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[ CC ] Industrious Annalise

 †  
Let them talk about making this nation    
great again as if it was some truck tire † †
worn down to its radial under armor † †
ready for retread in the tire department †  
next building over from where we worked. †  
† †
The harness of solidarity we erected † †
remains buckled. We were the welding
that held everything together by sweat,  
blood, and tears. We were America † †
strong. †  
† †
And still are, even after labor pains
of being strong-armed during contractual †  
obligations around every corner †  
---becoming well heeled regarding miles †  
of concrete and iron catwalks hiked, † †
but hardly as far as insurance benefits †  
and pursed billfolds where it counted, † †
† †
And there were no leaves of absence †  
when it came to leaves of abstinence †  
as one unplanned on getting pregnant; †  
you could always count on women † †
getting shafted upon shafted. †  
† †
Let me tell you how it was --- enough †  
anguish was channeled into the rubber †  
plant's production line floor that glass †  
ceilings cracked with every impact †  
of our feet being put down hard. †  
† †
Not without backbiting resistance, †  
mind you. Butch. Dyke. Lesbo. Name it. †  
They labeled us -- designated unfit † †
to work along side for the same pay †  
and definitely for dating by such great †  
American specimens of men † †
who demonstrated all the Olympian †  
capacity of beer kegs in form, †  
function, and usefulness. †  
† †
We endured the unlubricated jeers †  
nonstop, sometimes from behind, †  
but mostly right up in our faces †  
---I guess being spare-ribbed equals, †  
we were meant to take the thrusts †  
of their fear driven anger like men, †  
if not the queers they secretly feared † †
would eventually topple Heterotopia. †  
† †
Yet they sure loved their girl-on-girl porn †  
if the girls on the girls in the girlie mags †  
were airbrushed into flawless perfection, †  
looking glorious in frilly lingeries ... †  
† †
And I guess I don't blame them; †  
overalls do little to accentuate figures †  
without God's plumping ass'istance † †
and grease giving complexions fits. †  
† †
On my days off, I was about as sexy †  
as Gloria Steinem in a gunny sack dress †  
---more hip deep into Gloria Jeans--- †  
my lunch pail thermos was emptied † †
with a cigerette or two by morning's †  
fifteen minute break. † †
† †
Not vain about my appearance, †  
letting low self esteem and complex † †
be cause to quit punching the clock, †  
instead I chose to punch a few assholes †  
during my time at Firestone. †  
† †
As for Annalise ... †  
† †
Damn. How badly I wanted to hit that † †
broad when she was hired on in 1975. † †
Boy, she really rubbed me the wrong way. †  
Bossy --- always micro-managing. Anal  
was an understatement. †  
† †
So much so, the gals called her Anal-lise † †
her first month on the floor. Ha! I can laugh †  
about it now, but refused to back then †  
---that would have made me no better †  
than the men with their insults. †  
† †
Anna and I finally entered the union †  
officially having swapped rings at City Hall †  
seven years ago. I guess you could say, †  
shortly after we were acquainted, † †  
she grew on me in girl-on-girl fashion; † †
never was I into women until having laid †  
eyes on her for the first time. † †
† †
She died last March from complications †  
due to the Covid-19. I always told her †  
to give up smoking --- which we both did, †  
but a few years too late, I guess; † †
her lungs were a mess by then †  
and these last couple of years on oxygen †  
were quite a drag on her spirit. †  
† †
Underneath the rigid aluminum clipboard, †  
Anna was always my fresh of breath air †  
in that insufferable nine-to-five armpit. † †
† †
And now she's gone, just like the America † †
that was so supposedly so fucking great † †
until black men and women started †  
running for President. †  
† †
Written by MaryWalker
Published | Edited 2nd Nov 2021
Author's Note
for the Classic Corner comp "Roar Shack" @
https://deepundergroundpoetry.com/forum/competitions/read/11552/
inspired by Fulton's "Industrial Lace" @
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47806/industrial-lace
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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