Volume 35, Number 1

Arsenal of Democracy

La machine conduit l’homme à se spécialiser dans l’humain.
                    —Jean Fourastié

3 strikes and you’re in Ford, Stellantis,
during the great recession GM
shoprats pledged to take a pay cut
and keep y’all afloat
so that in 2023 CEOs rake in
as much per annum as nearly everyone
on the line combined

The Chicago School taught
the junta then the public
that profit is the savoir
faire of managerial
surplus values
never workers walking
Ben Hamper’s ‘mulish treadmill’

The once great middle class
can matriculate and buy
their bachelor’s degree
but not their relevancy
that comes from two hands
framing a chassis

Sociology lacks a school
to disseminate the power of strikes
Cockerel DRUM Battle(s) of the Overpass
in the Grace Lee Boggs John Henry
public goods goodie bag thanks to tuition hikes
it’s up to shop stewards to mentor
the power train of solidarity this September
back to school

Sycamore leaves brown along Warren Avenue prairies
our cities are untended treasures of mineral rich seeds
oily proteins and Prairie Chickens stalking manufacturing
America’s derelict lots. All you have to do
is stoop and nab a fistful of chicory root boiling up
from the sidewalk to save two bucks on a cup
in a Scrooge McDuckian gesture of miserly rigor
adjust your potted asters then come down to the plant gate
where the picket is a militant wake up

A tailgate
with roasted corn
and fight songs
no more tares of stock
buybacks Go Blue
Buckeyes one for all
and all for one
until work stops in Michigan
Missou Ohio Toledo
Wayne over in Wentzville
where politicians play dress up
with flame throwers
say they’re gonna burn
all the Woke books but they skimp out
on steaks and forget to bring beer
to share

The good news is
the nation’s got some Pigskin
in the game
most of the country cut its motors
to listen to conveyor belts
that lulled them to sleep since birth

The arsenal
of democracy built
the trente glorieuses
even for women in pant
suits profs teaching Marxian
manifestoes and tones

Of The Bluest Eye
their lunch pails open
to the sky.

—Jeremy Nathan Marks