Skip to content

What The Current Detroit Poetry Scene Looks Like To Me. Pt. 1

The Detroit Poetry Scene has become a cliquish group with gang like tendencies. I know there will be many who wince at this comparison and yet even more still who will take offense. However, this is how I see the current scene and I feel that what I have observed over the years warrants this opinion.

Let me preface this blog with the recognition that it is not only the poetry scene that has taken on these characteristics. I also believe fraternities and sororities share in this sort of “groupism” that in it’s effort to offer a shared space for bonding and brother/sisterhood instead end up feeding actions of divisiveness and attitudes of elitism. At least though, for the sake of argument, fraternities and sororities can speak about their service to others on a regular basis through community work and scholarship awards.

“But local poets do community work too!”  What I can say is…I haven’t seen it.Wait, that’s not true. I just haven’t seen a significant amount worth mentioning. When I do see local poetry artists “giving back” by working with youth, they are either getting paid, or working with youth who do…wait for it…poetry. Go figure. So other youth couldn’t benefit from volunteer work from poets? Or do you just not care about what happens to youth who don’t do poetry? Other than some canned food drives, I can honestly say I don’t see local poets giving back much outside of the realm of poetry.

Separatism is prominent in the Detroit poetry scene. It also seems to me that if you aren’t considered to be a poet, you might as well be a pile of hot shit for all some of them care. I mean, seriously, I have seen people actually get treated differently simply because they are known to be a poet when they walk into the spot. They get spoken to differently, looked at differently, etc. Sometimes they don’t have to pay to get in. All of a sudden, you become the greatest human in the world, because you are a poet! All of this simply because you can throw together some great metaphor and crack some highly intellectual jokes. You would think, as much as these spots struggle  financially to stay open, they wouldn’t be letting anybody in free!

Come on people, that was a funny. Why so serious?

But wait, don’t be a poet nobody knows yet, because you will be treated just as shitty as the fans are sometimes. Just try to get on the open mic list at a prime spot. Good luck having anyone see you when your name gets called at 1:00am, if it gets called at all.

No. Instead they will move up people who do the same poems over and over again, five days a week, at five open mics.

Just saying. Maybe if the locals didn’t treat the fans like they were somehow beneath them, things would be better for all involved. Perhaps your audience wouldn’t be at least 50% fellow poets that you are already friends with.

Maybe, just maybe the dwindling of the poetry scene is actually in large part, fault of the poets themselves.

Charlie Sheen: Set Up for Failure

Recently comedic actor Charlie Sheen premiered his brand new, never before performed show/  My Violent Torpedo of Truth tour in Detroit, MI. From what the media reported, Mr. Sheen’s show reportedly “sucked”. He was booed off stage and people walked out in droves. If you watch the news, then you saw many talking about how they didn’t like Sheen’s show and how they don’t want him to ever come back, not even for a make-up show.

The problem with these reports is that they only cover half the story.

No one in the media speaks about how the first thing they began doing when Sheen announced that he would be touring was panning him. The fact that he wasn’t a comedian. The fact that no one knew what was in store because it was a show that was debuting. “He is on drugs”. “The show might bomb”. Yada. Yada. Yada. This was before the first show even  took place. How many performers have had to deal with such pre-bias before opening a tour? Off hand, I personally can’t think of any.

Now, let’s look at the night of the show. There was pandemonium outside of the FOX Theater. Also, here is a BIG KEY POINT…a lot of people in the audience were drunk before the show even started. These same drunk people booed the opening act stand-up comedian before he even started his act to going good. The audience was drunk and unruly and I’m not sure anyone would have survived that crowd.

Was the show perfect? By no means. But it was not nearly as bad as the media and people made it out to be. Like my friend said “what the hell did they want him to do? Come out and say WINNING and Tiger Blood for 2 hours?”

Right. Didn’t think so.

I respect what Charlie was trying to do. It was like he was trying to just give us an evening hanging out with him. It was an experiment. He had never done this before and was trying to see what worked and what didn’t.  He wore a Detroit Tiger’s jersey to get us going, which was great, but after that the fans lost appreciation for what he was attempting to do. He tried showing some footage from an old film of his. That was panned. He also tried to have some candid conversations with us. That was booed. There were some solid laughs in there but overall, the audience didn’t allow anything to play out.  Any “fan” going there knew that there were no guarantees. What I don’t understand is how can you call yourself a fan and then treat him that way? Booing him? REALLY?

