Saudade for Jim Caldwell

In Detroit clouds belch up from manhole covers, shots bark at the moon. We bag our heads at home games, our loss draped over us like a jersey two sizes too big, worn with pride. You might laugh but I watched the greatest running back & wide receiver of all time languish on teams that didn’t deserve them which is to say give a person enough hope & they will hang themselves. Maybe that’s too on the nose. Microcosms exist because hierarchies expand until they collapse. Look I don’t want to spell this out for you but three days ago, a man ran past my window screaming HELP in the breathcold of a starlit morning while I slept which is to say there is a veil of cynicism that accompanies self-preservation. Blight is a familiar narrative to lose yourself in & a month ago green toxic sludge oozed onto 696 & no one blinked an eye. A month before that, the site where uranium rods were enriched for the first atomic bomb collapsed into the river we drink from & no one noticed until a Canadian newspaper contacted the EPA. The burning remnants of what was once a future enters our bodies without asking. I understand if you are too tired to care. I too do not like poetry that asks of me anything I am unwilling to give. I am distrustful of teams that win, incrementalism masked as electoralism. I am just trying to tell you I am frustrated & tired. I live in Michigan which is to say I fell in love with losing & called it home. But still, some nights I can’t help but dream of winning. I am trying to say our suffering is a definition that gives us form. But still, I have hope.


David Joez Villaverde is a CantoMundo fellow and an MFA candidate at the University of Michigan. He is the winner of Black Warrior Review’s 2018 poetry contest. His work has appeared in Frontier Poetry, RHINO, Dreginald, The Fanzine, Wigleaf, and elsewhere. He lives in Detroit and can be found at schadenfreudeanslip.com