Jim Daniels, 12/24/2018

Current Occupation: professor
Former Occupation: autoworker
Contact Information: Jim Daniels' recent poetry books include Rowing Inland and Street Calligraphy, 2017, and The Middle Ages, 2018. He is the author of five collections of fiction, four produced screenplays, and has edited five anthologies, including Challenges to the Dream: The Best of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards. His next book of short fiction, The Perp Walk, will be published by Michigan State University Press in 2019.

 

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THE DETROIT STATUE OF LIBERTY
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., for more than four decades the sponsor of the Detroit
roadside billboard that flashed a running total of North American light-vehicle
production, has ended funding of the longstanding landmark.
 
In traffic, we watched as numbers turn.
We were stalled. The numbers weren't.
We could not help it, the looking up. Down
on factory floors we made those numbers
 
turn. No one felt bad or even noncommittal
about their turning. Some believed our plants
had underground cables wired to the sign
to keep it up to date. We believed a lot back
 
before cars went bust, came back, went bust again.
Not exactly Liberty, but a living wage. Praise
the living wage. Family, house, and the pursuit
of, yes, happiness. Liberty, we could only imagine,
 
stuck in freeway traffic, on our way to or from
making those numbers turn. How much did it cost?
 

 

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