My America Poem by Salvatore Ala

My America

My America is all Detroit, Motown, dancing in the streets, my girl,

Tropical heat waves and what becomes of the brokenhearted after a riot.

My America is the 67 riot and flames above the city,

My America is the arrival of The National Guard, revolution in the air,

CKLW news and the “murder-meter” rising.

My America is The Spirit of Detroit and The Joe Louis Fist.

My America is Rosa Parks and visits by Martin Luther King.

My America is where the South was born after the South had died.

My America is getting out of neighborhoods before dark.

My America is the auto industry and temporary-part-time wages.

My America is the war machine that beat back Nazis and fascists.

My America is the Vernors factory since 1866, Stroh’s Beer,

Jack Kevorkian and a suicide-assisted death at the end of an assembly line.

My America is rock concerts at Cobo Hall, jazz at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge,

Gang violence in the hypnotic haze of Thai stick and funk.

My America is all muscle cars and available parts.

My America is a union town with mob connections,

A road map that leads to Jimmy Hoffa, like a missing treasure.

My America is all Detroit, where my family lay in cemeteries around,

A border where half of me is standing and half in the ground.

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