The Blue Collar Review is a quarterly journal of poetry and prose published by Partisan Press. Our mission is to expand
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At 3:30 am, a trucker from Maine orders two eggs
sunny side up over corn beef hash
then adds I'd rather eat my eggs off of you though.
Before the slip is up, the order is already cooked. How can you let them talk to you like that?
Asif asks as he looks through me.
Over the summer, when Asif had a night off
we went bowling, split a pitcher of beer,
ended up on our backs in a field, looking up
at the stars. Asif manipulated my fingers
into a pointer and directed me across the sky,
one constellation at a time.
Without responding, I pick up the trucker's plate.
Corona Borealis, Hercules, Scorpius,
I travel out of the kitchen and into the
dining room's solar system where gravity
glues us together: Bob, the trucker, and the table
of drunk college students all held in orbit
around this diner as if it is a blinding sun.
When Jeanie left the breakroom -- in a huff --
then Ernie humped the table edge which, seconds
earlier, her ass had pressed against,
I laughed along with all the guys.
When Harvey licked the breasts of Miss July
then smacked Dem tits be finger lickin' good,
I laughed so hard I nearly peed.
When Joe, our local's president, to strike
a blow against New Jersey Bell, branded
its CEO "a pussy" then -- because
he noticed me -- explained Don't get me wrong,
I love pussy but I don't want to be
one -- grin -- just fuck as many as I can.
I laughed and laughed until my sides were split.
My first encounter at fourteen
caddying with our local layabouts.
Think October, frosted greens,
the comforting comfort
of the country club life.
Socks, plastic bags and socks
fought the chill biting through
my almost-Keds high-tops
and kept my feet mostly dry.
What he did, I cannot recall --
a doctor, lawyer or corporate chief.
He wanted his balls washed at every hold.
He sliced a drive, hooking it
knee deep in a water trap.
"Go in and get it." And I, "Like hell."
No tip for eighteen holes
with an asshole. The caddy master,
a guy trying to make his own nut,
tossed me a pay envelope.
"Go home and don't come back."
A Line From Rimbaud
We can take it out
on our wives, our
teenage sons, the neighbor's
We can speed, get
drunk, break glass,
smoke three cigarettes in a
We can sabotage a
fun at a spineless
But how does one confront
a Battenberg, a Welch,
Steve Miller, or Dick Dauch
They announce to the press
in the nineteenth green
we intend to cut thousands of
As if a job didn't
mean a husband, a father,
a wife, a mother, a home, a
We won't win at the bargaining table
where negotiators on both sides all
wear ties and play golf
We won't win in court where judges
dine elbow to elbow with donors who
pay more per plate than we make in a
We can only win in the streets
with hands and arms and legs and feet.
We can't win unless we beat the bastards
Then maybe we can talk sense.
Then maybe they will listen.
But first we have to teach them a
Arm yourselves to the teeth.
Abandon the hideouts.
Take the war to the
Make the sons of bitches pay.
We have nothing left
to lose but our
"Now is the Time of the Assassins."
The Stealth Poor
There's a huge, deep holler
Now between the rich and the rest of us
You know a holler -- biggest ever
Place between mountains of wealth
And mountains of suffering poverty
More of us becoming the stealth
Poor. We go to work every day we can, act
Like we're still doin' all right. Lyin,' plain fact.
Have to leave our kids by themselves
Forget homework I gotta go get food, man
Somethin' at least looks and tastes like
Meat -- at least once a day on $8-hour
Jobs. Ain't goin' nowhere but more sour
On that treadmill to lifelessness and pour
Out all that pissed-off lifelessness
Onto this page and hope I get enough out.
They would come from miles away
For the free meals at the old church
A long line waiting
Not all drunks
Many made crazy by lack of sleep
No jobs or bad jobs
A growing community
A line spiraling back
Into the rain spattered street
A mother shielding her impatient kids
Mittens and scarves
Bunched energy throughout the crowd
Wind up from the lake
Yeah, god damn it, a biting wind
This is straight out of Dickens
Red is for anger
And warm peppered soup
Quite cover the need
Rethinking the Revolution
I have long believed,
and had it on good authority
that the Working Class
was the driving force of history,
that together, organized and united
we would lead
overthrowing and replacing the
dictatorship of bosses and bankers,
of owners and landlords
with real democracy --
a shared world
where no one went hungry.
Lately, I've come to think that
may need to be led
by those of us discarded --
the out of work
no longer cowed
by management and bosses
free to speak without fear -- having given up
looking for nonexistent jobs
and unwilling to take
the most degrading work
which doesn't even cover
Those of us locked out
with time on our hands,
and you know what they say
about "idle hands . . ."
Those of us with
nothing left to lose
including our fear --
and a world to reclaim.
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