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Working on the Bottom

Paul Lojeski: once in the dark Vermont winter, on a Manpower gig, digging trenches in the frozen dirt to lay cable for a new cable company. paid almost nothing.
digging trenches

working on the bottom,

once in the dark Vermont
winter, on a Manpower gig,
digging trenches in the frozen
dirt to lay cable for a new cable
company. paid almost nothing
I remember the boss man
yelling at me to get moving
and the pick axe slipping
from my grip as I walked away,
feeling the stares of the others,
hearing him yell even louder,
where the fuck do you think
you’re going? a good question,
I thought, smiling at the snow
covered fields and mountains beyond.

when the foreman came round

in that metal cathedral of flame
and sweat everyone shut their
yaps and worked it double-time,
feigning earnest dedication

as his frown of power swept
over us, judgment fuming
in that cold glare flashing
the threat to render us penniless,

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at the mercy of the street
and the hammer of a land
fashioned of violent indifference
and the ruination of greed.

Labor’s Dark Day

The forced dynamic
of Adam Smith’s
lazy man hypothesis,
that great con of history
become capitalism,
become the bars
of greed that hold us
all in this contraption
of fear and ravage,
of living reduced
to petty competition
and terror of the street
and a steely indifference
taught from birth
to pile on and over
the others towards
success at the top
of the heap of bones
that become your
bones, ever so quickly.

But let us not quibble
on this labor day, when
we celebrate our self-
incarceration, our
worship of the penal
system of profit
that steals from
the most and gives
to the few the rich
bounty of labor’s
labor even unto
children in China
working for spare
change, so look for
a few winks, scowls
and nods from bosses
and Pols pretending
from limos and castles
to honor the workers
of the world, who
they despise and lash
to the money making
machine, with glee
and howling delight,
pounding their Alpha
chests, unfettered
predators feeding at will.
Happy Labor Day!

Paul Lojeski