Enter Home Planet News Poetry of Issue #4                        Page 11
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Years ago
I worked in a paint factory
Just outside of Montgomeryville,
The front of the plant,
The part you could see
From the highway,
Was a large store
That sold building supplies;
Spackle, cement, drywall
But mostly paint.

Before I got hired
The factory had been
In south Philly
And when it moved
In order to expand
The original employees
Followed, even though
It was now a long distance
From where they lived.
They'd get up before dawn
And shuffle through the day
Like zombies, but they hung on–
Desperate to keep
The low-paying job.

I was a kid
Just out of college
And I knew
I would eventually leave,
But these guys
Were so beaten down
And got paid so little
I felt compelled
To try do something
About their situation.
I told the other kid
Who worked with me
That I was going to confront the boss
And much to my surprise
He said he'd back me up
If things got physical–
It wouldn't be the first time
The boss grabbed someone
And shoved him around.

Forklift (continued)

We'd both been trained
To drive a forklift
So we could hoist
Hundred pound bags
Of powdered glue
And pour them
Into the hopper
Where spackle was mixed.

I used the forklift
To boost my friend
Up to the platform
Where the bags of glue
Were stored, so he
Could hide behind them
Yet still keep an eye
On what was happening below.

I approached the owner
And told him how I felt.
But there was no violence–
In fact the owner said
He'd see what he could do
To make the job better,
And when I quit he wrote me
A letter of recommendation
Stating that I knew
How to drive
A forklift.
        Ron Kolm