It was a Sunday evening like many, I was sitting with my girl and some other friends, including one Rodman, our favored and now dearly departed young black Sommelier. Whose postgraduate degree publication on chaotic, gaming and war theories was the documentation of a globally celebrated after hours party series. He drank Wild Turkey like water and I enjoy rituals involved in enjoying exotic cult and micro brew beers. He is the only Brother I know who ever had American Pub Dogs, a very special mixed breed usually of Gaelic origins. My personal favorite was Junior, The most beautiful 110 lb blonde bitch to ever eat smuggled forbidden black rice and Sashimi grade yellow fin from my hand. Usually because anyone trying to take a piece of fish from me that cost more per once than some Cannabis Cup winning strains of weed or coffee that is derived from Civet shit, is most likely ready to fight with me for it. But Junior, like her mother Sasha and brother Stalin were very special Dogs. Now this night was by no stretch of the imagination unique. There's Jan the daughter of a wealthy real estate developer, slash, ghetto dwelling, house rehabilitating, slumming, Bohemian bar tender, slash DJ who plays lounge-esque funk, soul, hip hop, techno and house while sitting, as if she were at a piano and enjoys many complements on her fine hand made foundation garments from men and women alike. Amp Dog, the super bartender whose following can open or close an establishment, and assortment of tailored shirts can put most fashion week shows to shame. In the back Beatdown Sounds are revving up. Somewhere near by is my ex-wife, the best damn poet I ever slept with, her exes, one who is one of my best friends from high school, one who is a world class IMSA driver, one who is one of the best fucking fiction writers I've ever encountered and his ex a former European fashion model from South Africa, that like the woman in Nine and a Half Women has a thing for being pregnant. It's not that incestuous, It's just a really small world and brilliant people are hard to come by. The tables in the dining room are being cleared. The entire Woodward Avenue side of the bar is talking, in detail about my cousin's aunt and just how sexy she is. Dotty, Dorthy is a former DPS administrator, well off, dark like coffee with pan roasted chicory, no cream, no sugar dark, tall and built like a brick shithouse that was constructed when bricks was cheap and the mortar was on sale. Aunt Dotty has got to be at least seventy and it just twists my kind of in denial, overly masculine, overly polished, overtly snobbish, always foppish and toney, "I'm not gay, I'm just sexual", as an Easter parade cousin's stomach so much that he has difficulty ogling the big nosed Romanesque white boys that sit on the opposite side of the horseshoe shaped bar. All together there may have been a dozen of us that had slid and jammed tables together earlier to talk about the all important nothings of the week, eat things that were not prepared in our grandmother's houses and drink beers and wines that are hard to pronounce sober let alone after individually consuming whole bottles. Yes we're foodies! Yes! we all acknowledge that were we in any other major metropolitan, cosmopolitan city on the planet this gathering would be no big deal, and to us it ain't. Worse of us all is Woo. Woo is Mike, Mikey, Mickey or Micheal number 281. I met Mike when he was four or five, shortly after he was adopted and brought from China to live in Detroit. I was eating at his parent's restaurant, because it was good and cheap or because I didn't want the hassle of being hit on by every man between my apartment and Backstage or I wasn't feeling Churches Chicken or I didn't want to risk being shot or catching an STD by proxy at the Coney Island. Anyway, he climbed until the table when I was enjoying my almond chicken, took off his shoes and went to sleep. It's eighteen or twenty years later. His mother cusses at me in Cantonese when I miss a family function and always reminds me when it's time to get my Moon cakes and where the best place to get them is. Mike 281 hasn't changed much, but he's so excited and not alone in feeling attracted to a black woman old enough to be his grandmother and exclaims, "Your auntie is fine! She can get it any day!" Which is the sentiment of most of the men and a couple of women at the bar. Still it's funny coming out of the mouth of a Chinese kid whose just barely old enough to drink. Still this is Detroit and if you grew up in any one of its many hoods, you end up being kind of Black. Still this is Detroit, the Gator Capital, where people spend more money on a pair of stank pink exotic skin shoes to go to a cabaret than their entire food budget for a year. This is Detroit, where people spend more money on wheels and tires for their cars that the cars they put them on are worth, Detroit where a thirty five year old illiterate Black man can live in his mother's basement, sell cocaine by the once, hold a job in a hospital or factory and drive a two year old uninsured luxury SUV over forty thousand miles in a year and never, not ever travel more that five miles from home.This is Detroit and I've managed to get into an exchange with a young southern man who people keep telling me is about to be a superstar rapper, while I get random people drunk on snifters of "The End of the World". A triple fermented Trappist style Canadian ale with more hops than Jellybean Byant's Baby boy. And I'm telling him, "I don't pop corks", as another bottle of beer is uncorked with that cool "hiss" and four new snifter arrives and I continue. "When you get your riches young man invest in urban farms. It's the future. What's your name again Baby. Don't be pissed I can't remember my kids names half the time and We've had this discussion before ain't we?" He's polite and repeats whenever I ask, "T. I. and Yeah Old Man, we have and I did Nig! I took your advice and I'm doing the urban farming thing!" And so of course an entire weeks worth of tips, the days pay from catering and a few bucks on the debit card are spent buying La Fin Du Monde (The End of the World), Wild Turkey and a bunch of unpronouncable African and South American wines. We gotta try them, I mean, Hell! How many nigs do you know that have their own Sommelier? Especially one that lives near Linwood and Davison and has a wine crate stuffed with Tupperware containers of Raw tuna on ice and forbidden black rice in his trunk? A life like that could make a brother never want to leave the hood. Except when someone calls you to say "Dude! I just got a batch of good cheese from my miniature African goats!" or "Mom's cooking Gumbo" or "Gramma's making Monkey Bread" or "I'm starting a Botana", "I just got some white jasmine display tea", "Lumpia, Adobe, West African peanut soup, caribou, black bear, illegal fau grau, mud bugs or conch fritters, the berries are in, we've got those tomatoes you like, raw molasses, snow peas, Belgian Chocolate, White coffee", "Dad is taking a bunch of people hunting for Morels this weekend, I'm going want to ride? "Now some may think it's just the way things are done, because it's the way things have been done so long and others may think it's just odd, because they're not of the G-H-E-T-T-O arts and humanities sub culture, but we commonly have been know to take over a restaurant after business hours or invite restaurantures into our homes, cook, eat, drink, play music, smoke and pass out, get up, eat and drink and leave. Now in the absence of full time service staffs, the pot luck is a vary practical way to entertain, commune and enjoy some lavish life style in what always seems to be tough economic times. We are working artists, cooks, musicians, writers, students and servers. Most of us only have part time blue collar or temporary clerical jobs and few of us are real hustlers. So, we maintain the habit of helping one or more of our friends maintain some insane loft apartment, where out of town visitors can couch surf deluxe.It seems that during some odd transitional phase between the Clock era and the Steam era just before the electric era, when Free Black men were beginning to be somewhat accepted and acknowledge into the newer intellectual and merchant cultures in Western societies, more so in Europe than in America. (I kind of mean this in regards to the fact that sometimes you have to do some serious home work to find out that some of the people doing shit were black. I mean you get to a certain point when nobody cares to make notes about color, but they may make mention of your personal origins or back story. Unfortunately, it doesn't work when they have to point you out in a crowd of identically dressed people of the same gender You gotta know what it's like to be at a formal function with a bunch of black people and somebody says, "There! The American". How can you tell? Okay! I'm I can be an ass. Still I've been places where people have been fighting for hundreds of years and the only way that I've been able to identify on from the other is one group wears skirts and the other group wears trousers. One wears red and the others wear blue or black or green or go shirtless or say "Oye" when the others say "Aye", one says "Skrimps" and the others say "Swimps" and they will correct you if you say "Fro-oyd" instead of "Froo-id"). Anyway, I digress. It would seem that during some point is relatively recent history that while people were making amazing leaps in technologies, industries were killing people by the hundreds and really fucking up the economy and people that were rich yesterday were becoming the employees of their former employees. So to keep up appearances and stuff people took turns playing master and servant. Which after a while became a kinky little sexual fetish amongst the well to do, but only seems to have caught on in black culture as a sort of meaningless and oblique fashion statement, that seems to state only, "I can afford to be fashionable" I don't get the purpose. Anyway a couple of blogs were written about the revitalization of post urban neo-Victorian cultural values, a few years back and now there are some sub culture aesthetic movements emerging that include Clock, Steam and Atomic Punk as their popular names. Now I think that's very cool, because it gives people a name to identify themselves with and makes stuff like Victory gardens the new bling.All of this to announce that a Detroiter is working with MSU to build the biggest urban farm in the world on the East side of the city they're going to start with 70 acres of land to grow veggies and good things for people to eat. Sometime this spring I'm going to celebrate by launching a website named "Pookie and Ray Ray's Quality Garden Tool Emporium, specializing in hoes and bitches and shit. Where a dirty hoe is a happy hoe." It will host a knowledge and wisdom base of recipes, growing tips and an on line shop of garden tools (hoes), pedigree farming dogs (bitches), guano and other organic fertilizers (shit). It is my goal for the second decade of this new millennium to emancipate bastardized words from their offensive bondage and re-establish them with their proper meanings. Just because it'll be fun.What do you think?

