(Another) Love Song for Ypsilanti

Monday Afternoon

This past weekend was the Ypsi Heritage Festival. I wandered through, and I don’t know how representative it was of the Ypsilanti I know and love, but somewhere along the way I happened upon some remembrances of my own. I was house sitting in a beautiful old house in the center of town, and walking two happy dogs through the perfect late summer weather, past all the students moving in and out of apartments and houses. (All of this, of course, part of the elaborate scheme to procrastinate packing up my own life.)

I moved to Ypsi eight years ago. I moved away for a year, but still returned on weekends. Now I’m moving again and putting an ocean between us, and although I love this place I don’t know when or if I’ll live here again. I love you, Ypsilanti, with the most nostalgic sort of love before saying goodbye to you.

Your rubber duck races and drunk parades.
Your beautiful old houses hiding behind beautiful old trees or beneath college party debris.
Your fairy doors and knick-knacked lawns.
Your drag shows and midnight marching bands.
Your smoke filled living rooms and bountiful dispensaries.
Your worn wood floors where we danced or cried.
Your stained glass and your seedy diners.
Your Timely Warnings To The Community.
Your poetry on paper or on porches or on hazard signs.
Your Halloween streets that we sailed down in our cardboard Viking craft.
Your river too dirty to swim in, that we watched from the riverbank, gleaming in moonlight.
Your river too dirty to swim in, that we swam in and survived.
Your cramped dorm rooms & the tree outside our window.
Your beds that I buried in books and abandoned for various couches.
Your friendly neighborhood public nudity.
Your expensive caffeine and your cheap booze.
Your strangers who always smile and nod and who sometimes steal cars or televisions.
Your 3am bus stop serenades.
Your Januaries muffled in snow and cardboard box sleds.
Your night picnics with chinese food and cheap wine.
Your amiable police force who were not always present for crisis but who hung out to chat at our sidewalk party.
Your obscenely proud water tower and its small stone crosses.
Your rooftops where we screamed at the sky.
Your park where my father proposed to my mother.
Your same park where men put on their pants outside of dark cars.
Your sandwiches and the people who loved them.
Your local news rife with typos and familiar faces.
Your shady hotels that you painted over with bright blue.
Your Melonfests, Elvisfests, and Beerfests (but not Satanfests).
Your Naked Ballerina near the fountain.
Your gunshots and your fireworks (& how you always keep us guessing)
Your dollar tamales and the mariachi band practicing in the basement.
Your puddlejumping sidewalks in February.
Your beautiful student housing and your ugly new mansion.
Your cemeteries for dearly departed, for pets, & for picnics.
Your not-haunted house on the hill and your trees asking to be climbed.
Your crazy neighbors crashing through bushes.
Your parking-structure venues for footraces or for opera.
Your streets we walked barefoot for weeks (though we knew better.)
Your happy dogs dragging their owners down the sidewalk and howling at sirens.
Your bicycles and espresso and airshows and textbooks and church steeples.

en route

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