American Life in Poetry 

A number of American poets are adept at describing places and the people who inhabit them. Galway Kinnell’s great poem, "The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World" is one of those masterpieces, and there are many others. Here Anne Pierson Wiese, winner of the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, adds to that tradition.


Columbus Park

Down at the end of Baxter Street, where Five Points slum used to be, just north of Tombs, is a pocket park.

On these summer days the green plane trees’ leaves linger heavy as a noon mist above the men playing mah jongg — more Chinese in the air than English. The city’s composed of village greens; we rely on the Thai place on the corner: Tom Kha for a cold, jasmine tea for fever, squid for love, Duck Yum for loneliness. Outside, the grove of heat, narrow streets where people wrestle rash and unseen angels; inside, the coolness of a glen and the wait staff in their pale blue collars offering ice water.

Whatever you’ve done or undone, there’s a dish for you to take out or eat in: spice for courage, sweet for chagrin.

 

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright 2003 by Anne Pierson Wiese. Reprinted from Floating City, by Anne Pierson Wiese, published by Louisiana State University Press, 2007, with the permission of the author and publisher. Poem first published in West Branch. Introduction copyright 2007 by the Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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 letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

May 12, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

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

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation