Transparent Words - Poetry


Gary Blankenship


Song of Myself #15 - Machinist

Song of Myself #16 - Policeman



Song of Myself #15 – Machinist


15.  The machinist rolls up his sleeves


I can fix anything –

cotton gins

steam tractors

church organs


but no matter how many

guns I spike

bridges I blow

rails I remove


or how many sons

we give


I can’t fix

a broken country

or a mother’s heart




Song of Myself #16 – Policeman


16.  The policeman travels his beat


my rounds once took me

past docks and wharves

where ships unloaded contraband

and immigrants swarmed from steerage

thicker than rats in a graveyard


through factory streets

machinery manufacturing

the parts for more machinery

down the alleys of the fish market

sidestepping offal in the stockyards


now I patrol the haunts of swells

boulevards lined with mansions

where bankers, lawyers

and the captains of industry

live with their families

when not with their mistresses


and instead of forcing bribes

from dock gangs and petty criminals

I receive a little extra

for assuring the Hill is free

of scalawags and peddlers


a little extra from their kitchens –

an extra piece of pie, even supper

if I smile at Cook and laugh

at Housekeeper’s jokes


a little extra in a hidden closet

from one of the maids in search

of the security of a copper’s swag



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