Detroit had the privilege of being the first stop. How often does Detroit get chosen for anything? His reward? Being treated like he was less than human.

I feel if you are a true fan, then you would have supported  Charlie in his efforts. Offered constructive criticism on twitter. Understand that he might not have done great, but he tried something new. Attempted to be innovative and fresh. At least respect him for having the balls to try. When is the last time you stepped out on a limb and did anything out of YOUR comfort zone?

And gee, He seems to have done fine everywhere else OTHER then DETROIT.

Go figure.

After treatment like that, I wouldn’t come back to the D either.

Sorry Sparty, Michigan State Still Has a Long Way to Go

So, Michigan State beat Michigan for the third year in a row. This was no surprise, at least not to me. What I don’t understand is how it comes as a surprise to anyone else. Michigan had the worst defense coming into the game. Anyone who actually pays attention to college football (and not just WINS and LOSES) knows this. In my opinion, Michigan was the underdog and has been for the last three years. I don’t expect a whole lot from a team that is still in transition and has obviously had so many holes in defense coming into that game. I am not here however to discuss the game. Michigan State won. All over the place. No doubt about it. It wasn’t a close call. And although I think if a few balls were thrown differently, a few play calls made were different, it could have actually been a closer game,  but it wasn’t. I don’t dispute that at all.

 

 

I am however very perturbed at the State fans and the nation somehow regarding beating a Michigan team with no defense as a “Program Changer” for the Michigan State Spartans. This entire belief has baffled me before the game and after. Michigan State beating Michigan has no significance in deciding if Michigan State’s program is now “for real”. I understand the concept behind the thought pattern. Michigan has been the dominant football force in Big Ten college football for a long time. The team to beat. Then Ohio State became the dominant football presence here with Michigan being a close second. Some might argue Michigan was still the better team when looking at bowl performances, but the Big Ten title was differently up for grabs usually between Ohio State and University of Michigan. So now Michigan State beats Michigan three years in a row. The dominant Michigan football program has not been able to beat Ohio State or Michigan State the last three years. This must mean that State is now the dominant program at least between Michigan and State correct?

NOPE.

Not even close Spartans..sorry.

Actually I’m not. But, ya know..I’m just saying.

Michigan State beating Michigan three times in a row does prove something though. It proves that…wait for it…that Michigan State beat Michigan three times in a row. THAT’S IT.  NOTHING MORE.

“How can you say that?” “You  must be a Wal-Mart Wolverine for saying something that absurd!”
Or my personal favorite… “You’re just a HATER!!”

I assure you, I am not a hater. I actually didn’t have anything against State or its fans until the last three years when State fans starting talking soooo much crap because their football team beat Michigan. Smak talk is fine, but name calling and the like was just a show of how desperate State has been to beat Michigan and now they can’t control themselves. Well, to that I say…grow up. But I digress. The point is that beating Michigan the last three years really doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of Big Ten College football, or nationally for that matter. And it is because of one simple reason. Michigan isn’t currently, nor have they been for the last three years, a good football team. As I said in my blog before the game last week, State beat at team that lost to Toledo and Appalachian State! If State had not beaten Michigan, it would have been a more embarrassing occurrence than Michigan losing. Michigan is a team in transition. It has taken 2 years for recruiting and experience on offense to come to fruition. And Denard is still young. This has the potential to be a major turning point for Michigan offense or a major upset. I am hoping for the former.
But Michigan still has no  defense. Only the offense has been worked on. The defense has gotten progressively worse. It is the worst defense in college football! I don’t think anyone who respects the game would ever say a team with a good offense (that hasn’t been tested yet) and a horrible defense is a great team.  Michigan hasn’t been GREAT these last three years and no one can expect them to be. So if a team beats another team that is less than great, how can they be considered great themselves? To be the best don’t you have to BEAT the BEST? Isn’t that how it’s always been? Or at least beat some really good teams along your journey to greatness?

If that is the case, than how does that rule change now that State has beaten bad Michigan teams? Spartan fans can’t say Michigan sucks, and then beat us and say “now the Spartans are a splendid team” because we beat Michigan. That doesn’t add up. It doesn’t  make any sense! Either you are a great team now because you beat a great Michigan team and had a successful season or you beat a bad Michigan team and are no better  a team this week than you were before.

