These little cities
Were tough and strong,
Pious and independent.

Mostly they made parts
And sub-assemblies
For the motor city,
Hub of car manufacturing
For the world.

But everything changes
Everything has a life expectancy.
You just don’t know what it is
Until it unfolds in front of you.

The motor city
Exported itself to Japan
Then laid down and died.

And these little cities died along with it.
Nobody outside seemed to notice.

The young people leave
Or join gangs—
The poor and vicious
Preying on the poor and helpless.

The old people want to leave
But they can’t.  They buy
The cheapest beer in the convenience store
And sit on park benches
Talking about the old days,
Their huge hands
Holding cold, fragile cans.

What’s left?
The major industries are meth and heroin.
Sad to see people kill themselves
For lack of anything better to do.