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Monday, July 7, 2008

Jack White Pens Poem About Detroit

Singer-guitarist Jack White has penned a thoughtful poem expressing his strong feelings for Detroit to clear up any misconceptions about how the White Stripes frontman feels about his hometown.

White said he was frustrated by a sense that his thoughts about the Motor City were misrepresented since he moved to Nashville two years ago. So, White wrote a poem titled "Courageous Dream's Concern" that was published Sunday by the Detroit Free Press. He says it asserts his "feelings about the city itself, and how strong I believe it to be."

"The ... poem is the Detroit from my mind," he said. "The Detroit that is in my heart. The home that encapsulates and envelops those who are truly blessed with the experience of living within its boundaries."
White told The Associated Press in a 2006 interview that he had to leave Detroit because he "couldn't take the negativity anymore." In other media accounts, he was quoted as lamenting what had become of Detroit's music community.

He addressed those comments in his statements to the newspaper, saying:

"Those expressions of mine have never been a representation of my feelings about Detroit the city, a town that I have strong feelings about ... nor were they expressions about its citizens."
Having spent a great deal of time living in the shadow of Motown, White’s words are stunning and elicit a very real sense of the city itself. I have a funny feeling Detroit holds a special place in a lot of hearts out there.

'Courageous Dream's Concern,' by Jack White

I have driven slow,
three miles an hour or so,
through Highland Park, Heidelberg, and the
Cass Corridor.
I've hopped on the Michigan,
and transferred to the Woodward,
and heard the good word blaring from an
a.m. radio.
I love the worn-through tracks of trolley
trains breaking through their
concrete vaults,
As I ride the Fort Street or the Baker,
just making my way home.

I sneak through an iron gate, and fish
rock bass out of the strait,
watching the mail boat with
its tugboat gait,
hauling words I'll never know.
The water letter carrier,
bringing prose to lonely sailors,
treading the big lakes with their trailers,
floats in blue green chopping waters,
above long-lost sunken failures,
awaiting exhumation iron whalers,
holding gold we'll never know.

I've slid on Belle Isle,
and rowed inside of it for miles.
Seeing white deer running alongside
While I glide, in a canoe.
I've walked down Caniff holding a glass
Atlas root beer bottle in my hands
And I've entered closets of coney islands
early in the morning too.
I've taken malt from Stroh's and Sanders,
felt the black powder of abandoned
And smelled the sawdust from wood cut
to rehabilitate the fallen edifice.
I've walked to the rhythm of mariachis,
down junctions and back alleys,
Breathing fresh-baked fumes of culture
nurtured of the Latin and the
Middle East.
I've fallen down on public ice,
and skated in my own delight,
and slid again on metal crutches
into trafficked avenues.

Three motors moved us forward,
Leaving smaller engines to wither,
the aluminum, and torpedo,
Monuments to unclaimed dreaming.
Foundry's piston tempest captured,
Forward pushing workers raptured,
Frescoed families strife fractured,
Encased by factory's glass ceiling.

Detroit, you hold what one's been seeking,
Holding off the coward-armies weakling,
Always rising from the ashes
not returning to the earth.

I so love your heart that burns
That in your people's body yearns
To perpetuate,
and permeate,
the lonely dream that does encapsulate,
Your spirit, that God insulates,
With courageous dream's concern.

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