Railing

I dreamed I was a Bangladeshi shipbreaker
toiling in the tropical salt air
with taut muscles and hard callouses
with cuts on hands and shoulders
with burns from oxy-acetylene flames

I worked on the deck of a broken ship
a behemoth with no back half
like a tuna with its tail removed
floating dead in the shallows
in a harbor with a hundred ships like it
on a sandy coast with no end

There were thousands of us working
stretching our rice-fed bodies in the heat
flattening tanks with mallets
taking torch to hull
glancing at the sea a hundred feet below

I was paid in cash each week
enough to buy a bit to eat
and pay for my worker’s flat
a room in a building off the dockyard
where the company provided one bed each
for only two-thirds a month’s wages

My brother died the week before
he was working a few ships down from me
tearing pipe from a plumbing run
pulling copper from rusted conduit
loading pump parts on a limping wagon

I was told it was eleven PM
that a chain had wrapped his ankle
that the other three men faltered
and dropped the bilgepump engine block
off a deck that had no railing

it had long been cut away

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why do i always forget?

why do i always forget?
things are for keeping
as garbage they damage
and take so long to disappear
so if you have a thing
you should stop
every once and a while
and touch it and look at it
so you don’t needlessly replace it
society will build to your demand
they profit from your idle things
and then hide the garbage away
so it looks like it disappears
and your life is a revolving door
of things that have no
significance and can disappear,
conveniently
but that is not the case
they are long to disappear
and you should use and cherish
things
one day you might miss them
like a love
replaced with something

similar.

you live above the earth

cage that free bird
you
miniature man
lock him up
business is good
they bring you
things on silver
platters
nevermind that
you could pick
those berries
yourself
nevermind the
virtue of patience,
staring at the
earth from your
plush palace,
a few aesthetic
degrees of separation
for comfort.

the teeth in the smile of the corporation

when you need them they make sure
that you fit into the square
whether your a circle or a triangle
and that you never have stolen
or curse
or lied
and that you love to listen to people
talk about themselves
and you’ve never lost your temper
and you think about others before yourself
they make sure that you are
a perfect
square
with
all
your
sides
the
same
length
so when the customer walks in
your smile is as shiny and warm
and deft and dead as
the red colored vest you wear