Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Poetry of Gypsy Jack

This comment just rolled in from a reader named January about the famous Roy "Gypsy Jack" Steffenson Jr., the Wild West rogue of the East Side. Is it just me or is this pure poetry? I hope it's for real, but I guess it doesn't really matter. It just might be the best comment ever on Flint Expatriates:
I 1st met Gypsey Jack in 1992, (I think). Although I had grown-up Dreaming about that Beautiful House's mysteries. My Friend, Florence Boven took mee there 2 meet the famous Gypsey. She had been friends w/Him 4 many years. Played w/Her band @ the House, & indulged in "Festivities" @ His bar also. (No 1 has mentioned Gypseys after hour bar located in the basement). I cried w/My Mom called Mee 2 inform Mee of Jack's passing. & 2 day as I read the memories I cry again. But not 4 sadness. 4 the Joy of the Memories.

But, Flo said: January, U want 2 meet
Gypsey Jack & go N2 His Home??? Well, We'll go. This afternoon after supper. But We must bring something of "Homage" w/Us 4 Him. Florance rummaged through some things & decided on a "Funky" wrieth you'd hang on your front door @ Christmas. We had recently saved it from a trash can. I thought that was a weierd way 2 meet some-1. You know, giving garbage 2 a person U have been intrigued w/4-ever. Hahaha.... But Flo Knew Her stuff.

That w/the Best Day N My life. Getting 2 meet
Gypsey Jack & being invited N2 His Home. I got the Ultimate Tour. That w/when He had His Black flat-bed truck, w/the red rim's & the smoke-stacks.

He sung Happy Birthday w/
Mee & My girlfriend Jennifer & My Daughter Aura. (She w/1yr.) @ "Ol Franks Bar on franklin ave. Gypsey just happened 2 B there. My step-father, Mike, says Gypsey used 2 ride His Harley down Lewis st. wearing Only His CowBoy Hat & Boots!!

4 All Those who Looted His place after He passed I hope it w/2 keep His Memory Alive. Because I know that B4 Any of Us were informed of His death His surviving family had already STOLEN anything the market considered valuable.

Wee Miss U
Gypsey Jack

But wee will Never 4


  1. That should be set to music. Awesome. That's Flint right there.

  2. January has a beautiful literary voice. The authenticity of the voice matters more than the truth of the story because we know what is meant.

  3. That is exactly how I remember him.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.