A poem about a poetry reading I did at The Rusty Nail, in Flint, Michigan, in The 1980’s. The 80’s were a time of severe economic collapse for Flint. The Rusty Nail is no longer in business.

Old bricks,

maybe plastic,

maybe real,

remnants of The 70’s.

Old netting,

remnants of a forgotten trip

to Pier One.

Punks and Pre-Goths,

crowed into The Rusty Nail.

A poetry reading in a dying town.

2007_11_13_bos-ord_058.JPG by dsearls.


A thing of hope.

We all had hope in spite

of the hopeless,

KARPOV THE WRECKED TRAIN by karpov the wrecked train.


that surrounded us.

I felt a bit nervous,

I asked for dimmed lights,

I turned my back to the audience,

an audience of friends.


I still felt nervous.

A laser on my back.

The effect was cool,

they taught I was cool.

I was nervous.

Nothing to do with cool.

Halo Burger by Librarian Avenger.


Nothing at all.

Not the lights,

Not the aloofness,

Not the laser on my back.

I was nervous.

The stilted repetition as written,

the stuttering repetition was not.

I was nervous.

It worked.

Diatribes about Lenny Bruce,

Image via Wikipedia

and Marilyn Monroe,

Image via Wikipedia



a carnival,

Image via Wikipedia

and The CIA.

Absurdism about tiny cows,

an art piece I had seen,

a couple of months back,

Just nonsense,

just ranting about tiny cows,

little plastic cows,

plastic cows going upstairs,

The Upstairs Burned played at Doobie’s,

never at The Rusty Nail.

Capitol Theatre - Second Street, Downtown Flint, MI by sarrazak6881.


Neither survived the 80’s,

neither survived Free Trade.

Image via Wikipedia

Autoworld came and went.

That place I could always go,


Downtown Flint by sarrazak6881.


now seen through that hazy window,


Funny Sue thought the tiny cows

represented communism,

AC Spark Plug, Flint Michigan by abarndweller.


Maybe that’s what hopeless does,

I didn’t care about politics,

Image via Wikipedia

I just wanted things to change,

change for the better,

change to happiness,

change to opulence,

Image via Wikipedia

beyond that nothing,


I was just nervous.

Liked it
  • ken bultman on Oct 26, 2009

    Great poem. Hopelessness leads to nervousness. So does reading poetry to friends while facing away from them. I wish I could have been there. Wish I had known the Rusty Nail…even Sue, although I would have never gotten her connection with the tiny cows. lol.

  • deep blue on Oct 26, 2009

    It got me a little tipsy too. Nice thoughts in here.

  • deep blue on Oct 26, 2009

    Of course the images very well elaborate the message.

  • papaleng on Oct 26, 2009

    very nicely done, you expressed your thoughts well.

  • martie on Oct 26, 2009

    This made me recall poetry readings, and reader theatre events some that were crowded. Some where no one came. Too much beer and yes hope for change.

  • diamondpoet on Oct 26, 2009

    Loved the pics and this was nicely written.

  • LOVELYHONEY on Oct 26, 2009

    it was then when i learnt

    sleeping in the NUDE

    which u profess also,

    is a great way of economising

    on clothes

  • Katie Marie on Oct 26, 2009

    I enjoyed this little trip down memory lane.

  • David Crerand on Oct 26, 2009

    very reminescent of Springsteen’s “my home town”. Watching something vital to your formative years dying around you. very engaging.

  • Duff D Moss on Oct 26, 2009

    Those times obviously left an impact on you, and I can see why. Thanks for playing again dude.

  • maranatha on Oct 27, 2009

    Wow, this was engaging. A great trip down memory lane, combined with the brash nervousness of youth and the old, shriveled feeling that comes from watching a beloved part of your history die. I feel like I rode the roller coaster. I think I’ll go again….

  • Darla Beck on Oct 27, 2009

    A great poem for the challenge and I really like the pics.

  • hfj on Oct 27, 2009

    I remember this era very well, and am living proof of it. You brought back many memories for me. Well done and thanks.

  • Lostash on Oct 27, 2009

    A myriad of emotions in this piece, and I do like the flow too. Times passed, times missed.

  • Jo Oliver on Oct 27, 2009

    Well done. I like the pictures in the breaks

  • RS Wing on Apr 13, 2010

    I love this piece. Great work here Mark. Another absurdist mark on history. Cool writing.

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