The Blue Collar Review is a quarterly journal of poetry and prose published by Partisan Press. Our mission is to expand
and promote a progressive working class vision of culture that inspires us and that moves us forward
as a class. The work presented is only a sampling from the magazine. Subscriptions are $20.00 yearly, or $7.00 for a single issue. Subscribe using the on-line link or send checks to Partisan Press P.O. 11417 Norfolk, VA 23517.
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I once was in charge of them, thick pillows
stuffed with grape, cherry, apricot jam
from Evelyn Albert's secret cookbook.
Every Friday, Instead of manning the front counter,
I'd carry the metal pastry syringe to the dingy back lab,
the cauldrons and spillage of Albert's Bakery. Work
alchemy, not with golden dust but clouds
of sugar, heat forming pearls of sweat on my arms,
six doughnuts across the tray, six down.
I'd hold and inject each confection as if it were
an infant, careful not to let newborn rolls ooze.
This was the best job: friends, neighbors happy
whenever they bought a box of doughnuts.
Now, when patients reveal an untimely death
in their family or psychic wounds so deep
they can't bear the emptiness, I wish I could offer
something more satisfying than nods or psycho-
social theory. Stand again in my white uniform,
frosting-stained, gloved, lifting each sweet pastry,
needle in, tissue ready for wrapping,
eight cc's of jelly carefully infusing each little cake.
When the motor on the ancient
cement truck quit turning its tub,
Somebody had to crawl inside
the half-filled steel cavity
and stand knee deep
with a water hose and a shovel
and scrape the sides of the tub
to keep the aggregate moving
down the chute to the wheelbarrows
so that the truck could be emptied
before things dried up inside.
As I was the youngest and least
experienced of the crew, I was
also the least valuable, and all
the while kept hoping that the tub
wouldn't suddenly start up again
and drown me in a slurry of gravel.
You never forget being expendable
And later, even if you can turn
such moments into poetry,
you'll remember how necessary it felt
to slow the process of hardening.
The (Baby) Gig (Economy)
Sticky Stick Special:
Sugar Baby, 25 Seeks Sugar Daddy Arrangement, No Age Limit (help a gal make her student loan payments)
German Couple Seeks Wisconsin Baby Mama:
50K Lump Sum for 9 Month's Labor (pay down your student/auto/mortgage debt now)
Attention Baby Boomers Seeking Ca$h:
Funeral Troupe of Per Diem Players (pay off your student loans once & for all)
"Classy" means rich, but aren't we a class too?
Class warfare is waging; they're coming for you
Identity politics, but not based on class
For that would risk uniting the people en masse
Middle class, middle class: They don't want them to fall
But all in one class is the same as no class at all
Production is up, wages are down
How the hell am I supposed to get by in the town?
They tell us to blame those who don't work enough
That line is pure weakness; reality is tough
A country built on hard work and grit
You really expect us to believe all this shit?
The votes are coming in the wrong way
They are voting to deport.
They will smile at us from neighbor pews
Right up until La Migra comes.
Then, they will look the other way,
Towards the altar, the cross,
Will they confess about it
And feel better?
Tomorrow we start selling
What we can, and talk to your cousin
About getting Junior and Tina
When they take us.
Negra, it's happening.
They are choosing hate
Hard to let go
200 years of power.
Damn, back to the rancho.
What the hell am I going to do in that town?
I left when I was ten!
I knew the blancos were paranoid,
It's OK to mow their lawn and
Wash their dishes, but
Don't walk into their barrio
Or eat at their restaurants.
Damn, like a firing squad.
FL, always down first.
Bunch of mojito drinking racists.
Negra, did you know tumbleweed
Is an invasive species from Russia?
Atomic Dream Poem
I dreamed a rabbit with clouded eye,
A rose whose bee had passed it by.
And I dreamed a kestrel
Blinded on the wing like it's sparrow—
A crumpled, spasm thing.
I dreamed a man who wouldn't
See what he had done,
Who cut down the trees and sterilized the sea.
And I dreamed this man had loosed
The light of many suns
That made the rabbit blind,
That made the bee, the rose
The kestrel— mere
Echoes in the mind.
For the turning wheel, the tightening screw, the vanishing light,
the moon above the rising sea, for the dry lake,
For the rivers of anger, towers on fire, keyless locks, and crop-
less fields, for the ravishing of the rabbits hedge, and the bird-
less nest, for the silent juke box in this endless night,
For the golden calf and the mad dance of political dogs, howling
in ignorance into the teeth of time,
For blood money, and the relentless tide of human suffering,
for the profits of war, and the desperate refugee reaching for a
boneless hand on the open sea,
For the old hum of we the people, for the spiritual violence of
manifest destiny, for the burning forests of moral decay,
For the clack clack clack of the star spangled banner,
for the legless and armless marching band,
For the deluge of injustice raining like a hammer,
Where in this wilderness of savage capitalism, where in the
of human rights and private interest,
where is the path to peace and social justice?
Beyond denial we are angry,
beyond anger we are lost in the acceptance of our inevitable
Dancing at World's End
because history is stubborn & unkind &
because our urns & gravesites grow hungry &
because we make love in the crosshairs of missiles &
because the sun grows angry teeth &
because the wrath is bellicose & the power of
the very few remains smug within it's shell &
because the eyes of the very many refuse to open
& because i report to you today the bombing of memory
& because today there are no ancient faces & the builders
of bronze & stone have lost their legacy &
today the trees come back to haunt us in their printed hands &
today out of respect for my sanity i withdraw my gaze
upon the Big Picture &
because the angels have gone crazy &
timecapsules are fueled by their own feral shadows &
because the human soul remains still eager beneath
the avalanche &
i hold to baby's little toe as if it were god's &
the human infant remains whole within its yearning
& because i refuse to accept the principles of doubt
& because i resist baring my flesh to the claws of
my personal prophecies &
their personal prophecies
i leave these words to you.
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