By BOB HICOK
Everyone should be given a bucket of roaches
and a bucket of air, one for company, one to pay the bills.
Be made to clean a grease trap for a year
with his or her fingers, with his or her nose
infected for life.
To take government cheese as their lover.
Everyone who wants to be President, Senator, Supreme.
The Supremes just made it harder for unions to exist.
Supremes study law, study Harvard,
but who studies cleaning hotel rooms in a city
where you can’t pay the rent, or choosing between prayer
and denial as your doctor, or pawning your arm
to get your leg out of hock?
“Stop in the name of love
before you break my heart”— — I liked the Supremes better
when they were black women singing that,
not white men singing “the hell
with collective bargaining.”
It’s too late. My heart is broken.
I am born of anvils and mules.
Breakers of rocks, emptiers of septic tanks.
Born of the broom, the axe, the plow
that opened the earth for rain
to rise as bread, and unions
are pretty much dead in a land
where people died for unions.
If this is a eulogy, it’s a terrible eulogy,
if a rant, where are the shattered windows,
if a treatise, more footnotes, please.
If this is a white flag, a little blood
will take care of that.
Bob Hicok‘s most recent book is Hold (2018).