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  • Night Screaming

    Into the wee hours of morning
    last night, today,
    we wandered, lost,
    in the rain
    without umbrellas or coats
    walking the streets of Detroit
    until our feet bled,
    soaking our socks
    with rain and red.

    It was a waking
    nightmare
    and went on and on
    and on
    for hours
    as we grew more and more
    tired and sore.

    From the high roof-tops,
    birds screamed and screamed.
    They chittered, hollered
    and shrieked
    into the rainy night.

    Such fearsome cries!
    So loud!

    With rain
    streaming down our faces
    like tears,
    we looked up and up
    into the rain
    toward the distress calls

    until we realized
    they were electronic,
    screeches saying danger danger
    to scare
    the very birds
    they mimicked.

    Those cries reflected
    our own fears
    at being lost
    past midnight
    in this perilous city.

    A Merlin falcon,
    no nocturnal bird,
    winged grey in the street lamps
    against rain-black sky.

    Confused by unexpected light,
    shrunk by distress,
    battered by rain,
    bleeding,
    we circled and circled
    until we came face to face
    with ourselves
    in that surprising place
    and hurried home.

    This is the second draft of this poem. The first draft and the original notes are below.

    Night Screaming


    Last night into the wee hours
    we wandered, lost,
    in the rain
    without umbrellas or coats
    walking the streets of Detroit
    until our feet bled.

    It was a waking
    nightmare
    and went on and on
    and on
    as we grew more and more
    tired and sore.

    From the high roof-tops,
    birds screamed and screamed.
    They chittered, hollered
    and shrieked
    into the rainy night.

    Such fearsome cries!
    So loud!

    With rain
    streaming down our faces
    like tears,
    we looked up and up
    into the rain
    toward the distress calls

    until we realized
    they were electronic,
    probably to scare
    the very birds they mimicked.

    Those cries reflected
    our own fears
    at being lost
    past midnight
    in this dangerous city.

    A merlin falcon,
    no nocturnal bird,
    winged grey in the street lamps
    against rain-black sky.
    Confused by such light,
    such distress,
    we circled and circled
    until we found ourselves
    and went home.


    *

    This first-draft poem is a true story, and happened last night in the "real" phenomenal world of downtown Detroit after the opera, The Barber of Seville.

    *
    This story is sprouted from Jari Jarvela's story Birds on a Cold Tin Roof. It is dedicated Jari and Keith. Keith was my companion and has no skin left on portions of his feet, each larger than a 50-cent piece! Jari's story inspired me to write this poem. I wish we could dedicate stories to more than one person!

    *

    The image, created by me as a photo and art montage on Photoshop, shows the Detroit Renaissance Center where our car was parked, on Jefferson.
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