George Thomas, 6/24/2013

Current Occupation: Retired.

Former Occupation: I worked at many jobs. I even did some teaching, but most of my income earning life was as a machinist.

Contact Information: Born in Dayton, Ohio, I came West in my 30s. Hold an MFA from Eastern Washington University. Founded (edited for 2 years) the Willow Springs Magazine in 1977 and for six years published and edited George & Mertie’s Place: a literary microzine. [Find his poetry on Amazon.]

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WORKING WITH MEN IN THE MODERN WORLD

 

These machines run themselves so he can come to me

Over the Floordri and between the high-pitched whirring

Of spindles and the chattering vibration of steel

Chomping steel, over the oil spots and concrete, through

The thunderous noise so painful you can't hear yourself

Think, so all-consuming and persistent you can't concentrate

On what other men try to say to you, and in the pandemonium

And distraction of industry grinding out profit and loss,

He tells me with hurt, young eyes—his humanity and flesh

Bleeding, as it were, right there before my eyes into

The oily concrete—that his wife won't fuck him anymore,

That he feels unloved and unappreciated, lonely and

Abandoned, while his machine, not ten yards distant,

Continues to turn out parts and money, and behind me

A blue light on my machine begins to flash to tell me it's

Demanding to be fed another piece of steel, another link

In the never-ending chain of profit and loss, and I think

How nice it would be to be steel, to be a part,

Cut, shaped, turned, stamped and milled by another hand

Than my own, but I'm not a product, not a machine, and my

Own chosen experience has shaped me emotional as I am,

So I look into his eyes and try to tell him I am human too:

"I hear you!" I yell, and he hears me, he smiles

Through the pandemonium of the machines, and I am joyful

Because I see that man's humanity to man will win out somehow

In the end, despite of what some women say or what the world

Demands or seems to demand of mice and men.

2 comments on “George Thomas, 6/24/2013
  1. Jan Priddy says:

    “despite of what some women say”?

    My parents used to joke: “The trouble with women is that they always take things personally,” my dad would say. “I don’t,” my mother would respond, and they would laugh.

    • Jan, believe it or not, I thought hard about that very line more than once before sending it off, but I’m 75, and I wrote the poem at another time in my journey and, it was in reply to certain women and women’s magazines that castigated men for their inability to communicate about intimate problems. I had specially in mind the fact that while 100s of books were addressing women, the only good book I could find was “The Hazards of Being Male” at that time. Today, if I wrote the poem, I might sing a different tune, but I decided to let it stand. My fourth wife tells me I’m a good husband and we’ve been together 19 years. I’d say I’m a changed man. Thanks for the response. Thanks for reading the poem.

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