Detroit poet Michael Lauchlan read selections from his new book to students at Southwest Solutions’ Adult Learning Lab on Tuesday evening. The book is called Trumbull Ave., and it was published by Wayne State Press this month. One of the poems is called “Detroit Pheasant,” and its imagery inspires the cover art for the book. The poem expresses how nature is reclaiming abandoned parts of the city, and contrasts new beginnings amid irrevocable loss.
From a window, the boss calls to us
where we load his truck with bricks.
“Turn around fellas – look.”
A pheasant wades through the brown grass
across the street, vanishing
and emerging from the tangle.
A shed leans near a phone pole.
Bumpers glint from the weeds.
Blocks from the old foundation
angle through the earth.
The pheasant paces his courtyard.
We have killed the city which lived here.
The hieroglyph of its streets and rails
has joined the ancient lost tongues.
Buds unfold on a dwarf maple.
A rooster hollers.
Michael took questions about his poems from those attending the reading, most of whom are working on their GED at the two Learning Labs that Southwest Solutions operates in southwest Detroit. After the reading, several students approached Michael to ask his advice about writing their own poems.
The Learning Lab where the reading was held is on Vernor across from Clark Park. The other Learning Lab is near Lawndale Street on Vernor. Michael’s son Joseph works at our Learning Labs.