The smell of defeat

Marty Wollner



Has anyone seen where Detroit went?

Its all gone! The city is actually gone.


Drive around any area now.

Any area

at all,

South of 8 mile road.


There are no more homes.


No more factories.


There are no more schools.


No more hospitals.


There are only burned down

boarded up


and rat infested



Lots of lots.


More and more,

Slowly connecting to each other,

reclaiming everything that was once here.

until they are all that's left.


There is no more industry.

And certainly,

no more places to work.


Detroit is gone. All Gone.

Its rotting corpse has given up.

We lost Detroit

to the smell of defeat.


Itís really scary.

Like looking at something so horrible, it seems to be unreal.

Like some kind of bad dream.


I was drivin' around the dead city,

and what do I smell?


Not the transmission fluid,

from our transmission plants,

that smelled to us

like victory in the morning,


not the hot iron, from our smelters,


not the wood from our lumberyards,


not the oily mist, from our assembly lines,


not the warm bread, from our bakeries,




I smell the lilacs

that have overgrow the lots.


I smell honeysuckle

where there once were factories.


I smell roses

sweet, sweet roses

that have somehow grown over

the rotting corpse

that was once Detroit.


My home.


Shake my head.

Shake all of our heads.


Roll my eyes

Roll all of our eyes.


Hang our heads in SHAME!


We let this happen

to our own selves.


I just don't know how.