Spartan fans who are so emotionally hyped up on hating Michigan and their own “little brother” status can’t seem to grasp this concept. You are either dumb or just emotionally high. But how do you justify your belief that you as a program now should get some sort of respect when you are still on the losing end of the rivalry by a tremendous 36 games?? When you are notorious for starting strong and finishing on the skids and losing in bowl games? When you don’t play Ohio State consistently and when you do play them, you lose? You haven’t beaten Ohio State since 1999.

Sure it’s been a long time since Michigan beat them, but it’s been even LONGER for State.

All you have done is beat bad Michigan teams three years in a row. (ok two years they were bad, this year they are ok.)

State did not build their team up to the level of Michigan’s program. Michigan’s program fell down to theirs.

And the season isn’t even near over yet. We still don’t know if State will finish the season strong, or falter as usual. My money is on the finishing. They have a good team. They have an easy schedule. They played a horrible Michigan D and a young  first year starting QB, and they don’t play Ohio State.  The football stars are aligned in  favor of State running the table. They better. And they better do it with gusto if they want any respect in my opinion. This is a must.

I am not saying Michigan State isn’t a good team. From what I have seen they are well-balanced on offense and defense. They are a good team and most definitely better than Michigan is right now. But nothing State  has done yet has solidified a position to even begin being compared to the legacy of The University of  Michigan program.

Even if they finish the season with a perfect record you have to evaluate who they played on that schedule. It will go down in history as a perfect season, but it will be far  less than magical.

Please stop this discussion. Focus on winning out the easy schedule and winning your bowl game. Think about legacy further down the line. Waaaay further down. PLEASE.

To BE the BEST you have to BEAT the BEST.

Sorry Spartys, but you have done nothing of the sort.

The OTHER Big Game: Michigan vs. Michigan State 2010

So the “big game” or what I refer to as the “Other Big Game” is upon us. Michigan State vs. The University of Michigan. This years game will be at the newly renovated Big House and will boast over 100,000 combined Wolverine and Spartan fans. The Wolverines have lost the last two matchups vs. the Spartans while under new head coach Rich Rod, and this has left Michigan fans thirsty for victory against their “little brother”.

Mike Valenti of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit has proposed a scenario that he feels would have to force the beginning of Wolverines having to “admit” that the Spartans are at least at the start of being in a position to be looked at as on Michigan’s level.

His scenario is as follows:
Beat Michigan for a third year in a row.
Finish the season either 9-3 or 10-2
Win in a bowl game.

In his analysis, this would be State’s way of actually not just beating Michigan, but also finishing a season successfully. With the strength of schedule (and NOT having to face Ohio State) he believes that it is very possible for State to finish with a strong win record. He did stress though, that State HAS to do all three in order for it to be deemed a successful season, as well as the beginning of new respect, or what should be new respect for the Spartans.

Sorry Mr. Valenti and all the Spartan fans, but I wholeheartedly DISAGREE.

And here is why.

First, overall Michigan has had total dominance against the Spartans in football throughout the years. Like a friend of mine said, the Spartys need to win about 32 more games against Michigan  before they can even begin this conversation! Ok, so maybe that’s a bit much, but you get the point. Michigan has 32 more wins in the series.

Secondly, does it really count when a team had to win when another team was in transition (and EVERYONE was beating them including Toledo and Appalachian State)?  I mean, Michigan has consistently had the better squad over the years, but things were bound to be different at least for a few years right? When Rich Rod took over two seasons ago though, he implemented a completely new style of football never played before in Michigan history. This open field offense is not known as BIG TEN or even Michigan type football. Not only was he implementing an entirely new style of offense, he was dong so with players that he didn’t bring to the team. In other words, it wasn’t really his ideal recruiting class. Once Rich Rod got his guy Denard in and gave him one offseason of work, the offense took off. Denard is currently the most fascinating offensive player in  college football. If he runs for 300 yards, it would be an off game. Point being , it takes TIME. I’m just not impressed with a team that can only beat Michigan when they are just plain horrible and in transition.

Thirdly (is that ok to say?) I would be more impressed if Michigan State had built up a program over time and raised their game up to Michigan’s level. Instead, Michigan fell down to State’s and now State wants to take some sort of credit. Albeit, State is better this season than they have been over the last 3 years at least I believe (we will see for certain as the season plays on) and part of being a good or great team is taking advantage of another teams weaknesses and capitalizing on them. But Michigan has been less than just weak the last couple of seasons. Teams had better beat them, because if you LOST to Michigan the last couple of years it was more of an embarrassment considering their rankings offensively and defensively. You SHOULD have beat Michigan. In my opinion, Michigan should have been an underdog for the last three years since a new coach and new system and recruiting class had to be implemented.

