January in Detroit or Search for Tomorrow Starring Ken and Ann

By Ken Mikolowski Ken Mikolowski
I think it is interesting
though not exactly amusing
how we go from day to day
with no money. How do we
do it, friends ask, suspecting
we really have some stash
stacked away somewhere.
But we certainly do not
and we also do not know
how we do it either.
You sure are lucky,
some of our friends say. I am
none too sure of that though,
as I wait for the winning
lottery numbers to be announced
on CKLW. Thursday in Detroit
is the day of dreams. We have
been dreaming of a place
in the country lately and I’m
none too sure that is very healthy.
And speaking of health that’s
also been a problem that probably
has something to do with no money,
since we’ve all been sick lately,
taking turns politely of course.
Could you bring me some more
tea one of us will ask,
and the other will.
In between the coughing and
worrying our thoughts
have often turned to crime.
We seriously wonder how we can
get away with a bundle with
as little risk as possible.
Last week we took our last
$12 out of the bank
and noticed how much more
they had there though
we had none. Of course
we wouldn’t rob that bank,
they know us there
as the ones who bring
the rolls of pennies in.
And just yesterday they
fish-eyed us for trying
to cash our son’s xmas bond
from his grandparents
after only one month.
So we wouldn’t try to rob that bank,
but I do know of one up north
that may be possible. . .
I know this just seems like
romantic dreaming
but I practically make a career
of reading detective stories,
and God knows, I have no other.
Anyway if the right opportunity
comes along, we are more
than ready to meet it.
But this is a time of waiting,
the I Ching says, though it does
not say how we are to eat
while waiting. And soon
we will have another mouth to feed—
Ann now in her seventh month,
and that is often in our thoughts.
Besides all that we are both
over thirty, artist and poet,
still waiting to cross the great water.
Meanwhile, day after day,
there is still Detroit
to be dealt with — a small pond
says our friend Snee.
Big fish we used to answer him,
but that was a while back.
Now we think maybe Lake Erie
is the great water referred to
in the I Ching, and if we wait
long enough we can
walk across — to Buffalo
or Cleveland. In a healthy person,
says the philosopher, self-pity
can be a forerunner to action:
once the problem is seen clearly,
a solution may be found at hand.
And as I said, I think it is interesting
though not exactly amusing.

Ken Mikolowski, "January in Detroit or Search for Tomorrow Starring Ken and Ann" from Big Enigmas. Copyright © 1991 by Ken Mikolowski.  Reprinted by permission of Ken Mikolowski.

Source: Big Enigmas (Past Tents Press, 1991)

 Ken  Mikolowski

Biography

Born and raised in Detroit, poet and editor Ken Mikolowski earned a BA at Wayne State University. He is the author of several poetry collections, including Big Enigmas (1991), Little Mysteries (1979), and Thank You Call Again (1973).
In the 1960s Mikolowski founded the Alternative Press in Detroit’s Cass Corridor with his late wife, the painter Ann Mikolowski. As the press’s editor for 30 years, Mikolowski published—as unbound . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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