About MichelleMichelle Brown is an author, activist & public speaker who believes in common ground for all people.
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Category Archives: Detroit Bankruptcy
My new book of poetry “Three Layers & A Brassiere” is available for purchase online! Book signing is in planning stage but get your’s today and receive a special gift at the book signing.
Book Over view:
On a frigid November weekend in 2012, I took a trip to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My plan had been to catch a train, hit the city and just wander about taking in the sights. I wanted a lost weekend, to wander around to find something—just what I really didn’t know. But these uncertain plans took an unexpected turn when, instead, I hitched a ride with a friend.
I met an amazing woman named Gwen who was in her eighties, and over the course of the weekend, she shared stories of her remarkable life. One afternoon, we were heading out, and her family, being protective as families can be, gathered sweaters, scarves, and jackets and proceeded to try to convince Gwen to put them all on. Her response: “I’ve got three layers and a brassiere, that’s enough to keep me warm.”
On the ride back to Detroit, I thought about Gwen her life and the three stages of life—childhood, adulthood, and those final days. Maybe all we need are those three layers, not all those mountains of things, just to see us through to warm our hearts, our spirits, and a brassiere to hold the memories.
By Michelle E. Brown
Her streets no longer lined with trees
Branches arching across streets
Paved with hopes and dreams
Now minefields of disrepair
Potholes, broken sidewalks
Lots and playgrounds strewn with litter
Vacant lots, crumbling buildings
No neighbors sitting on stoops sharing stories
No quartets under streetlamps singing songs
Store fronts sit vacant
While residents wait for buses
Always late for a trip to no where
She is maligned, misrepresented,
Stripped of her authority
As her people suffer
As her people thirst
Managed neglect for the benefit of profits
But she’s a queen.
Her majesty does not lie in institutions
Credit ratings, political wrangling
Her majesty cannot be bankrupted
Because she’s a queen
Of, for and by the people
She is the people
And she/they are rich
Rich in spirit, rich in art
Feeding her people from gardens
Growing in forgotten lots
Entrepreneurs, innovators, dreamers
Calling her people, all people
Black, Brown, White, Young, Old
From across the street
From around the world
To rise up, to stand up
Not in war, but with voices raised
To wage love
She is a queen
She is Detroit.