The Gone World Still Parading Thru My Dream



A few of the places and routines of my daily life for the past decades, already fading in consciousness as I turn to the next phase, here recalled with affection.




Plants & prayer flags inscribed with Allen’s Howl in my office window.






My computer desk in office, with (on the left) Allen Ginsberg/Patti Smith poster from their 1996 appearance at Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor (Allen read there each of his last three springtimes of his life, benefit readings for Jewel Heart), and (on the right), 1989 poster of my reading with Allen, at GVSU. My computer, coffee & teacups below.







Shakespeare, Drama, Women's Studies & Afrocentric Studies

books and paper flotsam, in my office.






View from the college parking ramp:  Fountain Street Church, where Allen Ginsberg read in 1993 & where the famed modern morality play, Corpus Christi, was played after it was forced from the college theatre by religious bigots. You can see the stunning rose window here, but the interior is as beautiful a church as one might find anywhere, classic.






St. Mark's Church (episcopal), constructed of stones brought up from the river. One of the many architectural marvels tucked away among corporate buildings downtown.






Veteran's Memorial Park. Bikers' hangout in the 60s, always a place to find homeless and destitute. My friend Chris Clay's name is up on the Vietnam War stone, and my poem "Memorial Stone" (in On The Bridge) takes place in and near this park.






Park Congregational Church. When I was a kid, there were three Pitts downtown, where kids could come and hear bands our own age do covers of recent Stones, Animals, Kinks hits, meet kids from all over town & every race and social class. I remember a huge fight between west side greasers vs. the suburban kids and the bikers outside the Pitt that was located in this church—whips made from snapped-off car antennas, clubs, brass knuckles, the works. Of course, this was an age away from drive-bys and semi-automatic weapons, romantic I suppose in that you could only get your head bashed in & might not even need to go to the emergency room.







Civic Theatre, one of the oldest in US, a haven for Broadway retreads, predictable staging, staid performance and audiences. When I was a kid, this was the Majestic Theatre. I saw Hitchcock's Psycho here in sixth grade and had nightmares for weeks afterwards. It was a great venue to throw popcorn from the balcony during kids' afternoon shows. The two other downtown theatres of my youth were the Midtown, where my mother cried through "The King and I" after her divorce, and the Savoy, where I saw "Hercules Unchained" and enjoyed watching teenagers grope each other in the back row.







Monroe Street—all the tourists staying at the Scamway Hotel come up this street to buy things they don't need. It was deadsville through the 70s but in early 90s there were some great dance/blues venues and a lot of folk moved downtown. Cops at this end, Rosa Parks Circle at the other.







Civil War Monument. Michigan boys fought and were killed in engagements from Shiloh to Gettysburg and beyond, present in both the western armies and in the army of the Potomac. Perhaps the most famous Michigan soldier of the war was George Custer of Battle Creek, the most reckless commander of the war and, of course, renowned for the foolish attack on Tatanka Yotanka and the Lakotas at Little Bighorn.






Ionia in back of the former Federal Bldg/former Art Museum, looking up toward the Morton House.







Rosa Parks Circle, site of jazz, blues and other open air concerts all summer, ethnic festivals, zombie walk @ Hallowe'en, skating in winter. See "Wild Pillars, Billowing Giant Vapors" and "The Sleepers" in Coming Home.







Front of the Scamway Hotel (left), owned by Republicans who have funded "faith-based" initiatives to force the public to pay for religious propaganda in schools and elsewhere, as well as anti-gay initiatives in Ca. They're also connected via marriage to Eric Prince, of Blackwater infamy.






Fulton bridge over the Owashtanong (Grand River). Originally, the river flow was much broader, with islands and rapids that gave the town its name. The history formally begins with the Hopewell nation, whose mounds were raised in at least two areas of the river c. 900 CE. The Anishnabek came into the region and settled here later, followed by French voyageurs, missionaries, trappers and traders, British administrators and American colonists.  The most famous logjam in US history occurred upstream here, smashing bridges and creating havoc for roughly 50 miles of riverway down to Grand Haven in 1883. See any of the following: , , ,




Ahnabawen Park, built for US Bicentennial, with Gerald Ford Presidential Museum & Library in distance—Ford's grave is over there somewhere, too. This area is sacred ground for First Nation peoples, originally featured Hopewell Mounds (grave mounds raised c. 900 CE) which were long ago excavated and flattened out to make for industry and neighborhoods. When they built the park, they placed new mounds there, perhaps to serve as reminders of the past history. The mounds out by where I bike and kayak are still relatively intact.






Scamway Hotel and other behemoths from across the river.






Tunnel in park path. I hiked these paths during the 90s, ostensibly as a fitness regimen, but really because I love being near the river. See "Owashtanong Sunrise" in Turn the Wheel.






The old Civic Auditorium, once major venue for concerts in GR. We saw Chuck Berry, Arlo Guthrie and Ry Cooder, and most famously, The Clash here, on their last tour (Combat Rock). Their concert was the last event at the Civic before it closed—helluva knockout show to go out with. I'm not sure what it's used for now.






Interesting facade work on the lower section of the Scamway Hotel (once the Pantlind). It's funny, but when I was a kid, the area now populated by the wealthy and those pretending to be so was then home to the Knife and Fork, a greasy spoon famous for its hookers and cabbies at 2 a.m. A teenager could get an education during a late night/early morning breakfast, just by listening to the conversations nearby.






The famous Calder stabile, "La Grand Vitesse," which has become the centerpiece of this area's artistic identity. When first proposed, the stabile met a chorus of troglodyte boos, but now the Calder logo is on city garbage trucks and is a source of civic pride. It is, I believe, the most graceful and beautiful of the Calder stabiles I've either seen in person or in artbooks.  Poesy connection: see "Ghost Dance for La Grand Vitesse" in Coming Home.