Thursday, July 26, 2012

An Ode to Detroit


sterling toles is a bodhisattva sitting in the corner chair
smile broad as grand boulevard
arms as long as detroit summer
brother sterling’s third eye glows like the lights on belle isle

brother sterling chose post-industrial detroit to come back
so he can freestyle to the house didj
as mankwe practices her circular breathing

sterling’s hands are empty and open
sterling is here to say yes
and yes
and yes

sterling toles brings out the bodhisattva in me
(can’t remember what I was pissed off about)
and in you too

in a past life brother sterling was your mother
and before that you were his

we are all crowded into meiko’s living room
during july full moon thunderstorm
here for each other
for to heal ourselves is to heal each other and the threads that bind us

our hands are open and empty now too
we have also chosen to come back
into this house of crumbling plaster
down the street from grace lee boggs
abandoned by neighbors though music blasts on sweltering summer nights
we have also chosen to come back
into neighborhoods of 100% unemployment
and multigenerational front porches

do you mean to tell me you’ve forgotten?
that in some past life you took bodhisattva vows
that for the sake of all beings
you would generate the mind of enlightenment
and put your body on the line
so here we all are
in the beautiful broken city of detroit in 2012

we bring out the bodhisattva in each other
sterling’s long fingers describe the air as he jams
and I am beginning to remember

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