as the city begins to reopen
i find so many things at an intersection
guys on scooters, cars, pedestrians, orange construction cones,
lights, signs, trees, a clock, flyers
and of course
a robot delivering food across town
who gets the right of way?
man or machine?
“we’re fascinated with robots because they are reflections of ourselves.”
As small budgets and bureaucracy leave playgrounds and parks uncared for in Detroit, a group of twenty-five volunteers known as the Detroit Mower Gang is taking matters into their own hands.
This past weekend, volunteer lawnmowers competed for a championship belt awarded to the person who cuts the most grass during their 12-hour Motown Mowdown. They kicked off at Hammerberg Playfield, an un-owned park on Detroit’s west side, tackling the overgrown lawn, repairing swing sets for the neighborhood before splitting up to cleanup 10 other abandoned playgrounds in the city.
“No one owns this particular park, it just fell through the cracks,” said Tom Nardone, 50, of Birmingham, who started the Detroit Mower Gang in 2009. “We just try to keep it alive. … Without a group, you couldn’t mow this park with a mower in a couple of days.”
A decade ago, Nardone bought a lawn tractor off Craigslist and took it to a park on Interstate 75 and Eight Mile Road. He started a Facebook group to find others who could join the project and eventually, it turned into a mower gang, he said. “When the city was getting close to filing for bankruptcy there were more than 300 parks in Detroit and the city said it could only care for 72.”
Last year, the founders formed a nonprofit called Enemies of Debris and also host trash fishing, where the same group pulls trash out of the Detroit River. The group said there have been fewer lots scouted each year because the city is catching up to them. “We hope they put us out of business,” Nardone said laughing. “We could start a bowling league or something.”
“i like the grass roots people the most.”
credits: optimist daily, detroitnews.com – sarah rahal, max ortiz – photo
with the absence of so many humans
the animals have reclaimed their territory
and even branched out to try things that might be new
when i saw this goose standing full of pride and bravado on top of the bridge
all i could think of was that scene from ‘titanic’ when jack said to rose:
“i’m the king of the world!”
and he believed that for a little while.
“the higher we soar the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly”
– friedrich nietzsche
(not me or my shoes, but she wore them well and they were clearly essential)
way back in march
when quarantine suddenly began
for some reason
the first things i immediately ordered were
a cherry blossom doormat and a pair of glittery shoes
(both are always good to have on hand during a pandemic)
the mat arrived quickly and is happily living outside my door
the shoes however have not yet made their way to my door
as it was determined that they are ‘non-essential’
and therefore will be delivered sometime late in june
one woman’s essential is another’s folly
all a matter of perspective.
“the first essential, of course, is to know what you want.”
image credit: MGM, The Wizard of Oz