Thursday, 26 October 2023 12:49

Trying To Go Home

Written by
in Poetry
Trying To Go Home
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio for Pexels

Trying To Go Home

by Fred Voss

“I’ve got a Bridgeport milling machine in my garage”
a machinist would say
and another machinist would nod
and say he had a Le Blonde engine lathe in his garage
as they dreamed
of the day when they could have an engine lathe and milling machine and surface grinder
and air compressor in their garage and make their own parts to sell and be
their own boss
no longer
have to look in the paper to find jobs in machine shops owned by strangers
no longer
be ruled by a clock as they dropped a timecard into another man’s timeclock
at 6 am
they could wait
until the slant of the sun’s rays through their bedroom window
or the sound of foghorns on the sea
or the crows cawing on telephone lines
felt just right
deep in their bones
then slip
into a leather apron and step
into their own garage
where their father’s antique standing orange radio from 1939 sits
and hope the radio station broadcasts a Dodger baseball doubleheader
like the ones their father used to listen to
no longer
would they have to stare at blank tin machine shop walls
or listen to a foreman’s screams but look
at their own photos of the Yosemite Valley in the spring tacked to their garage walls
as they make ribbons of steel spiral off steel round stock clamped in the jaws of their own engine lathe
“All I need is an air compressor and a surface grinder
and I’ve got my own machine shop in my garage,” a machinist would say
as he dreamed of the day he could stare out his garage window
at the tree
his father planted in 1952
instead of the graveyard or the bowling ball factory across the street from the factory he works in
the garage floor his father and maybe his grandfather walked
remembering the tricycle he once pedalled around the street corner
outside his garage window as an old man from Norway in a 3-piece suit dropped chocolate candy
into his palm
instead of having to thread through 18-wheeler trucks on L.A. freeways
driving to a strange city
where a boss’s scream can get
so loud
a man can barely remember
he had a father
at all.

Read 237 times Last modified on Friday, 27 October 2023 10:54
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.