Detroit

by Carl Boon

When our nightflesh wasn’t enough
we put on Bob Seger Mitch Ryder
and sometimes Smokey Robinson
to remember America
when it was Cadillacs and soul
and we were the center of it all.

The old guys in the back of the bar
reminisced about Al Kaline
and Hank Greenberg and beer
five cents a pint and the night
Henry Ford waved at them
on Gratiot Avenue from a car
that looked like an aeroplane.

And the women they wore
such dresses such bangles
to their elbows you’d have thought
Egypt or Babylon and one day
F. Scott Fitzgerald rented two suites
at the Hotel Charlevoix.

I wanted to be an American then
a chrome American
playing cards at the Eddystone
a dagger in my vest a blonde
in my pocket and the jazz
Mississippi pushed north
tilting the ceiling so we’d dance.

I walk down Vermont
of soap on the windows
shuttered doorways and whores
passing cigarettes back and forth.
I’d die for a drink at Jacoby’s
a Bricktown bratwurst and time.

Carl Boon is the author of the full-length collection Places & Names: Poems (The Nasiona Press, 2019). His poems have appeared in many journals and magazines, including Prairie Schooner, Posit, and The Maine Review. He received his Ph.D. in Twentieth-Century American Literature from Ohio University in 2007, and currently lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at Dokuz Eylül University.