Tuesday, 23 July 2019 16:44

Wheeling Away The Dreams

Written by
in Poetry
Wheeling Away The Dreams

Wheeling Away The Dreams

by Fred Voss

As we work at our machines at 11:16 am we hear
the siren
and look out the factory tin door and see the paramedics truck pulling up
in our company parking lot
then notice
Octavio is missing from his machine
6’3” tall 220 pounds of 31-year-old muscle Octavio
who can make heaving a 100-pound tool steel vise or lathe chuck
look easy
“Is it Octavio?”
we are asking
each other until Ramon comes over to tell us he saw the paramedics
wheel Octavio out on a gurney
and drive away
and 27-year-old lathe man Eduardo blinks his eyes looking out the tin door and says,
“A lot of people are stressed out…
having anxiety attacks…
you can have an anxiety attack so bad you might
be having a heart attack….”
and we think of Trump
and his threats to deport Mexicans and Guatemalans and Nicaraguans
and all the fear in the Mexican neighborhoods and the skyrocketing L.A. area rents
and the stalled wages and the children
with no future as their parents have to choose between a heart operation
and bankruptcy
and a big young strong man who works 60 hours a week taken out
on a gurney
because the world seems to be closing in on him
and stunned
we gradually return to our machines
but somehow the wrenches
and the hammers and the micrometers don’t feel quite the same
and we don’t want to pick them up in our fingers
as we look out that tin door
and think of Octavio
something was taken away from us
on that gurney
something that feels a lot like
the American dream.




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Fred Voss

Fred Voss, a machinist for 32 years, has had three collections of poetry published by the UK’s Bloodaxe Books. His latest booklet is The Earth and the Stars in the Palm of Our Hand, published by Culture Matters.