love your city

love your detroit
September 7, 2010, 18:33
Filed under: moments

“do you know anyone with a gun?”
“girl…i don’t know anyone
without a gun.”

many moons ago when i first met detroit native kelley hice, that was one of the first conversations we had about his city. not the friendliest introduction, but an enticing one nonetheless. the more he told me about detroit, the more i wanted to see it for myself. an alternate universe, just a hop skip jump away from our shared border. i had only driven through it once, years ago, and even that glimpse had left me somewhat shook. and this was pre-depression.

i finally got the chance to go visit recently and that boy kells was my very own cicerone. we did a lot of exploring by car. vehicles are an essential part to detroit life, and not only because of their deeply-rooted beginnings in the D. the city is mapped out in such a way that there are these enormous wide open spaces everywhere – you could fit new buildings in the spaces between all of the existing ones, same goes for the residential areas. the main roads are all four lanes with a median in between and no left turns allowed. instead they have a detroit left, essentially a sanctioned u-turn. originally only in detroit, you can now find these all over michigan state.

it’s also somewhat safer in a car. most definitely at night. people here don’t play and it reads on their faces. ain’t no half-steppin’. everything is a clear indicator that you’re not from ’round here. this is not a place for please, although i believe thank you is still appreciated in some places. and who needs to say ‘please,’ really? because no one is asking. they’re telling you. people get stuck up on the regular for their cartier sunglasses, or even their counterfeit counterparts. eye contact is for the foolish. detroit is not for the foolin’. these streets ain’t safe enough for feet.

the architecture is astonishing. such stark contrasts. lots of art. the presence of visual art in this city was a pleasant surprise. i had always had this image of detroit as super grey and without feeling but it is quite the opposite. it is a boundlessly industrial climate decorated with a peculiar abundance of personal effects and flourishes. almost all the signage is hand-painted, which is fantastic partly because of the sheer aesthetics but also largely because it’s the last thing you would associate with a city renowned for asphalt and steel.

it smells of marble. there is probably enough marble here to save detroit’s economic situation, were they to take the city apart and sell it, piece by piece. they recently decriminalized marijuana, which can only improve things. hmm, what else? graffiti is white boy shit. big meech, kwame kilpatrick, j dilla, boo rossini, cash out rich niggas.
real city, no gimmicks


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