Monday, July 7, 2008

White Lite

Posted By on Mon, Jul 7, 2008 at 2:27 PM

So you may have already heard about Jack White's poem, which he wrote about Detroit because he felt the need to clarify his public position on the city, or something. But seriously, here's how it starts:
I have driven slow,
three miles an hour or so
through Highland Park, Heidelberg, and the Cass Corridor.
Not exactly "Howl" (though the repetitive structure and "been there, seen that" perspective certainly seem designed to bring to mind that poem's first movement). Criticize Meg's drumming all you want, but without a backbeat, Jack can't seem to keep a meter, a rhyme scheme or even a verb tense going for more than a few arbitarily broken lines. Even stripped of their musical context, the lyrics to "Icky Thump" blow this sentimental tripe out of the water. Then there's the shit that just doesn't make any sense:
Detroit, you hold what one's been seeking,
Holding off the coward-armies weakling,
Always rising from the ashes
not returning to the earth.
Never mind that the stanza switches awkwardly from iambs to trochees and back—that's a real cowboy move if you can pull it off—what the hell is Detroit holding that's "holding off the coward-armies weakling"? What the hell is (are?) "coward-armies weakling"? (Maybe that's a Red Wings reference I'm not getting. I don't follow hockey.) The last Raconteurs album seemed to be written in English, but I'm not sure this poem is. Jack, you're a rock star. Please don't write publish any more poems. What, do you think you're Jewel or something?

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