Fall 2022


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.
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Poetry Samples from the Latest Issue

Someone's Gotta Do It

Wield that long-handled rake
to level the boiling asphalt
burning through your souls
and filling your lungs with
carcinogenic crud that sends you
home at night coughing and wheezing
and smelling like your jobsite
no matter how hard you scrub your skin,
which your wife caresses ever so gently
because of the blisters on your forearms
as she asks you again to find another job --
then falls asleep by your side until
morning when you slip from bed,
pull on your stinky clothes and scarred
boots, stop at KwikTrip for a coffer and roll,
and just beat your foreman to the parking lot
your crew should finish today so tomorrow,
thanks to your sort, shoppers can effortlessly
wheel their groceries to their cars
while you're sweating away elsewhere,
smoothing a bit the lives of others who can be
damn glad there's someone like you
willing to do it.

      Darrell Petska


Straight Pay


I get paid hourly
Operating machines, seen by my supervisors
Overlooking me

They say quality over quantity
As I check and load my components
To make my quota

Profit is so important
But it doesn't come to me
Those who make more money
Manage their time daily
Some even have sway
In the community
But when things go wrong
They can always blame me

They should have their
Own standards to keep
With so many levels of management

They are more protected by
Assets, laws and education
I don't like feeling
Like a second class citizen

For now, I have to stay
And even draw from my IRA
While they think they have made it.

      Steven Pryce


Walking the Yard

A parking lot
Divides
Corporate from the garage
Where the trucks and cranes
And the saws and jackhammers,
All the demolition tools of the trade
Are kept
And the accountants housed.

Because accountants
are just factotums like
Gear boys
Garage jockeys
Hewers and sawers
Drivers and operators.

Corporate faces the street.
The garage abuts the 5 freeway.
Loud when it isn't loud
Louder when it's loud
No silence.

1,000 Days Without an Accident
reads the sign at the entrance
Where corporate can see it.

In theory, like an old baseball stadium
The placard numbers could be flipped.
In case there is a mishap.
In theory

We don't discuss accidents.
I did 378 days,
5 accidents
The numbers creaked and split,
But did not change.

A thin yellow striped walkway
Marks the only safe passage
Through the parking lot
From corporate to the garage.

The drivers and gear boys
And garage jockeys
Mind it well.
Steel-toed only outside the lines.

Corporate staggers across in high heels
And designer shoes
Wherever across the borders.
Trampling the borders.

We don't discuss borders.

Who carries the boxes?
Who carries the load?

       Joe Hilliard


Exile

excerpt

Exile
from the isthmus
South of Mexico
cuts lettuce

Peeks out from kitchen
Compares face
of a tall man at the window table
to one he saw
at an army base
near his village

Remembers hiding in the woods
A long ride in a truck
Walking through desert
with his family
A house with friendly strangers
in Arizona, near border

His ears
still remember gunshots
Inner eye
searchlights

Curls fingers in
Protects his hands from cuts

      Jerry Pendergast


Essential Personnel

When they told us we were vital,
had to work during the pandemic,
we felt proud, identified in the press
as heroes.

We worked closely together,
our job necessary to keep
the economy going, society
uninterrupted.

Several of us got sick;
a few of us died.
We washed our hands,
wore masks.

Now the worst is over.
People have had their shots.
But we have to keep working
without sick leave.

       Charles Rammelkamp


The Cold Creeps


The cold creeps
Through and around the seams
The cold creeps
From heavens the sun can't warm
Up from the river that mourns
The end of easy summer
The cold overcomes compassion
Culture and politics
Becoming victims
Of fast spreading fascism
Furthered and sped by Joe Manchin
Can't fund care for kids
With even tiny tax cuts on the wealthy
Prioritizing billionaires' money
Over children's safety.

     Stewart Acuff

Time Loop Hell


Round and round
we go

the endless replay
of work, bills, drudgery
and big money politics
Here we are
      again
sorting through the meaningless minutia
            of another filthy
selection game
      trapped on the broken ride
of this
                carnal circus
of false competitive insanity
hegemonic nightmares
         of war and toxic technology
riding out the tide
of our own destruction
            in alienated isolation
When together
               we still have the power
to awake to better posssibilities --
a world shared in solidarity
                 if we want it.

All of us or none.

     Ewan Meigh

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