Winter 2023-24

The Blue Collar Review is a quarterly journal of poetry and prose published by Partisan Press. Our mission is to expand and promote
a progressive working class vision of culture that inspires us and that moves us forward as a class. The work presented is
only a sampling from the magazine. Subscriptions are $20.00 yearly, or $7.00 for a single issue.
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Poetry Samples from the Latest Issue

Factory Town

Small town, Small job folks, Factory folks.

The man enters

home,    wears work on his breath. She dodges
broken    glances with dinner and a peck.

Wild blackberry slices

each hand that reads

clocks     stuffed with musty school switch

Noon fire whistle blares. Water tower

the only one who sees beyond its limits.
From morning till covers crease
     all our clothes stink
           of greased salt.

The potato chip factory wages time on us.

       Rene Mullen

Demo to Disco

My job was to remove the tank.

It was two stories tall
ten thousand gallons
made of thick poly plastic
used to store waste water.

I went in on a rainy Sunday in winter
when the plant was a ghost town.
Just me, with a gantry crane, a forklift,
some logging chains, a Sawzall, and a
bunch of blades.

The accident was my fault.
I rigged it wrong.
I misunderstood the forces at play.

I was thrown from the building.
About ten yards, into a puddle in the
fuel terminal.

It hurt getting up
it's been hurting ever since.
I have a permanent dent from
that swat.

I removed the tank.
Now people use that space for
bands and dancing and weddings.

Now I need to move the overhead crane
to rig the disco ball

       Lyle Estill

Shit Just Got Real
Power concedes nothing without a demand.
It never did and never will."
-- Frederick Douglas

Forced to work, we workers see good money,
green envy, cruelty (a capitalist knows).
Hoarded wealth ill-distributed, is guillotine funny.
Class dismissed, a too skinny employer goes

to show off Jimmy Choo's new perfume
on Sunset Strip, a Gaultier faux fir, Hilfiger's t-shirt
later in vintage Malibu, so cool -- Zoom.
Blush for shame? Crimson Dior couldn't hurt,

saves face, a status rebirth on broke Earth.
Whip crackers, busters, a gross politics inherited,
all illegitimate, boss -- my, our true worth:
the People. So, how are pelf dreams merited?

Greed. No profit sharing, or great Union to love.
Striking, USA workers come to shove.

       Dana Stamps, II

Somebody Let Dave Down, and My Bet's on Sam

I hadn't seen him in two years and it was a shock to see him like
this, doing his grocery shopping in a motorized scooter cart.
Before I could ask he said, "How are you doin', young man?"
I didn't have much to say before turning the question back to him
and immediately feeling overwhelmed.
He'd been with his wife almost as long as interracial marriages
had been legalized and had just had to put her in a nursing home,
unable to care for her by himself any longer.
As soon as he'd done that, his broken heart failed
and a man who still bore a startling resemblance to a,
in his prime, Woody Strode disintegrated.
After losing his wife to dementia and his
own health, last month, his landlord delivered the dagger.
"I need $1,500 a month, Dave. You have to go."
They'd lived there eighteen years, never missed a
rent payment and he'd taken care of building maintenance.

      Didn't matter though.
      A commuter suburb of Boston?
      Whatever the market will bear, Baby.
      What do you guys expect landlords to do?

Not this.
"Have you got a place to stay?"
"Yeah, I'm staying with a friend.
And I'm a vet. I'll find something somewhere.
But I lost most of my stuff.
Everything reminded me of Kathy, and
I wouldn't have been able to take it with me anyway.
At 74 I thought life was set. Then I lost it all."

Nothing you can say at such a moment actually helps.
But you can say it in the streets and at the ballot box:

      What the hell kind of society allows
      physically challenged septuagenarian vets
      who've been model tenants for almost two decades
      to lose their apartments just so
      heartless vampire ghouls
     can make even more money?

      Andrew Slipp

Roadside Sign

At the corner near the VA,
maybe there is one minute of red
left before the light turns green.
Though my cup is out with
the roadside sign just below it,
I don't really want your money
or your pity. I'd rather be a reminder
of how people become
government-issued garbage, of how
easily they are forgotten, just like the wars
they won or lost, the ones no one
recalls in detail, or who was the victor,
or how it started or stopped.
If it ever did.

I want to stand in, stand out, for what
cannot be remembered because it was
never known. This cardboard cue-card
outlines what you never learned but
still could if you cared to. Read the text
between these few . . . .

                  . . . . lines.

If someone served, it was because
someone else got served. If a country
was saved, who was it saved from or for?
And who wrote the schoolbooks you
were expected to study but never did?
Maybe you can read this sign instead:
it's only three lines
and there's no exam..

      Joel Savishinsky

Colossus of Hypocrisy

for Joe Biden and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, American U.N. Ambassador

before the world
blood-soaked and drenched
     in hypocrisy
stands the empire
        Uncle Yosemite Sam
guns and bombs blazing
   spewing threats and ultimatums
stubbornly complicit in
wars     in war crimes --
crimes against the world
        in Genocide

His minstrel puppet at the U.N.
refusing even to condemn
   a blatant massacre of starving innocents
      waiting for food.

A loud obstacle to peace
    anywhere          everywhere

A strangling noose
on any who refuse to bow down
      or be controlled

on life itself..

     Al Markowitz

Why We Resist

because the rubble that were houses
can be removed, but the shadows they cast can not.

because fathers lay still
beneath their children's blood, while lined
against walls and shot.

because ambulances were and still are, denied
from carrying their loads.

because Firyal is left
alone with her six children, the youngest
six months.

because their bodies are still
and here.
because invasions have become
common occurrences.

because martyrdom has been given to us,
kneaded into our bread.

because people are more
than tracks left by tanks.

because we breathe,
inhaling the destruction

you left.

because so many others did not.

      Tariq Jawhar

Ripping Out the Stitches

Read the black narrative
of history.

We are wild things
not a valley of suicides.

We are not
death's house divided.

Be done with it, rolling guilt
down the splintered

of regret's broken bone,

the detached retinas
of our good intentions

staring furiously
into the back alleys of our hearts.

Swim beyond the breakers,
beyond the ceaseless tide's indifference.

Tread the deep water, arms
raised above your head
your heart          shaking two fists

clutching angry stones

     P.B. Bremer


Every empire eventually fails

Every emperor wears no clothes

Close your eyes

Even the blind can see

The screams of children in your ears

The pleas for mercy from the emperor's torturers

Anger like vomit rising in your throat spewing filth and truth hard as any steel

Rise like a shackled giant breaking all the chains

The real power disused on the floor

Trod upon over and over


Till one day we rise as one wearing the power we picked up together

From the floor.

       Stewart Acuff

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