Monday, September 4, 2023

Special Feature: Selected Poems for Labor Day

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

                                                                                                      Bootstrap Fables, I
                                                                                                      written on Labor Day

                                                                                                      last bus ride
                                                                                                      high-rise shadows drifting
                                                                                                      across this temp's face

                                                                                                      Chen-ou Liu

My Dear Friends:

Today is Labor Day, a day to celebrate and honor the value of hard work. However, in today's highly competitive work environment,  insecure and precarious work is widespread across the economy. I would like to share with you a set of selected poems for your reflection on the meaning(s) and impact of work:

he sharpens the old awl
and holds it in his hand
and I'm a girl again
watching my grandfather 
at work, mending fences
Joy McCall

stranded at home
with kids to watch
and washing to peg…
he speaks to me
of walking on the moon
Marilyn Humbert

pens and brushes,
the tools of my trade . . .
I wield them
like swords in this fight
against infirmity
Debbie Strange

the day’s catch ...
trapped in fishing nets
fleeting sunset

Goda V. Bendoraitiene 

among watermelons 
the vendor’s children

Angelee Deodhar

pink haze of dawn
the farmer puts on boots
with yesterday's mud 

Rp Verlaine

cleaning out my desk
a paper trail shows proud proof
of work done, praise given
could it be that I was not
an imposter after all?
Jacqueline Korschun Hyman

another Zoom call
the final of this long day
my eyes glaze over
yet I must remain alert
and pretend that I’m engaged
William Kerr

petal after petal
red on red
how many
layers of makeup
to look undead
Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo

the new hire
dressed in a burka ...
for three months
everyone notices her
but no one sees her

Chen-ou Liu

To conclude today's special feature post, I would like to share with you two sketches of today's changing, precarious workforce: gig workers and the working poor.

Bootstrap Fables, II

in Doers we Trust.
you drink coffee for lunch;
you follow through
on your follow through ...
in the ad this workman's look

Bootstrap Fables, III

this chance encounter
with my walmart colleague
at a foodbank
our small talk shifts from food
to rent to renoviction


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