Contest Winner

Working People's Poetry Competition


A Working Man's Son

I'm as simple as an anvil,
But complex as a clock;
I've walked the halls of government,
And worked the New York docks.

My father was a railroad man
Until the day he died;
He never made the middle class
Though Lord how hard he tried.

He hoped someday I'd do the things
That he could never do;
I'd be a man of wealth and fame
Who folks would look up to.

His years of honest toil and sweat
Never yielded any wealth.
The bitter harvest of his work
Was the ruin of his health.

He tried to make me understand;
To make life's meaning clear.
In the failing dusk he told me
About his dreams and fears.

In attempting to express his thoughts
He seldom found the words.
I wish that he had lived to know
That what he meant -- I heard.

              Frank Flavin

Runner Up


I was the last one on payroll
when it was time to tear the biodiesel plant down.

Twenty-five good people paid and gone
dozens of interns with sweet meal tickets punched.

Everyone was off to high-flying jobs
everyone was making bank.

I got the rancid grease and tanks of solid goo.

It was bittersweet
tearing out pipes we had fitted ourselves
cutting welds we had laid down like a stack of dimes.

We dreamt of fueling our community with waste vegetable oil
my job was to sell those dreams for scrap.

When it was all over, I ended up with a thousand pounds of
pipe fittings, flanges, nipples, and ball valves.

That was my tip.

Some say it's a shame.
Others think it is fitting . . .

      Lyle Estill

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