March 20, 2013

Poem of the Week: Making America Strong


Fred Voss

We worked nights as machine operators
at Goodstone Aircraft Company, where we made parts
for the Air Force's new bomber, the K-20.
In the parking lot, before work and during lunch break,
we drank and smoked dope and snorted chemicals.
At work we wore sunglasses
and danced in front of our machines.
We picked up bomber parts and blew through them
as if they were saxophones.
We stalked each other with squirt guns,
screaming and laughing and staggering.
We played with the overhead crane,
hoisting each other's tool boxes to the ceiling.
We unscrewed knobs from machine handles
and threw them around like baseballs.
Our foreman snuck drinks
from the bottle of vodka in his toolbox,
and paced about the shop in a daze.
We respected our foreman.
He'd given us some valuable advice.
"Whatever you do," he'd warned us over and over, "don't join
the Air Force and fly a K-20. It's gonna CRASH."


 [While the idea of shop-floor slackery as an essential component of revolutionary strategy has always been a little over the top, the fact remains that it does embody a spirit of resistance to wage slavery. That's probably why many working class poets, like Fred Voss, write about it. Plus which, it's fun--to do and to read about.]

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