Monday, 25 November 2019 16:42

The election: Waiting for a Spark

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The election: Waiting for a Spark

Waiting for a Spark

by Fred Voss

Overtime
used to be a boon
put on a 6-day 12-hour 3pm to 3am nightshift schedule for a few months
a man would laugh and bear
sleeping through the day and hardly seeing
his wife and children
losing touch with friends
and the world
he would laugh as he stood sleepy-eyed in line at the bank and deposited
fat check after fat check
saving for a boat a house a full dresser Gold Wing motorcycle a bottle of $200 cognac
a penthouse in Cancun a box full of $50
cigars a baseball
signed by Babe Ruth knowing
the overtime would have an end
now
Rusty looks at me with deep bags under his eyes and says,
“I’m burned out, Fred….”
now
men like Rusty and me need unending overtime
10 or 11 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week to make
house or car payments
rent
root canal engine tune-up shoelaces 6-pack
of cheap beer
“I’ve been working 11 or 12 hour shifts 6 days a week
for 20 years now,”
Rusty says to me
once
overtime could have meant sailing our new boat through a blue wave
slipping a diamond ring
on our wife’s finger sending a grandchild
to Princeton sunbathing
on a Greek beach where Ulysses finally came home to Penelope after killing the Cyclops
and surviving the Sirens
now
Rusty and I are both in our late 60s and still working overtime to just make ends meet
and I look deeply into Rusty’s tired-to-death eyes
and wonder when our own odyssey
across these choppy treacherous bone-wearying concrete shop floor overtime waters
will end
so we can finally
come home.

Fred Voss writes: As a commentator said recently regarding the upsurge in strikes in America, "the workplace today in America is like a tinderbox waiting for a spark to set it on fire". Here's hoping the upcoming elections in the U.K. and U.S. are the spark that lights the fire of long overdue respect and justice for working men and women.

 

 

Read 179 times Last modified on Tuesday, 26 November 2019 16:17
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.