Monday, June 13, 2016



Daily we see the huge maw
of the deconstruction,
destruction of Detroit.
Annihilation for profit by individuals,
Swift to reap the roof of a homeland,
spitting its tasteless plundered portion aside.
The pile grows with the dual plights of poverty
and pillage as the gaping hole expands
in the name of economy.
Three hundred years of history
reduced to a few worthy square miles.
Miles made manageable
with intentional disregard
of the larger, by far, wings of the home.

All chewed up in the name of urban cleanliness,
exposed now is the door level,
where many a resident
with teeming numbers of temporary guests,
a place in the palace where all had been welcomed
to drink from the now dried up well of wealth.
Until the friends and families finally stopped coming,
forcing the mewling men of officialdom
to go to them afar off now, forever gone,
begging forgiveness of everything evil for the sake
of the memory of yesterday’s prosperity.
Now food for monsters of destruction
who will profit from disdain and indifference.
To hell for them yet trying to live
in a new urban wilderness of helpless laws and conscience.

“Make way, make way” they cry.
We need habitat for displaced animals, feral and wild.
A dumping ground for a murdered society.
Without so much as a belch 
the tools of our destruction
move on, next door,
down the street,
block after block,
neighborhood by neighborhood
all deemed unworthy of a savior 
by the gods of prosperity.
More always more to tear and rend apart,
faster now the piles of loss grow into political points
for the hypocrites who say this demise is salvation.
They lie. They lie, they lie 
and they do it with a smile.

© M Durfee


  1. Ow.....I can feel the pain. So sorry.

    1. Calvin--never feel pain or sorrow for a place that only creates it but rarely does anything to alleviate it.

  2. Thought provoking. Enjoyed this. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you Martin--if it gave you pause for thought then I say it has accomplished it's work as poetry.

  3. Of course they lie. That's what politics is for.

    1. Damn them all Alice--we don't have politicians, only thieves.

    2. But I thought thieves were a step up.

  4. Sharp words specially these lines:

    A dumping ground for a murdered society.

    How they can all lie with a smile. Salvation or destruction...??

    1. Grace observation and attitude are all dependent on where one lives or spends their time. Me I stay around the 'hood. I do not go to the small Disney by the River area for anything other than to pay bills or go the VA hospital for my healthcare.

  5. Don't you just wish we could root them all out and start over???

    1. No I don't e. Not the starting over part, unless of course it was to the time before Cadillac found this tranquil area inhabited by Iroquois and Chippewa.

  6. they Lie they lie they lie. indeed.

    1. Daily and now our White Mayor is under federal investigation same as our last Black, now jailed for 28 years, mayor.

  7. Prophetic words about false messiahs promising and never delivering except profits...

    1. It has become just as Dan Gilbert and Mike Ilitch along with Manuel Maroun wanted it to be Jeff. Staying within certain legally specified boundaries they can take advantage of the Downtown Development Authority tax capture.

  8. For a while I thought the urban renewal project here would take away all the best parts of my town's character. Turned out I was wrong, but it took twenty years to see that. I'm sorry Detroit's "urban cleanliness" isn't going the same way.

    1. Alice they started in 1968 and it took 50 years for them to get a 2 sq mile area sort of cleaned up. 20 years ago they started making outward progress from the river North and East, and then the great crash happened an pond scum moved in with big money bought much downtown property and renovated it to the point where it leases for north of 175 bucks a sq foot. That area is now called by some the Green Zone and is the area where all city services are focused on, including a few select upscale neighborhoods built by Auto Barons and other wealthy factory owners all in those areas make up 15 sq miles. Detroit,not metro Detroit but just the city is 140 sq miles which has by and large been abandoned by the administration, police, and services. You can buy a livable house for $2-5,000 dollars. You'll be surrounded by death, decay, and ruin but if you have the knowledge of the "rules" you'd be OK, not great but OK. I figure at the current pace gentrification of my area in the far NE corner of the city will hit about 2110 at the current pace.

