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Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Winter 2009, vol 7 no 4
 

HAIBUN
 

Union Men
Ed Markowski

 

Being raised in Detroit during the 1950s & 60s
for me, meant being raised in the union.


factory entrance
moths spin 'round & 'round
a caged lightbulb


My maternal grandfather helped organize
the Ford Rouge Plant in the early 30s. His
friendship with Walter Ruether was forged
during street battles with Henry Ford's
Pinkerton goons.


first light
the strikers
clenched fists


He was fired & rehired three times from
Rouge. Old man Ford nicknamed gramps
"The Catholic Communist," a nickname
he carried with pride. My grandfather told
me many times, "The only place Marx
& Engels went wrong was in their inability
to see that Communism was a philosophical
& political descendent of Christ's Sermon
On The Mount. Marx & Engels didn't create
Communism, Jesus did."


Detroit
the rainbow ends
at a union hall


My father was a steward in the United Steel
Workers Union. I can't count the number
of times our mother took my sisters & me to
deliver pea soup, ham sandwiches & potato
salad to dad & his friends when they
went out on strike.


wind blown snow the picket line holds


During the holidays we went to union Christmas
parties & our Christmas gifts were purchased
at the union toy store.


on strike
the department store Santa
makes a promise I can't keep


At the steel warehouse, dad operated an
overhead crane. His hook-up man, Frenchie,
had fought for the resistance during the war.
Frenchie had seven fingers, one eye, a frown
shaped scar on his throat & he was an
unapologetic communist.


half moon
which side are you on
boys?


Frenchie was a down right ferocious man.
Looking back on it, had he told people that
he had survived The Paris Commune, they
probably would've believed him. Frenchie
had an aura of indestructability about him.
He was a working class super hero & he
was Santa at the union toy store on
Jefferson Avenue.


nativity scene
Santa quotes
Marx


My grandfather, father & Frenchie were men
of great strength, courage, compassion, & love.
The men who raised me were Union Men & I'll
be forever grateful.


home from
the steel warehouse
dad's lunchbox
filled with flowers

 



 Window Shopping
 

Gray
topaz & pink cashmere cable berets

black
tan & white mackinaws

red
maroon & mustard knee length scarves

red
white & blue day glo gloves

stone
washed flannel lined blue jeans

lug
soled blue suede hiking boots

with
moisture absorbent socks

to
withstand a winter's worth of hiking

from
the cab stand to the 34th floor

of
the Sears Tower

all
three sisters are blonde

&
proportioned with precision

all
three sisters have their left arms

outstretched
palms up in a unified gesture

that's
inviting me to join them

on
the other side of the glass

for
several glasses of wine

then
who knows what

in
their luminescent world

of
cotton snow & polyurethane birds

perched
in the light of ten seventy-five watt

halogen
suns that shine & set every evening

at
nine-thirty sharp regardless

of
the sky or season

on
this cold rainy

third
Saturday of September.


harvest moon
   the hole between holes
       in a bag lady's bag

 


Ed Markowski Ed Markowski lives and writes in Auburn Hills, Michigan. His poetry was featured at Cornell University's Mann Library in March of 2005.