Daily Archives: August 30, 2014

Labor Day

Originally posted 9/5/2011.

The rude elements

have dressed your dirt-blessed hand.
Do not apologize for that —
make the rich ones, the clean ones,

shake it.  Make them look at your face
and see you: 

tired, aging too fast,
forearms threaded and popping:
the result of work.
Force them

to see your clothes, how thin the fabric
on your jeans, the patches, the tears.  

Give them a moment
to take it all in
then smack them

with how you’ve built them
and their multifaceted estates

and holdings.  

Seize their throats
and gently push upon them
the everlasting schedule
of your simplified days —

how each day you rise, sup,
work, sup, work, sup, and sleep,

a routine broken only by the time you steal
to make children, make a home, or
bounce the baby on your greasy knee.

None of the dirt you carry
makes you their sort of unclean.
You deserve a moment of anger
as you count pennies, consider famine,
make do.  

You’re more glue
for this shiny cracked country
than any glitter-fed celebrity

or squinting dollar-breeding usurer,
so make it known.

Grab them one and all by their hands
and make them shake yours — show them
that honest tan under your grime.
If fear is the likely result,

it may be the wedge 
to open the door
they’ve kept barred for so long.
Who better than you
to open it?

It’s only your shoulder,
so long pressed to the wheel,
that can possibly burst that lock.