    2. Talk about the haves vs the have nots!

    3. Except fo the smallest potion of the city the have nots once they get Sec 8 housing subsidy they too move on.

  9. all deemed unworthy of a savior
    by the gods of prosperity

    It breaks my heart.
    I was just reading this article:
    You're painting a much darker portrait.

    1. Vesper at 140 sq miles, an area that contained in 1950 1.9 million people, most of them pictured in the photo essay live in the Green Zone (MIdtown to Downtown) or one of the 5 anointed areas that haad the benefit of near indestructible housing, mansions made of granite. That all in total comprises about 15sq miles.

      If you go to the companion article you get a more complete picture. I live in the far North East corner of the city in zip code 48205. There is no renewal going on here, very few resident homeowners and most property that is inhabited is owned by LLC property management companies that pay no taxes, allow the property to go into foreclosure then if still in decent shape by it back at auction for pennies on the dollar and the last years taxes owed. If still a money maker they will pay the first years taxes owed which forestalls foreclosure for 1 year. It takes three years of no taxes for the county to foreclose.

      48205 is commonly referred to as 4820die. It is a violent abandoned place. Police response can take up to 9 hours, medical response up to 1, fire as long as 20 minutes. As a once bedroom neighborhood where autoworkers and other middle class people set up a home, there is no existing buildings large enough to rebirth any industry. So we have a proliferation of liquor stores, gas stations where many buy their groceries, marijuana stores, nail and hair salons.

      This place, like many others in the city, are projected for housing stock tear down to be completed within 50 years. It is basically a lawless area of the city, quite well known as the place to buy heroin and powder coke, which suburban customers travel to (nervously).

      Many people tell me my attitude is wrong, I need to do my part--*shrug* I tried to do a portion, and was told that I was everything from not wanted to Jesus doesn't love me because I am white. Fuck 'em. I do not create an unnecessary problems for any one, but I also do not allow any to be perpetrated unanswered on my wife or myself.

      The NG photo essay is exactly the Detroit that the propagandists want you to see, old and young mostly thriving Blacks doing good deeds and living well. They do not want you to see what I have seen evolve in my 62 years here. Once the banks foreclosed on 50-60% or resident homeowners in 48205 between 2005 and 2009, they realized that they were carrying negative equity on their books so they wrote it off and walked away too. Leaving the properties open to stripping, squatting, and abandonment once the water was shut off. Detroit has turned off almost 40,000 residential water accounts (outside of the Green Zone) for as little as $150 but as much as $5000. It has become common to see humans using the backyard for waste elimination.

      Violence in 48205 is pretty much a steady stream, 2 murders & 4 shootings on my street within 1/3 mile of my home. That is just my street in the past 5 weeks, counting the whole of this zip code the numbers are 8x that. City wide 20x.

      I could also add the the public school system has been under assault by the state for the past decade and now it has the least successful students in America and one of the highest chronic absenteeism rates in the nation as well.

      If my neighborhood were a one of or maybe even a two of I would not write on the subject as often or adamantly as I do; but it is an average Detroit area, abandoned by people who could take no more, a government focused on that 15 sq miles, a state focused on taxes and it's own budget as well as Flint now.

      As the most racially segregated area of the nation for more than 3 decades--attitudes are entrenched. That my friend is reality. I can only write about what I see and hope others see it as well. The truth is what will free us from this neglect, and I write near every day in spaces where I can shame them who spread the prosperity gospel of Detroit. A gospel that is only working for college educated youth with degree's in finance and IT who are stupid enough to pay $2000 to rent a 400 sq foot apartment.

    2. Seems like a nightmare and in fact it's reality.
      I thought that National Geographics could be, maybe, trusted a bit more than all the others, but it's long been clear to me that an outsider will never understand and relate to a situation like someone who actually lives it, no matter how well they mean. I'd seen the second page of the article, with the maps of vacant lots and accounts of abandoned buildings, but I was hoping that I could also see a glimmer of hope between the lines... If there is none, then this is truly, completely devastating.
      Be well, my friend. And keep writing about what you see.

    3. ....sounds like your average neighborhood in South Africa.

  10. Self-profit. Self-gain. Self-everything. No compassion. No forethought. No love.


So Walking Man I was thinking...