Sunday, 24 June 2018 21:43

The Waterfall and the Song and the Hammer in the Hand

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in Poetry
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The Waterfall and the Song and the Hammer in the Hand

The Waterfall and the Song and the Hammer in the Hand

by Fred Voss

Too many of the white machinists in this shop like Trump
they are good men
with a tool steel square or a finely calibrated micrometer gripped
in their hands
or a newly-born granddaughter held
against their heartbeats
but they have been fooled by a con artist
in the white house
and I look over at the Indian milling machine operators from Guatemala
and El Salvador
some of them rode the tops of boxcars into this country
others
send money home to mothers living next to sacred rivers
I give them this country
they do not engrave their names across their molybdenum-steel wrenches
and hide them away in toolboxes locked
with chain and padlock like the white machinists
they leave them spread across workbenches for other machinists
to use
and tape pictures of beautiful waterfalls
to their toolboxes
and I look over at the Mexican tool grinders from East L.A. singing mariachi
they would rather fill the air with beautiful melody
than wave a red white and blue flag
I give them the future
the Gabrielino Indian turret lathe operator whose ancestors lived in this L.A. basin
a thousand years ago
standing straight with a truth in his heart Trump can never touch
I put my hope
in him
and any man who needs a job
a home
a dream
I put my hope in the waterfall
and the song
and the hammer in the hand
we white men took this country
with our guns and our trains and our law books
but it was never really ours
its waterfalls
its waves its condors
its skies its grass blades and sunsets
and seas its beauty
like a wide-open workbench covered with tool steel wrenches free for all
to use.

This poem was partly inspired by by the current horrific immigrant situation surrounding the Mexico/U.S. border.

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Fred Voss

Fred Voss, a machinist for 32 years, has had three collections of poetry published by the UK’s Bloodaxe Books. His latest booklet is The Earth and the Stars in the Palm of Our Hand, published by Culture Matters.

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