workzine

Mary Slocum, 9/3/2012

Current Occupation: retired social worker

Contact Information: 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, Uphook and Carcenogenic. She enjoys reading more than publishing and has also appeared with a comedy collective. She has just published a complete collection called GREATEST HITS: 60 YEARS OF LOOKIN with Dancing Moon Press (order here!). Her website: www.maryslocum.com

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Ode to Guerrilla Joe

ON LABOR DAY 1993 GUERRILLA JOE AND HIS BAND OF WORKING OUTLAWS PLACED A 700 POUND BALL AND CHAIN AROUND THE ANKLE OF THE 43 FOOT HIGH HAMMERING MAN SCULPTURE IN FRONT OF THE SEATTLE ART MUSEUM. THE MUSEUM EVENTUALLY REMOVED IT IN SPITE OF PUBLIC OPPINION, UNDER THE COVER OF DARKNESS.

THE TRIUMVIRATE THAT RECOGNIZED ART

DIVERTED THEIR EYES

As MEN HAMMERED ALL OVER THE GLOBE

SMALL PECKING, LARGE SLEDGING

MEN MADE ART, WERE ART

AND THEY HAMMERED AT THE WORK,

IN THE WEST, IN THE EAST, ACROSS OCEANS

THE HAMMERING MEN HAMMERED

AS HAMMERING MEN EVERYWHERE APPLAUDED,

REFLECTING LIFE, REFLECTING OUR LIVES,

TO CELEBRATE UNDERSTANDING

THAT EVEN THE LEAST EDUCATED OF US SAW

ON THAT LABOR DAY 93′ THIS WORLD HAMMERING

BROKE THROUGH TO REAL ART

BROKE THROUGH THE PRICETAG

HANGING OVER THE COUCH

To MATCH LIVES THAT WERE ART

To MATCH WHAT WAS IN HEARTS

OF HAMMERING MEN

LET IT BE KNOWN IN 93′

ART BECAME REAL LIFE

AS VALID AS A PAYCHECK

ON SEATTLE STREETS

HAMMERING MEN REVEALED

FOR ALL US HAMMERING MEN

THE BALL AND CHAIN THAT CONNECTS

ALL HAMMERING MEN

AND THE EMPEROR WAS NAKED

THE TRIUMVIRATE DIVERTED THEIR EYES

ON LABOR DAY, ART REVEALED ITSELF.

#

 Watching an Industry Die

Picking bones and hanging on

Bits stuck between teeth and craw

Work coughed up

In death throes

The carcass

Heaves and writhes

Under the weight

Of a monetary system

Of dollars and scents.

It stinks, stinks

Leaving nothing but rotten

Down and dirty

Uncrafted craftsmanship

Get it in

Get it out

So it can go overseas

The insignificant cog

Ground down

Down until the nub is showing

Knuckles ache for real work

Work fed now and then

Like the treat

For a hungry dog

Just enough

To keep him hungry

Juice a memory

Of sweet satisfaction

And pride

Waiting for something

To break down

In the backyard

Something that needs fixing

Waiting for

Unemployment running out

Time running out

Praying for a contract

From a corporate big wig

Who doesn’t give a damn

If you loose your house

Loose your self-respect

loose this battle

Doesn’t give a damn

If you’re satisfied

If you’re valuable

The work trickles

As you finger the pump handle

In this drought

Reduce expenses

Fight depression

Watching, watching

For years

Taken other jobs

That felt empty

Worked hard to find this

Worked hard to keep this

They got you again

By the neck, by the balls

Got you all right

Not letting go

Someone’s gonna have to

Ride this one out

Gonna go back to school

Soon as there’s enough work

To pay for it

Someone’s gonna have to

Ride this one out

Show them it’s a craft

Not easily replaceable

Someone’s gonna have to

Show them work is more

Than moving stacks of paper

Work is more than a paycheck

Someone’s gonna have to show them

A voice needs to speak out

Sing the anger

Sing the frustration

Feel the thing they’re taking away

The thing they won’t replace

Standing here

Clenching fists

Choking on Loss

Watching this industry die.

#
back to WORK

go pin yourself
then tweet about it
and tell all your friends

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