Favorites / J. H. Danville

“Gun/Shy” by Detroit’s own Jim Daniels is remarkable poetic storytelling. It opens with a description of him being held up at gunpoint at 16 while working in Warren. From there it takes the reader on a journey through growing up, growing older and reflecting on the world. “My whole life, I’ve been one letter off, for better, / for worse.” Daniels compares his life to other kids from the same part of town: “…we worked at the same factories/made the same money.” He often draws back to the imagery and experience of being held up, using it to reflect on his American experience. The last stanza shakes me every time, both for its content and its poetic elegance.
J. H. Danville