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 .



  1. Enjoyed the read. Congrats on your publication.
    Miss the blog. MW

  2. Hey Jim,

    To second MW --I so miss your blog! Great post and congrats on the publication. Can't wait to see you soon!

  3. Hey, JR! I'm also raising my hand to say "miss your blog." But it's great to see you here. I'm glad your brother found a job. I'm still pounding the pavement and picking up temporary day gigs, but at least it's something. I've read and heard many stories about the Depression, but I've never seen anything like this in my lifetime.

    "It's in the roots of my teeth" is an awesome way to describe it. I'll hop over and read the story at Staccato now.

  4. JR-what's the vehicle in the pic? My dad used to drive an OLD Travelall when he worked for International Harvester. P.S. How much longer is the sentence on your braces?


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