Wednesday, 13 September 2023 09:58

Stone Age Jimi Hendrix

Written by
in Poetry
Stone Age Jimi Hendrix

A message from Fred: Here is my latest poem, I'm reading it this Saturday 16th September at Page Against the Machine, a democratic socialist left-wing bookstore on 4th St. in Long Beach, California. It's a post-Labor Day reading - unions are on the upswing here right now after all these years of us workers being shafted.

Stone Age Jimi Hendrix

by Fred Voss

The supervisors have it harder than us machinists
they sit
in stale air-conditioned air at desks in bullpens with windows looking out at a shop floor
with a hundred machines they never touch
their minds strapped to profit margins
the New York Stock Exchange
phones about to ring with urgent customer calls from Spain or Japan
we machinists
breathe the air blowing in from snow-capped San Gabriel mountains
or high deserts abloom with orange poppies
our hands on machine handles
ready to make a water faucet so a schoolgirl can cool herself on a summer day
playing hopscotch at recess in the sun
or a brass knurled volume control knob so the next Jimi Hendrix
can revolutionize guitar playing and start a second summer of love
or gears for a windmill that will turn Atlantic Ocean wind into electricity
and save the planet
our hands
are ready to grapple alligators
save a baby from a hotel fire
make an immortal Watts Tower out of bottlecaps and broken bits of glass
reach out and balance
a surfboard we ride on a 12-foot wave as girls in bikinis cheer
turn a racecar wheel with razor-sharp reflexes that could win the Indianapolis 500
but when supervisors
step out of their offices to walk down the aisles between our machines
they carry clipboards close to their sides pretending they are footballs
they once ran with in a High School football game 35 years ago
or ball their fists up like they could take us in a fight
even though they are so soft from sitting in cushy swivel chairs all day
we know they couldn’t
as we sing opera arias or Jalisco Mexico Banda songs
full blast out of our lungs so they echo off the tin ceiling and laugh
and spit sunflower seeds 20 feet over our engine lathes
so they make a pile on the concrete floor
just to remind the supervisors of all the things we can do
that they can’t
as we smile sympathetically at them
knowing it can’t be easy to tap a plastic computer mouse with an index finger all day
while we
flex hands
that carved the first wheel
out of stone.

Read 574 times Last modified on Wednesday, 13 September 2023 10:16
Fred Voss

Fred Voss, a machinist for 35 years, has had three collections of poetry published by Bloodaxe Books, and two by Culture Matters: The Earth and the Stars in the Palm of Our Hand, and Robots Have No Bones.