See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Posted By on Tue, Jul 8, 2008 at 1:57 PM

Pretty sure most of you have seen this already, especially everyone who reads the Detroit Free Press (which ran the exclusive on Sunday) or any of the rock blogs. But for the out-of-towners who read this page and may have missed it thus far, here's Jack White's ode to the city that Kwame rules.


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.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Bill Holdship

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit