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Monday, April 09, 2007

In the Laundromat

I sit here shivering
Staring at these untiring machines
Hypnotized by the tumbling and tossing
Of sheets and towels, jeans and shirts
Stuffed toys and rubber shoes…
Tirelessly tumbling and tossing
Again and again…

I sit here switching my gaze
For there could be Oprah or Dr. Phil
On the screen…
But I’m drowned in the buzzing
Of these washers and dryers
By the cling clang of quarters or MnM’s
The zing zing of razing cars and spaceships
And the wing wang ka-zing pow of bullets
And the voice of women
As they load and unload
Fold, pack and haul.
“Si, si. Por supesto.”
“That ain’t no right. It ain’t no good.”
“You kiddin’ me? Bless your heart.”
“Have a good one.”
By the silence of moustached men
As they load and unload
Fold, pack and haul
While their bundled tots glide
Like astronauts doing the moonwalk
In their squeaky shoes made in China.
Or while their infants quietly suck their milk
In their strollers and whine or scream
Whey they lose grip.

They load and unload
Fold, pack and haul
With their tireless colored hands
That grind all day…
Tilling, watering, picking, washing, packing, hauling on farms.
Or butchering pigs at Smithfield’s, skinning, chopping
Washing, packing, hauling amidst the stench.
Or clearing, building, pounding, polishing whatever the weather
Or hushing babies, pushing the invalid
Or mowing lawns, collecting trash
Or scrubbing toilets, hallways
Armed with deodorizers and antiseptics
And tireless colored hands
That grind all day…
The so-called backbone of America’s economy
The power that moves America to the next morning.
For without these tireless colored hands
America will stop breathing.

Why then build walls on the borders?
Decorate the desert with barbed wires and Manzanita bushes?
Who’s gonna do them anyway?
Why then let people die after Katrina?
Who’s gonna do the dirty jobs later?

I sit here shivering
Staring at these untiring machines
Hypnotized by the tumbling and tossing
Of sheets and towels, jeans and shirts
Stuffed toys and rubber shoes…
Tirelessly tumbling and tossing
Again and again…
Just like tireless colored hands
That grind all day.
Jamison/01/20/07

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