Summer 2018

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
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Poetry Samples from the Latest Issue

The Cog in the Machine

I hardface worn Cogs
It's a living.

I don't know where the cogs go.
I heard maybe a molybdenum mine.

But I don't know.

A forklift delivers them
in a tub to my area.

I never see the forklift driver.
I don't lift my hood.
I sit in the same position
for hours.

I am worn,
my face hardened.

      Burt Raabe

Piece Work

They pay you
by the piece
not by the hour

time becomes the sum
of what is stacked
or tossed aside

hands become implements
working the clock against
tool and machine

turning time into increments
of raw material shaped
into object and form

mating man to function
and machine becoming one in same
stealing time from life

       David Sermersheim


Friend in Peaceable
has an arms collection
Rugers and Sig Sauers and
street sweeper AR-15s he doesn't have
NRA decals on his van
thinks they are juvenile
but rather has decals from the arms companies
he believes them more impressive
his AR-15 is shortened
maybe for concealment
in your raincoat and the
grandfather clock by his front door?
It is an actual rifle locker in disguise.
I ask him his wife's opinion
and she's OK with it
she also has an AR-15
baby blue color and
the local police chief
does he know about the armory?
and sure he does
he is fine with it
every one with a rifle
is actually one of his deputies
that is his opinion
course friend admits
some of the people
in his vigilance group
are total nutcakes

       Michael Casey

Irregular Pulse Beat Sonnet
To every politician taking donations from the NRA, shame on you.
   -- Emma Gonzales, Marjory Stoneman Douglas student

The relentless drone of the daily news,
sends the pulse racing as homes that swelled
with laughter weep now from joists and beams,
sun washed rooms dark behind drawn curtains.

In days of the dead, the gunman cackled
loading, reloading, riveting bodies
already downed, bullet after bullet.
Bodies halted on the nightclub dance floor,

layered into each other under desks,
eyes locked on a fuzzed movie screen,
small hands frozen counting butterflies,
bodies halted at prayer with those of us

who remain alive and breathe. Hearts aching,
our own bodies pulse
            and pulse
                   and breathe.

       Andrena Zawinski

For School Children

Let there be Crayons Notebooks Pencil Paints
Pens Paper,    Oh let there be
enough paper to make mistakes
to invent
Let there be chalk
because chalk forgives
Let there be eyeglasses when they
are needed and ways for blind
and deaf children, arms
or ramps, shoes or tooth care

Let there be soap and ways
to wash clothes    let there be clothes

Let there be warmth so working fingers
may not freeze and light so that
animals become words and words animals

Let there be roofs and places that
serve as schools and
ears that hear and eyes that see children
and serve others    learn
moments that serve
as the best sort of schools
and not just those reminding
enforcing how not to be where
not to go what not to do

Let there be enough quiet    enough
sleep enough food, food and good water
not this child not that child
locked out of what is good
what may be useful to be learned

May no bomb fall on any day
that any school is in session
any learning being to be done, whether a
first step or a last and
let certain curfews and cages be damned

Let us who have been taught harshly
harshness     spare the child
spoil the rod.

      Mary Franke

Field Investigation: I Study the Soil Profile

I entered the canyon deeply
To find out the structure of the river basin --
Wealth increased six-fold
And the people got poorer

I dissect the erosion
Weathering and leaching --
In such a strong recovery
The unemployment rising year by year

I noticed the fault
And the significant infiltration
From the trail of prosperity
Until the summit of the crisis

I studied the soil profile
And distribution of surface runoff
I carefully depicted -
Dissolution on one side, suffering on the other.


Bears Ears National Monument Lament

We're the First People who settled the land
Yet the last to get the right to vote.
Our code talkers outwitted your foes.
We fight the wars but never gloat.

We plant crops of beans, squash, and corn
Hunt deer, fowl, and fish the streams.
We thank the spirit of each beast we eat
while white folks make land claims.

The army herded us in 1864
Killed our cattle, ruined farms and homes.
Forced a march of four hundred miles.
We buried a third with heart-sick moans.

        We redden the soil, we Navajo:
        Our blood shall run like a lava flow.

We worship our gods despite genocide.
In each generation we cherish the land,
We live between four sacred hills
Honoring the earth with hearts and hands.

We revere Mother Earth, her waters, her air.
Our women weave rugs with nature's dyes
And fashion beauty from silver mines,
Handing down history barren of lies.

Invading again, you treat us like dust
you profane Bears Ears to drill for oil
your rigs will unearth our ancestors' bones
As they blacken the air and taint the soil.

        We redden the soil, we Navajo:
        Our blood shall run like a lava flow.

      Kit Zak

The Sin of the Sin

The explosions came one after another
Mine disasters come one after another
Man, Chinese men
Migrant workers who were driven out of their homes
by the "three rural" policy
To a place where the sun is invisible
Squeezed by the blood of capital
Life is no longer the flesh and blood
In effect, equivalent to the parts inside the machine
The Chinese government and officials
Put more renminbi into the research and governance of gas
Confronting the relationship between capital and labor
But turning a blind eye to it
This cluster of blinded politicians
Scepter firmly in the hands of "capital"
It is these culprits who now make evil

      Liang Yan-Xuan

Ballad of the Ticking Clocks

The tick, the tock     the clocks beat on
Redwood cottonwood willow oak the quaking aspen
Electric gossamer specters lace the Great Pyramid

Lightning flashes     Spartan fossils take their stand Meteors fall
A kingbird rules     a hermit thrush dies
A blue jay slays     a killdeer survives
The ancient albatross the bearded vulture
The hungry woodpecker attacks his drum
The terrified termite wiggles
Fine glass in the cupboard trembles.

The tick    the tock
On this day
Ice ticks southward in a sea of boiling water
Tidal waves breaking
Wildfire torches light up the peaks of the Greater Sierras
A nebulae of stars
A nova transcendence
Wind across unwritten pages
Ghost of Dancing
Ghost of Sages.

The tick    the tock
The planet fades    we do not.
We forget    we forget it all
What remains is everything   &   nothing,   nothing   at   all
but, unlike Apollinaire,
I will not grow weary of this ancient world.


Nostalgia is only Amnesia turned around
    -- Adrienne Rich

Transformed in death
the right wing, war promoting, bomb loving
torture supporting, health care hating hypocrite
is anointed hero and patriot
suddenly loved by conservatives and liberals alike
a love-fest of public opponents like old friends
speech after endless hypocritical oration
in a sickening parade
of cynical opportunism
and amnesiac adoration --
a foul air that soon will pass.

A deafening silence yet persists in the wake
of our much greater loss --
The death of one who consistently stood
against the monstrosity of war, the disgrace
of racism and the wealth that impoverishes.

No accolades or flags flown low, no coverage
or speeches -- but we the people remember --

Congressman and Peoples advocate
Ron Dellums


      Al Markowitz

Everything Must End, Salton Sea Beach

Rust stains on metal
cabinet from porous tar
paper roof looks like
blood splatter stains,
as do those on cinder
block walls script written
in black paint phrases:
Everything Must End
What is your legacy?
Eat the rich --
Who wouldn't be caught
dead here.
You can smell the rot.

      Alan Catlin

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