Even if State wins this year, I still find no valid reasons to start considering State as beginning to be considered a force on Michigan’s level. In order for that to happen Stat would have to beat Ohio State Notre Dame and Penn State. They  would have to at least beat Michigan in a year when skill wise the teams are more equal. You have to give Rich Rod a year, ideally two to get his defense at least serviceable. Right now, his defense is abysmal and might as well be a big empty space on the field. Anybody can throw on Michigan. In fact, they can run too. States offense is so balanced that Michigan has no choice but to pick the pass or the run and totally dedicate to it and hope for the best with the rest because there is no way Michigan can handle both. My predication for Michigan to have a successful year is that they will have to win every game 80-75 because they can’t stop anything so far. Also, State will be the first defense that Michigan and Denard Robinson face this season. This will give us a more clear idea of whether this offensive dominance can really hold up or was it all for show against junior varsity type talent so far this season.

I know Spartans will disagree, but if you take the emotion out of your thinking, there is just no way you can feel great about beating this Michigan team other than just for individual season bragging rights.  Just like Michigan can’t fake the funk on basketball, State can’t fake it in football. The Spartans are years away from even the beginning of possibly changing the game in Big Ten football and Michigan’s overall dominance. Give Michigan 2 more seasons to work on defense. (if Rich Rod works on defense. He is known not to focus on defense.) If State beats a seriously retooled and polished Michigan team consistently I will have to give credit where credit is due.  Until then, I just can’t go that far.

Go BLUE!!!!

Why You Shouldn’t Give a Damn About Wacka Flacka and His Bad Interview

Very quick thoughts on the BET video that has been circulating with Wacka Flacka talking about Education and Voting. I have heard people totally dog this man about the way he sounds. Both people who spoke about him sounding “dumb” also mentioned that kids are exposed to this man. Here is what I have to say about that.

1. There are many people who are uneducated and or simply do not speak well, especially live. Is this interview a product of him not being prepped, being uneducated or both? Also, why do we judge celebrities (entertainers/sports figures) much harsher than those who are not in the public eye? I’m sure his entire crew sounds like him. Apparently, he has at least enough wits to realize that he sounded whack, which is why he was like we need to redo this!
2. I won’t sit here and judge him. That is unproductive.
3. The issue is not simply “kids look up to him”. If your children look up to him, that is partly YOUR fault. Parents, take responsibility for what you child is exposed to, instead of taking the lazy route and saying what He should do to better himself. He is doing HIM. And getting paid to be a performer. Not be educated. Not teach your kids. Not be a role model. Parents should be the role model, and/or expose your child to who you think is worthy.
4. On that note, society pushes entertainers as role models. Why? because they are in the public eye? SO! There is no rule or regulation saying you have to be educated, intelligent, or a responsible person to be a public figure.

I’m not excusing his lack of book smarts per sey. But it really has nothing to do with ME directly. Nor would it have anything to do with MY kids. I am all for education, but I won’t dog someone whose circumstances may have taken them in a different direction. Nor will I let my child look up to such an individual because MY standards won’t allow it.

Right after writing this, i found this link. It is Wacka Flacka saying that he actually chooses to play dumb. Interesting.

Wacka claims he \”can play stupid\” on camera.

0-2 LIONS. What’s the Problem THIS Time?

So the Detroit LIONS are 0-2. This as we all know by now could easily have been 2-0 if not for a few “process issues” and defensive collapses that occurred during and at the end of games. Whereas some fans are deciding that a major problem is the fact that Stafford is out, I am not so sure I buy that as the issue.

