I Want to Go Home

By Stuart Shea

Plutocrats were once the Detroit ideal.
Henry Ford and William Briggs
Living high in posh digs
While Ty Cobb rented a house during the season
In a middle-class hood.

When the city started to “change”
And white people moved out,
Somehow it was all the fault of those left behind.
Out of sight, out of mind
For those in Grosse Point and Warren
Who’d come into town a few times a year,
(Of course on Opening Day, where they’d still cheer
For Bunning, Kaline, Cash, Lary,
Willie Horton.)

When the car makers misread the market and made more gas-guzzlers,
One of the puzzlers was apportioning blame
Away from the carpetbaggers, shills, morons, and thieves
And onto the wage-slaves and winos
And others who remained in the city
Without trust funds, mobility,
Pedigree, or nobility.

The Lions upgraded to an oversized Tupperware tub in Pontiac
And the Pistons shuffled to Auburn Hills
But at least the Tigers stayed and played at Michigan and Trumbull
The ballpark half-full
And Ernie Harwell perched above home plate
Telling tales of Sweet Lou and Tram and Senor Smoke
While the city learned to choke on its own exhaust
And the bums sat, cracked and sauced,
In fine brick slums held together by a paste of broken windows and fatherless children.

Now the old ballpark sits, forgotten and overgrown,
Tigers overrun by dandelions.
Structure and seats rusted, torn to chunks,
At the hands of Ilitch raped and scorned,
But mourned
By the lower-level bleacher drunks stuck in hell
And imprisoned by the ghost of Charlie Maxwell.

Published in AL Central, Ballparks, Detroit Tigers, Fans, History, Lyric, Stu Shea | Link to this poem | No Comments

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