before it became Tiger Stadium. At one point seating was added to center field and the distance over the wall was over 500 feet. There were not many power hitters who could clear it but the record according to some belongs to none other than Babe Ruth who hit one 626 feet in 1926.

Every place has a history for sure. But I don't know of anyplace that so easily disregards the symbols of that history as Detroit does. We are desperately trying to remake an identity, yet I don't know how that will ever be done as long as we throw our past away so readily.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

June 11 1805

Ash from baker John Harvey's pipe ignites a blaze that destroys the entire 3-acre city of Detroit, including the second Ste. Anne's church. I am thinking though this happened in June that maybe this was the precedent setting incident for Detroit’s Devil’s Night a hundred and seventy five years later.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


The logo competition deadline is work, work faster, no faster than that...but wait not that fast, neatness does count for 20% of the grade...just kidding this entry won't help your GPA at all. which is the way we prefer it, no grades given.The only way to fail is to fail to submit.
I think that maybe just because it is the right thing to do we should tell you how to submit. so here is how you can submit...

There is of course the snail mail way:
Motor City Burning Press
23210 Greater Mack # 105
St. Clair Shores MI 48080

If you want your art worked returned include a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope of appropriate size and postage, or we will either shred it or file it for possible future use. So be sure to include contact information in a cover letter we can lovingly attach to the art work.

If you want to submit by electronic means do not send it as an attachment to an e-mail but send it in the body of an e-mail with LOGO COMPETITION in the subject line. In the body of the e-mail also include contact information. We will without remorse delete any attachments, because we are just over flu season and are not in need of any more viral infections. Alcohol no matter how prodigiously it is used is no good to combat a virus.

the e-mail address is:
The submission guidelines may change for regular submissions but for the LOGO COMPETITION these are it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

MCBP Logo Contest!

The official flag of Detroit pictured above includes two mottos: Speramus Meliora (We hope for better* things) and Resurget Cineribus (It will rise from the ashes.**)

Now it's time to create a logo for Motor City Burning Press. While staff members can come up with their own designs, we'd also like to make this a contest for anyone else interested in participating.

What to do: Create a logo that fits our Detroit-themed premise and name. Email digital image to by 7:30 p.m. Detroit time, June 21, 2009.

If we pick your logo and you give us the rights to adopt it, we will send you $50 (or its equivalent in non-US funds for international contestants). We will make our decision between June 21 and July 4, 2009 and post the results on this blog.

Staff members are encouraged to design a logo, but are ineligible for winning the $50 prize.

*Or "sweeter things," like honey. **Or "resurrecting from the ashes," or embers.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Court, Spark & Fire


During these perilous times a group of people are going to put what little collective sanity they have left on the line and do something for Detroit. As a written and spoken word artist I can barely think more highly of these folks although I do question whether maybe as Joni Mitchell said they ". . . got into the vodka one night.”

There is no literary journal in Detroit specifically geared to the art of and about Detroit. While we have many writers here among us, a few fine examples can be found in my blog roll, most every one who wants to put their work up for publication has to send it somewhere else or submit it through the ether of copper cables and broadband servers to somewhere else.

Soon though there is going to be a new place for Detroit centric writing. While it will be an internet journal there will be a limited print run as well.

The editorial staff has written word in its blood, they have tendons and sinews of photography and graphic design ergo the new journal will of course be on the hunt for photography and graphics that tell the world about Detroit. I don’t think it is a necessary function for you to live here in order to have an opinion or idea about what Detroit is. The editorial staff will be looking for your thoughts about what you THINK Detroit is, how your image of Detroit makes you feel and whether it is based on experiential knowledge or hearsay.

Detroit is many things to many people, to those of us who live here it is one thing, them who left another, and to them who have come here from somewhere else and stayed, it is now home. We want to know what it is to you.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the birth of an idea who's time has arrived the:

Motor City Burning Press
23210 Greater Mack # 105
St. Clair Shores MI 48080

It is expected that all of the ironing and folding will be done by the beginning of the fourth quarter of the year and this new shirt will be ready to wear by October. I suggest that you who have the propensity for contests and seeing your name in the winners circle start heating up your own iron and begin to stroke your material. Soon the call is going to go out for submissions. Wouldn’t it be a fine thing to be the first writer published in the first edition of a new venture in publishing?