I am not so convinced that Stafford would make a huge difference. I think Stafford only had about 80 yards when he left in game 1. The play calling had been very conservative as well up to the point, and the LIONS were not moving prior to his injury. The offense had been very quiet that entire first half.
Where has Calvin “Megatron” Johnson been?
I like trying to use Calvin Johnson in big play situations, but it’s always in obvious situations like “we need a td right now and we are 25 yards away lets throw it high to CJ in the endzone and hope for the best”. I don’t like that! It makes it too easy and obvious to cover him. Burleson was also invisible in game one, so not sure how much difference he would have made in game 2. I know the IDEA of what Nate and Calvin SHOULD be able to do. I was a cheerleader of both of theirs on the offseason. But Calvin has done nothing but disappoint me. His numbers suck for a “number 1” WR. Im starting to believe it may be HIM and not the qbs. On the end of my opinion starting to form on CJ, I hear that he indeed is not a good route   listening to a local radio show here in Detroit. This possibly confirms a suspicion I had but could not address because they don’t show that part on tv.
Calvin is not getting open.
It was only game one at the time  that Stafford got hurt ,but, the LIONS have to be better on a whole. The play calling has got to open up. It always seems to me that the LIONS change coaches but never the playbook. I hate the playbook. Haven’t been excited about it since Mike Martz left. We need more shots downfield, and I don’t mean just  2-3 yards. Some of the aggressive calls didn’t work out this past week, but that doesn’t mean you stop trying them. It’s just the beginning. Keep showing the confidence in your offense and it will work out in the longer run because them knowing their coach believes they can make the cutch play when needed should boost their confidence.
With the shaky performances of the Vikings these past  two weeks, I see game 3 to be just as winnable as the first two games of the season, even if it is against the Vikings on the road. Right now, the Vikings are very exposed and we have shown an ability even with the back up Shaun Hill to be able to score big points. Let’s see how this plays out.

Not The Red Wings You Knew and Loved

Let me start off by saying, this is not a bashing of my beloved Detroit Red Wings, but more of a reality check. At the beginning of the season, my mom and I were talking about the Red Wings. She would get score updates on her phone and look hurt every time the Wings would lose. Which in comparison to the last few seasons, was a lot. Then and there I told my mom not to be upset. Her reply was ” these are still the Red Wings! They are better than this!” To which I responded “but mom, that’s just it, they aren’t THE Red Wings”. I went on to explain that perhaps later in the season, or next season, or even the season after next that they quite possibly would be again, but right then, they were not.

My reasoning came from the fact that there had been several players on last years and the year before’s roster who had not returned. Marian Hossa, Mikael Samuelsson, and  Jiri Hudler left. Hossa being a leading scorer for the team had 40 goals and 31 assists alone!  That’s a big deal to lose a player like that,  especially when you combine it with all the injuries and newer players having to be brought into regular season play who may have only done spot duty  last season.

“But it’s still the RED WINGS!”

No, mom, they aren’t!

Missing players. Key injuries, age, rookie goalie. All of these things have to be taken into account.

I think my mom ( as well as a lot of fans) looked at it from an organization standpoint. I think she, like many fans, have become spoiled and expect anyone wearing the uniform to be able to be great at the drop of a hat, or octopus. The mystique of the organization of the last 10 years has permeated the fans way of thinking and they can not comprehend failure. They have lost all sense of reality and fear being accused as a bandwagon fan if they say anything that doesn’t paint the Wings as perfect. Or they take the complete opposite stand and curse them for being a horrible team.

A horrible team that made it to the second round of the playoffs after being counted as dead before the Olympic break.

A horrible team that fought its way to a fifth seed and won a game 7 with a rookie goalie. Oh yea!! Did you forget they had a rookie goalie?? I think many of you did!

If the wings are horrible (even if they get swept by the Sharks which is quite possible now down 0-3) then their horrible is still better than many others teams “great” days. Everyone does not get into the playoffs, but the Wings did, again. 19 Consecutive playoff appearances.

Is it possible that the old heads aren’t as hungry as some of the players on these other teams? I suppose. But I would credit the issue of not being dominate more to the change of personnel and the injuries during the year to the seemingly averageness of this team. And, I must say it, they have not gotten the better breaks when it comes to calls this playoff round. Have the Wings played great? No. Would a great team have been more in control of their own fate by scoring more goals so that they could combat bad calls with a powerful offense? Absolutely.  But I also think that if you take a team that is probably more good than great this season, and put them up against a young team and horrible officiating, that can cause problems. Close games should not be determined by the refs and I don’t know any team that can be in the box that many times and not get tired. And let us not forget these players are human. Having bad calls consistently has GOT to play a part in an athlete’s psyche.

It all adds up.

And still, we are here. In the playoffs. Where many teams are not.

I am excited that with all the adversity, we are still in this position. Still in an exciting place for NHL hockey. The Red Wings organization is indeed Still The Red Wings, even if the current team isn’t. I am confident we will return to that mystique we all know and love next season or the season after that (depending on if Howard grows or not)

Don’t worry. We will be back. After all, we never really left.