Detroit – Dimes To Dollars

Planets collapsing and combusting in time as inhabitants are thrown through the darkness we once referred to as a cosmos.

Brass bellows jazz fusion as bamboo quivers in octave squeals of passion and anger, Like this city’s lonely streets, tonight and every night.

Junked, plunked strings wrenched and bent in tension scream long loud and sharp bleeding in sorrow, Erupting into a crescendo igniting a cacophony of life in this city as a thumping bass drops low with sounds sinking slowly, ever so softly beneath a sturdy smooth rhythm, ethereal in a sense but aware of those things which lurk in the night.

This is Detroit, a once was but now lost in despair wasteland. Trampled under greed and social engineering, a city where few who gave and the ones who took souls, parted ways.

Where laws preached by political thieves invested in life’s dead ends, leached upon he who struggled, taking and feeding a city of sluggards.

Burned out cars, abused children and bodies dumped in empty streets, dark alleys and open fields, a city rotting in decay.

Glass, steel, concrete, axils, engines, and generations of proud workers, once noticed and revered now looked down upon, ignored, pushed back in the shadows of ruin and abandonment.

Ceramic pipes charred black, works bent or busted and skunk scented blunts inhaled, transporting the youth of this worker’s proud past and hard-fought respect into toxic dreams of riddled destruction, lost hope and lives with no substance, desires or future.

Big D, a King Kong from decades past, city of design and innovation, creator of Motown mastery and automotive excellence, no longer, no more, now sits a puddled wasteland unseen, unfit and unwanted even by those who once intoxicated with power and arrogance crowed at the world of their dominance, now reside in dark ashes of success no longer.

Triple down, was what was heard, as bets were placed in times of glory, Chances taken and fortunes made, Wealth pulled from hoods where asbestos shingled factory houses lined every potholed street and the lives of a few changed through raw perseverance and backbreaking determination.

Citizens struggling, fighting and ever seeking that mythical American Dream, The Red, White, and Blue of accomplishment and the discovery of personal potential deep within to expose, if lucky, if in the right place, a path where open doors and talent offered an escape.

Little by little, time after time, rules changed, lost pride glistened of mediocrity, wages now sucked up by unions who threatened destruction took treasures from those who had trusted and worked hard as company bosses turned their backs on the little man and walked away fat.

Detroit a boomtown, Motown city, full of dreams, built on hope, spirit, and substance, driven into the dirt by unions and political pimps who sucked the marrow from its bones and moved on.

A city, maybe like a country, where masses followed false hope and citizens in blindness failed to see the deception, repetitive broken promises, and lies because they became truths.

A place like any other place that took the obvious and turned it into what was wished for, only to discover that they too had been listening to the horn’s cacophony, and not waiting for the sturdy smooth bass rhythm to follow that those few had heard long before.


Johnny Johnston
Johnny Johnston
An artist/writer as well as graduate of the University of South Carolina with degrees in journalism/20th Century American Literature, and retired senior executive of several international hotel/resort corporations, Johnny is the product of the south having been raised in the ever-changing transient lifestyle of a Carolina coastal resort. A point where he discovered, within his 300-year-old heritage and the world's dramatic social/cultural shifts during the late '60s to early 80’s an ambitious hunger and overwhelming curiosity to touch, see and become a participant in the virtually unlimited possibilities offered to those who wish for and seek life experiences. A journey which when hearing its details initially makes one a bit skeptical, questioning its validity as it is hard to imagine that incidents such as these may have crossed one man’s lifetime. This is the fodder required to step into zones exposing one's personal inner self, which many of his paintings and the words he writes do, openly. An ability to see and hear the tragic, beautiful, accomplished, exciting journey in a life free of inhibitions allowing others the opportunity to live vicariously and become, through his works, a part of its future. His larger works which have been featured in several Colorado and Fredericksburg Texas galleries and resorts have produced a number of collectors and fans. However, over the years, his paintings are mostly viewed by friends, enthusiastic new artist encountered on the streets or a small number of acquaintances he meets when dining in local cafés with his wife.

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