Theo Johnson '23
DISCLAIMER: there is no profanity in this article, just special characters to express my emotions.
Can’t have $&@! in Detroit.
Not even profanity.
Last night I started off on I-495 West, heading for I-270, then I-70 at Frederick, which runs alongside I-76 through Pennsylvania and Ohio, and on to I-80, then I-280 in Toledo to I-75 before the interstate system suddenly ends, as I pull into Detroit. Can’t have $#*% in Detroit.
Not even roads.
Now that I’ve arrived, I can tell a few things about this city that so many Americans have forgotten. First off, the city has a kind of personality—not in the sense that there’s a lot of culture or anything, just that it talks to you if you’re around at night. Second off, the people here don’t have a lot of stuff. They just have Detroit. Third, there was someone who once had an idea here, people said the idea was revolutionary and stuff but he forgot it. Can’t have $):% in Detroit.
Not even ideas.
So I was walking outside alone at night. It was pretty cold since Detroit is in Michigan which it seems like a lot of people don’t know. I think they just forgot. Anyways, I was walking outside looking at my breath spread out in the air when I started listening to the night. I don’t usually register a lot of the things I hear, that’s what they say makes me a good journalist. But when I do register what I hear it’s usually important. And out in Detroit when I was walking around and registering what I was hearing, the City decided to say something. It asked me what I was doing in Detroit. I answered that I didn’t know. Can’t have $&~< in Detroit.
Not even a reason.
The City told me that’s alright. It said that there was a guy in the city once who drove in - it was actually earlier that morning - who wanted to find something. He had an idea that he wanted to find something really important and say it. Give the City a voice or something. Of course, when he arrived he realized that the city already had a voice and his idea wasn’t needed. The City told me that the guy wasn’t really needed. Can’t have $å&# in Detroit.
Not even the feeling that you’re needed.
I was kind of depressed by that. The fact that the guy wasn’t needed. I mean, he drove all this way so there must have been some reason he needed to be in Detroit. The City laughed and buzzed. “That’s the thing about me,” It said. “It’s not that you can’t have $&@t in Detroit, it’s that you don’t need $&@/ in Detroit. No one needs $@)!. Not even me. It’s nice not to worry about $@&%. Especially since you don’t have it. It’s nice to just walk outside at night without $/:@ weighing on you and you not weighing on $&”^. It makes it easier to live. It makes it easier when you don’t need $**# because you can let go and realize that it’s not about you.” I took a seat on the curb of some road in Detroit and looked out. Why was I here? I had wanted to do something but now it seemed like it really didn’t matter. I thought about it for a moment longer, saying to myself that maybe I should just keep walking and doing things without needing to know why. But I was just curious. “Hey, Detroit, why am I here?”
“Can’t have $¡¿! in Detroit,” it said back.
“Especially not answers.”
Note: Editor-in-Chief Henry Brown, lover of great cities and decrier of fallen ones, ardent pursuant of architectural consequence and faithful servant of aesthetic might, agrees: can't have &ø˜¶ in Detroit.