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32 Days of Love for Detroit:#2

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City Nights
by Naomi Long Madgett

My windows and doors are barred
against the intrusion of thieves.
The neighbors’ dogs howl in pain
at the screech of sirens.
There is nothing you can tell me
about the city
I do not know.

On the front porch it is cool and quiet
after the high-pitched panic passes.
The windows across the street gleam
in the dark.
There is a faint suggestion of moon shadow
above the golden street light.
The grandchildren are upstairs sleeping
and we are happy for their presence.

The conversation comes around to Grampa Henry
thrown into the Detroit River by an Indian woman
seeking to save him from the sinking ship.
(Or was he the one who was the African prince
employed to oversee the chained slave cargo,
preventing their rebellion, and for reward
set free?)
The family will never settle it; somebody lost
the history they had so carefully preserved.

Insurance rates are soaring.
It is not safe to walk the streets at night.
The news reports keep telling us the things
they need to say: The case
is hopeless.

But the front porch is cool and quiet.
The neighbors are dark and warm.
The grandchildren are upstairs dreaming
and we are happy for their presence.

Bullying

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Website: I’m getting bullied. The website features personal stories of bullying written by people who have been bullied.

I’ve been bullied as a child and and adult, and actually, I’ve been a bully a few times too. I bullied because I was jealous or wanted to put somebody down in order to build myself up.

I don’t have anything for anyone to be jealous of; I drive an old car, live in an old mobile home, and don’t bother anyone. Seriously, I don’t. I keep to myself because I’m afraid of being attacked, also  because I’m introverted. Sometimes my family of origin  bully me.  Some neighbors try to bully too.

When I went to college it was a nightmare. It was a women’s college and four of the teachers tried to make me feel worthless by making fun of my work in public, and ridiculing me if I made a mistake. One of them was a nun.  I felt stupid. I felt I didn’t deserve to be there.   And they encouraged my classmates to do the same. The school psychologist and my therapist helped me get out of a class that was making me literally sick with headaches and upset stomach.  When I left there I felt frightened and dazed.

I’m still frightened. I think that people are trying to build themselves up by putting me down and because I am quiet, poor, and mostly alone, they think I’m an easy target. I guess a lot of people  feel bad about themselves. Damn.

Thanks for listening. I feel better. Art, music and books help me to feel better too. I’m going to burn some incense, put on some music, and read Treasure Island.

Poetry: Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall”

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I’m going to end the month with one of my favorite poems. 
“Mending Wall”By Robert Frost    Bio

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it 
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

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