This Place

By Robert Barnette


A nonchalant “born n bred in the D” is my standard response to inquirers. Brows raise and furrow less often in New Detroit but I’m still met with disbelief. I get it: alternately erudite and base; ambassadorial; pedestrian by choice not circumstance; globetrotting; dripping with joie de vivre; scathingly blunt; broader than boxed; unapologetically flawed; bard with girded loin. Nomenclature in the face of oscillating truths is no easy business. To reconcile seemingly juxtaposed traits, especially against a backdrop of unrelenting misrepresentation perpetuated by those who have limited if any personal experience, requires synthetic aptitude foreign to many.


This place, long heralded for its exquisite sprawling decay, is an ever-fresh affair of making synonyms of antonyms and rallying against bell jar malaise to recreate resources into rejuvenating works. It’s a beeline through rush hour, pushing pedals past halted honks toward a three wig weekend because oh yes, we dress to party. We live for a wardrobe change. It’s initiation by indigestion – garlic sauce, doughnut, rib tip, wheatgrass shot, Mavrodaphne, tacos and a murder burger chaser.


I need a transfer but the broken fare box means I’ll pocket change until the next, I’m just glad the bus came.


It’s loving almost everyone while abandoning the hunt for someone to date/bone who hasn’t shamed Saturn with the rounds they make. No judgment. Just dang. Is nothing sacred?


From the Red Door to the BAK DØR, it’s the wee hours’ get downs, unprotected eardrums percussed numb by the music of – machine, sweating and smiling and getting lost like I don’t have to ride my bike home to shower, sleep too briefly, clock in by 8:30am. In that dance floor space pacts are made with selves, lids pressed like promises until we recall that the important thing is to flow, that we are not alone, are blood and bone beaten into conscious coexistence. We open eyes and get religion like no dogma can allow, sans bureaucracy.


Picture Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre’s Revelations…this place is like that.