Arts & Culture » Culture

Words of Our Own


This lovely little verse fluttered down unto me like a cursing rabid locust drunk on whiskey with a black heart. War news on TV meets online holiday shopping, and voilà, a poem that I hope will be rendered moot soon.
by Robert Fanning

Today another flag-covered box arrives

on my porch, as they do weekly, without fail,

filled with what my income tax has bought.

Lifting the box — heavy today! —

I wave

to the Fed Ex man, driving off with all

his other deliveries, one for each household

down our quiet street. Grabbing my knife

to slit the taped top, I can't

help feeling

a little giddy. Foolish, I know, there's no

holiday surprise here — after all, each

of these gifts I bought. Inside my box

today: somebody's shattered watch,

the bent rim of a bike wheel, a torn page

of Baghdad's daily news, a Marine's

bloodstained glasses, half of a

boy's severed

leg with a striped sock and an untied blue

canvas shoe still on. Not bad.

But maybe I'm a little jaded, because

a couple days ago I heard a lady in hysterics

a few houses down, running from door to door

like she'd just won The Price is Right,

hoisting her spoils: what looked to me like

nothing more than a charred chicken breast,

which she claimed was a terrorist's ripped-out

heart. Now that's getting your

money's worth.

Robert Fanning, author of The Seed Thieves (Marick Press, 2006) and the forthcoming American Prophet (Marick Press, 2008). For more information, visit

If you have a poem you would like us to publish and you live in these here parts, send it to

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.