Saturday, August 13, 2011

More to come

I am sorting myself out. More posts to come soon. There's actually some interesting stuff going on in the world of poetry. I mean, I try not to take my poetic mission altogether seriously but sometimes it demands my attention.


Oh this is such a good poem and story. I read it and I had to say something. I might have told this story here before. I don't remember.

Here, somewhat edited, is my response-


 I turned out for a few of those predawn hiring lines. Hours standing in the rain and the snow. When I was desperately trying to finish my apprenticeship at US Steel I drove overnight to Ohio to get in line at 5:00 AM. There were already a couple of hundred people in the line. By sunrise the line extended for several blocks. There was snow on the ground and the temperatures were in the 20's. I talked to the guy next to me about welding and stock cars. I had a fake local address for my application. He kept asking me about my neighborhood and I told him just moved there. I didn't know anyone. Finally at 10, a man came out on the front steps of the personnel office. He had a bullhorn and he told us that there were only two openings and that they would only be giving out applications to the first 50 people in the line. Someone threw a snowball at him. Then another. Then more. He ran inside and everyone started throwing snowballs at the building. Then chunks of ice. A window broke. Smash. Then another. Then more. People started kicking at the locked doors of the personnel office. The glass cracked. They tugged at the doors and the glass broke as the metal frames twisted. The windows to the building were broken. The doors were smashed. Hundreds of people milled around the doorway. The bullhorn man pushed a group of terrified young office girls into the doorway. Each of them held an enormous stack of applications. I walked up the steps and grabbed one. I mailed it in the next day. I never heard back. That mill closed a few years ago.


I dunno. Life is so interesting; so hard. Here's what I'm thinking today and I hope it doesn't disappoint those of you who are expecting me to be tough and ironic. I think that the world is complicated and cruel. I think that the only reasonable response is to try to be generous and simple. I'm not having an easy time of it but neither is anybody else. 

3 comments:

ib said...

I will have to revisit to listen to the poetry reading. I caught the imagery, the rhythym of it; it was competing with Sesame Street, in the same room, for a share of the acoustics. Milo was lunching on eggs.

As it is, I am responding to your own response.

There is something startling in reading about this almost riot - the demand to work, the fury at a numbers racket - while those events in London are still being replayed on news bulletins. Actually. Already it is fading, the visceral Dresden of it, while the commentary rages on.

The day the riots fizzled out, it had begun to rain here in Glasgow. After what passes for a heatwave this far north, the temperature dropped. People on the street put jumpers and jackets on. Over their t-shirts. The vague climate of simmering belligerence - that is was all it amounted to, up here - subsided.

I don't know. Not receiving even terse acknowledgement for job applications pending is frustrating. I have grown accustomed to it. It startles me on the few occasions I get word back. It might alarm me overwhelmingly if I made the shortlist out of the blue; the interview. Maybe I am applying for all the wrong jobs.

Snowballs. Ice. Fire and water cannon.

Nice post, Jon.

JustFrankie said...

Great Post Jon

Jon said...

Thank you. Ib, I can see now, those were the last days of the working class. We thought we had a right to the jobs our fathers and grandfathers had. Our children and our grandchildren just want in to the consumer culture that we were given when we traded in our union cards for credit cards.

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