Mary Slocum, 10/3/2011

Current Occupation: retired social worker

Former Occupation: 17 year shipyard electrician

Contact Information: A poet since she was 14, Mary Slocum was the last winner of the Portland Artquake competition in the 90s and a winner of Washington State Poetry Assn. humorous poetry competition in the 90s. Mary Slocum has been published in Stanza, NW Literary Review, Upper Left Edge, Tradeswomen’s Network Newsletter, Black Cat, Portland Alliance, Work and Carcenogenic. She enjoys reading more than publishing and has also appeared with a comedy collective. Presently working on a complete collection and some of which is on her website:


October Rage

In October of 2010

Way back on page C8 in 16 lines

The Oregonian newspaper reported,

actually the Associated Press reported,

in Silverton Oregon

a 33 year old Man poured gasoline

on an 87’ Thunderbird.

Torched it cause it

belonged to the boss

Oregonian thought

it was insignificant,

depended on the AP

to report the details.

Boss mourning loss of Thunderbird

Man mourning the loss

of his job and we all mourn

in our own way,

but anger seems to be risin

all around and I wonder if

as a little boy, this Man

was taught “an eye for an eye”.

It’s a small town,

many people musta known him.

It’s a restaurant

Probably not makin it in this


County charged the Man

with arson, mischief and reckless burning

What the hell is reckless burning?

Roget says there are 3 types of reckless

Careless, unconcerned, and rash

He cared a great deal, concerned

that he was fired

Rash? Not like bumps on the skin

But defiant disregard for danger

Or consequences rash.

Burned the fence too, rash.

(Don’t think he meant to do that.)

See the look on the firemen’s faces

when they were told

theMan was fired and then he fired

the car. Imagine the Man

released cause the jail was overcrowded.

Imagine the Man who has no job

to make the money to pay his fine.

Imagine the man entering his favorite bar,

smell the smoke from the

cigarettes outside as he enters to

cheers and applause from all the

other unemployed.


Sunday in the USA

They’re working overtime,
finally paid what they are worth,
that living wage they heard about
and the taste of the hours fills their belly
pushing beyond a forty hour wall.
The Russian next to me
Has died and gone to capitalism.
I have died and gone
To sheetrock and repairs.
The guy working next door
has died and gone to work
cause staying home with his wife
has become too unbearable.
One guy’s recovering,
traded one addiction for another.
One has too many children
by too many women
and he knows this is his money.
We’re all here on a Sunday,
not that any of us would be caught dead
in a church but
we’re all here and
the altar is here too.
back to WORK
  1. Good job by Mary Slocum, captures the tempo and tenor of these times. Some one needs to give a damn about the have nots trying to get by in what used to be a great nation. More poetry of this type and quality is surely needed and I am sure, will be forthcoming as our used-to-be empire slides down the hills of time.

  2. This is fine work done for those who wouldn’t document torment in writing and this work speaks to all of us honestly, brutal and somehow funny as hell…if indeed hell is funny. I’ll be finding out. The humor raises us from the pity that we have learned to hate. and I applaud the man setting fire to a Thunderbird..I can’t say that without the FBI taking an interest but it’s important to be vigilant and speaking out as long as we are allowed..Sometimes we are blind and deaf as the tv tells us what is of interest and what we should be concerned about..Great writing . Verlenan Orr

  3. […] day, boys and ghouls. October is here and we’re kicking the month off with a steel toed boot. Mary Slocum explores “the new normal economy” in two intense, defiant poems. Like this:LikeBe the […]

  4. […] out Ms. Slocum’s past poetry here documenting the vindictive rage of a wronged employee, here where she hangs with schizophrenics, […]

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