April 10, 2014 by Manny Wordsmith
A passion-less enclave for the old and boring. A place to live out your years as a backwards half-wit, unaware that the world is changing all around you.
Warren is that nasty taste you get in your mouth after chewing gum too long. It’s that squeaking sound your shoes make when you walk. It’s the reeking smell of moth balls and farts in your grandma’s basement.
To me, Warren is a purgatory built with walls of senior citizens clutching each others arms and kicking away anything cool that tries to break in. Other than the few bars I frequent, I see nothing useful about a place that hasn’t changed anything in decades. Yes, we added a Meijers and a Pei Wei. Woo! How about an Arabic cultural center or an Asian market? A fucking ethnic barbershop? Something with color! Just something that represents the mix. I mean I’d do with a couple more badass Polish bakeries or a string of German inspired pubs. Or just a downtown or a main street! I mean, we’re the third largest city in the state! But no. None of this will happen. You know why? Because Warren is the city formed and created by those who fled Detroit in the 60s and 70s. The same people who gave in and added to the magical “white flight” that continues to cripple Motown. I’m not saying they didn’t reasons to run. No one likes riots. But a class and color divide was more of the underlining issue than just random outbreaks of violence. Whites wanted to get away from blacks.
And that doesn’t make for a friendly environment for anyone who wants to mix things up. White, black, Arabic, Asian or otherwise. Building a city on the idea of escaping others, will only keep the same crap the same. Especially, since all the people who’ve fought to keep this drowning city bland are still alive and attending every city council meeting, hoping to keep it that way.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I don’t take things personal. There has never been space for a forward thinking black man in this city. NEVER. Racism, classism, and just straight up ignorance lurks at every messy corner this piece of crap city has. And that crap won’t change. And the same can be said about Centerline, Warren’s inbred cousin. Both cities are filled with too many synthesized kids, ready to follow their drone parents down the same crowded hills filled with gasping adults afraid their daughters with date out of their race or come home with purple hair.
This is my hell. Square peg, circle holes. But at least I have some square ass family members and friends to endure with me. So I’ll continue to drink at Vivio’s, Kelly’s, Tipsy McStaggers and Kick-ass. I’ll sing bad Karaoke and get my keys taken when bartenders think I’ve had enough. I will continue to enjoy the company of those that are forced to be here, but refuse to give in.
Warren, Michigan, my hometown, my birthplace, my evil nemesis.