Monday, 25 March 2024 09:44

Midnight Boxcar Poetry

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in Poetry
Midnight Boxcar Poetry

Midnight Boxcar Poetry

by Fred Voss

Sometimes I feel I should tell all the men in this building
I write poems
about them
their smiles
their hammers their larger-than-life laughs bouncing off
the 70-foot-high factory ceiling like they should be heard
by all the world
but somehow
it would be like putting a beautiful wild Bengal Tiger
in a cage
clipping the wings
of an African Grey parrot skimming the tops
of Brazilian rainforest trees as a rainbow
telling the pool player in Van Gogh’s hellish The Night Café
he will be in a painting
someday worth 10 million dollars
a meteor can’t help streaking across a sky
a cat doesn’t know how
it leaps from a 12th-storey window
and lives
a Joe Louis punch
was born before the first poem
was ever spoken
would you tell Marlon Brando to look into a mirror
right before he yells, “STELLA!”
in A Streetcar Named Desire
when I walk around my machine gripping this wrench
among all these men real and natural as Niagara Falls
I never read
Shakespeare or Shelley or walked the halls
of UCLA PhD school in English literature
and I look over at the man at the next machine
as a drop of cutting oil drips from his brush
onto the razor-sharp flutes of a 5-pound tool steel cutter in his fist
40 years ago he rode a boxcar
across midnight Arizona sands to get
to this machine shop
when he was 19 and homeless and could barely read a word
but how can I ever tell him
all the poems there ever were or ever will be
inside that drop of golden
cutting oil.

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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.