Fred Voss


I never thought I would stand in front of this machine
and write about it
had his giant cyclops and Poseidon 
9 circles of Hell Hemingway
we machinists have been reduced
to timeclock ticks
and brown cutting fluid brushed onto smoking steel
we have worn trails
into concrete floors circling our machines singing off-key songs
for decades
Columbus sailed toward a new world
we stare at blank tin walls
there is no enigmatic Mona Lisa smile on our face to be captured
by Da Vinci
yet we are here
real as steel-toed boots
and the stars
our battle
fought with micrometer and hammer and back muscle
with each breath and step carving steel into cities
and telescopes
no Zeus watches us
no history page turns on what we do
as wild poppies and heartbeats and shovelfuls of dirt heaved
into graves and grandchildren
with glowing eyes full
of wild tomorrows
we are train rail clock dial bucket handle
crane hook piano wire crank faucet key
doorknob smokestack wire brush bolt rivet nail elbow hip toe number balance gear and grip
circling hawk horns of moon heel and ball of foot
decimal and drop of oil swing and sweep and roll and punch
2-ton drop hammer smash and delicate machinist touch
we are this universe
exploding out of nothing yet solid as a screw
in the palm
pull and lift and wrestle and sweat
we are this poem
as any god
and hot
as a blast furnace.

Fred Voss has had three collections of poetry published by Bloodaxe Books (UK), the latest of which, Hammers and Hearts of the Gods, was selected as Book of the Year 2009 by The Morning Star (UK) and was reprinted by Pearl Editions (Long Beach, CA). It is available on Amazon, along with his first novel, Making America Strong.


All rights © Fred Voss