Hand Jobs, a poem by Ron Kolm

Hand Jobs

It’s my first day on the job –
A factory making steel drums.
“You’ll be rubbing acid on new
Welds to seal them,” the foreman
Tells me. “Here’s some rubber
Gloves,” he says, throwing me a pair.
“You don’t want to get that shit
On your skin.” I put them on
And feel air on my hands.
The tips of the gloves are
Worn away, and I wiggle
My fingers for his benefit.
“Sorry, dude, it’s all we got,”
He says, as I give them back
And head out to the parking lot
Get into my truck and smash
The dashboard with my fist.

Several weeks later
I land a job at a container
Factory making boxes.
My duties include stacking
The finished cardboard flats
As they drop off the end
Of a conveyor belt.
I watch the steaming pulper
Turn everything we toss inside
Into hot batches of paper as
Further down the assembly line
Sheets of it are glued together
Making cardboard.

I figure this particular job
Is going to be easy but the
Finished cardboard is
Not only still hot, it’s
Razor sharp, and cuts the fuck
Out of my hands when I try
To pick it up. “Sorry,
We don’t have any extra gloves,”
The boss tells me and shrugs—
I shoot him a bloody finger as I split.

- Ron Kolm

 
Ron Kolm — Hand Jobs (The Unbearables vs. Feminist Poets in Low-Cut Blouses, 100,000 Poets for Change reading, A Gathering of the Tribes Gallery, New York City, New York, 29 Sept 2012)

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Copyright © 2012 Arthur Kaye

Ron Kolm is a member of the Unbearables, and an editor of several of their anthologies; most recently The Unbearables big Book of Sex! Ron is a contributing editor of Sensitive Skin magazine. He is the author of The Plastic Factory and, with Jim Feast, the novel Neo Phobe. Kolm’s papers were purchased by the New York University library, where they’ve been catalogued in the Fales Collection as part of the Downtown Writers Group.

Posted on by Ron Kolm Posted in Audio, Daily, Poetry, Ron Kolm, Writing

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