Saturday, March 20, 2010


Sprung ahead, lost an hour, yet I’ve gained anonymity. Everyone needs a “time-out” now and then. I could list half a dozen reasons, six little things, but what would be the point?

There’s no sense in looking back.

Spring forward … slowly … using tiny baby steps.

When Mr. Talibi, a man of middle eastern origin who worked in his family’s Detroit party store, tip-toes into my classroom some twenty-minutes late and makes accidental eye-contact with yours truly, he speaks in a soft, broken-English sort of way. He says, “I thought we didn’t have school today,” and sensing my displeasure, “when is spring break?” and after a moment of awkward silence, rephrases his question, “we get spring break, don’t we?”

The class waits for my response.

“Oh sure, we get spring break,” I say. “As soon as the maintenance workers dump two truck-loads of sand in the yard …”


“… and the food service workers fire-up the grills and tap the kegs …”

“Huh? What are you talking about?”

I raise my voice, “… and the corrections officers escort in bikini clad women for the volleyball tournament.”

He starts smiling. “We could get sponsors.”

“Hell no!” I answer. “We don’t get spring break. This is prison!”


You can read my prose in the spring issue of Six Bricks Press. --JR

Friday, March 5, 2010


Last summer I featured one of my rare poems on my “shelved-for-now” blog, JR’s Thumbprints. Since writing that poem I have yet to witness a full-scale economic recovery, except maybe on a personal level; I am happy to announce that my brother, who had devoted twenty-three years as a mechanical engineer for one of the “Big Three” before being “let go,” found steady employment in the defense industry. He told me that others returned to their old jobs as “contractual employees.” One of his engineering friends found temporary employment at Gibbs Technologies in Auburn Hills, the manufacturer of amphibious vehicles. I’m wondering how long it’ll take before we see Tata automotive ( and Jobs in Michigan) competing in North America? Can they really sell a car for 3 - 8 grand? With that said, I'd like to share my poem again:

There’s decay in the Motor City, it’s in the roots of my teeth,
stuck like taffy, I gnaw and pull at the yellow tape. There’s
fencing too, down the south side of a dead-end street—a factory
caught in my braces; Everywhere: foreclosed homes and empty
lots, worse than unfilled cavities. I gum Better Mades and dream
of a stimulus package in a brown paper bag placed on the console
of my Chevy. Whiskey and Vernors, for medicinal purposes,
me traveling, no tires, just cement block and fragmite. Pain too,
in my jaw, raw raw pain, a telling sign that I’m alive. I step into a
blacktop oven and smile my jagged smile and scale the chain
link fence and yell to my fellow Detroiters: “We must organize!”

In other news, Matt, the editor of Staccato Fiction, accepted my flash story “Still Life in Detroit.” Having once lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he made the following statement during our email correspondence: “it’s tough about what’s happening there, especially places like Detroit or Flint.” The story will appear on Monday, March 8th. I hope you enjoy it and please feel free to leave comments at their site:
Staccato .