garden tools.jpg



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  • Chicago-Midwest
    Hey! I resemble that East Side remark

    It's seemed to work pretty well so far
    here's a link to the Freep's article on it
    and a link to the urban farming website

    Kids and Old Folks make pretty good cops, when they believe something is theirs

    Changes in the East side landscape are sneaking up on you too. Last week Paris of the West, Day before yesterday Motown, Yesterday West World, this morning Bombed out Beirut, tomorrow I'd rather you choose and fail that sit to wait and see.

    One things for sure, if they can't read the instructions they won't be getting the good jobs.
    Another thing that's highly likely, if this guy does well, some "Brother" is going to copy it.

    Vacant land solution?

    Matt Allen, onetime press secretary to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, manages the project as senior vice president of Hantz Farms.

    Allen said Hantz Farms is a good solution for vacant land.

    "What is it worth to the city just sitting there? Nothing," he said. "Part of the approach to this is that, the larger this becomes, the benefit gets greater and greater faster."

    Even as a concept, the idea is controversial.

    Jeffrey Armstrong, dean of the Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, called Hantz Farms "a challenging and exciting opportunity."

    But Rebecca Salminen Witt, president of the nonprofit Greening of Detroit, said small community plots do more good for Detroiters, helping knit communities together.

    "Folks are hoping for, wishing for, looking for a silver bullet to the vast expanses of vacant space that we see in the city," Witt said. "And because of that, they want to say, 'Great, we'll just plunk a couple-of-hundred-acre growing operations here and there.' "

    Allen responded that there ought to be a place for both community gardens and commercial farms in Detroit.

    "There's more than enough land to go around," he said.

    Contact JOHN GALLAGHER: 313-222-5173 or

    A link to the discussion

    Utopia like home
    No Bro', I'm being a Smart Alec with that one
  • I have been skeptical about urban farming--at least for the east side where I live. Seriously, unless patches of cultivated lad were guarded twenty four seven, people around here would yank the carrots right from the ground in the middle of the night. Fences and walls would scarcely stop these desperate and dastardly or just plain obnoxious east siders.

    what will these cooperatives that will plant and water and feed and harvest these farms look like?
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