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This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

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Showing results by Alex Gallo-Brown only

I was a worker once.
Lent my labor to
the appetites of mass.
Like a caged animal,
my master said,
beautiful, self-contained.
Only once was I asked to sacrifice
the fingers of my left land,
which I gave willingly
and mostly without regret.
I could follow
my master's reasoning.
I was sympathetic
to her plight.
The company had
its own hunger.
We all would
have to give.

What of the other workers?
Where did they figure in?
I kept my gaze
on the task
in front of me.
I waited for
my shift
to end.

—p.10 I Was A Worker Once (10) by Alex Gallo-Brown 9 months, 1 week ago

"It's okay," Jose says, stirring yogurt with his spoons. "He'll find another job."

Andrew shakes his head and tosses his fork onto his tray.

The next morning, he plods past half-finished office buildings, overturned construction cones, and hulking orange cranes. Mist nips at his cheeks. He bows his head against the wind.

It had been silly to think of himself as a spy, he thinks as he trudged up the office building steps. There is no one to report to, no authority who determines right and wrong. He is a cook, not a spy. Someone who holds power over nothing but his food.

Inside, he turns the induction burners to high and pours until the frying pans are full. He cooks the eggs quickly. He does not worry about keeping them nice and soft.

cafeteria worker at Microsoft. inspo somehow?

—p.20 The Job at the Technology Cafe (15) by Alex Gallo-Brown 9 months, 1 week ago

You want more police, you said, more patrols,
all of the Aurora crap pushed away,
to some other neighborhood, some other
place, someone else's
problem now, another
community's fate.
Those people don't want
help, anyway.
They want to snort powder
in the back seats of cars,
to break into decent
people's homes, to make
your mom afraid.
Our system is capitalism
and democracy, which means
people will be poor.
Just keep them the hell away.

In the poem
I have been trying
to write you,
I tell you about the hole
in my car
where the radio used to be,
how it was taken
two days before
we shared garlic prawns
at the Thai restaurant on Eastlake,
everything civil,
our disagreements peaceful,
all of us equal
so long as our bank accounts were sturdy enough
to sustain cocktails and Pad Thai and beef salad
alongside talk of the homeless
and criminal justice and the mayor and your lawn

You see? I have been trying to write you a poem,
but all I can come up with
are these banal thoughts
and prosaic observations.

In the poem I have been trying
to write you, I tell you about the hole
in my car where the radio used to be,
how before work each morning
I look down at cords and wires
and Styrofoam.
How its absence reproaches me
like a wound, a rupture
between how I live now
and the experience that used
to belong to me.
I tell you about the thief,
who I never saw but now sense,
a small man a little ashamed
as he reached down to detach
the wires exacting the minimum
amount of damage.
I tell you about the pity
that he felt for me
and the lack of peace
that he held in himself.
I tell you about his sadness
and fragility and fear.

I tell you that the police
will not help you. I tell you that the prawns
will not help you.
I tell you that playing civil
or socialized or familial
will not help you.
I tell you
that you will die.


—p.35 To the North Seattle NIMBY with Whom Last Week I Shared Garlic Prawns (35) by Alex Gallo-Brown 9 months, 1 week ago

Three months ago, the boy moved to Seattle without knowing anyone at all. He had spent the summer delivering pizza and bussing tables while living with his parents at home. He saved enough money to survive for a few months while figuring out what to do with his life.

But this was the fall of 2008. The housing crisis had just hit and the wheels of the national economy were beginning to fall off. He applied for every job that he could find. Office jobs and restaurant jobs. Coffee shop jobs and valet parking jobs. Telemarketing jobs and casino security guard jobs. He didn't hear a word.


But he also had known what it was like to serve people. During high school, he had worked in a restaurant and grocery store. In college, he work-studied, keeping time at swim meets and setting the stages for visiting authors and musicians.

For him, though, the money that he earned had been extra, since his parents paid most of his serious bills. It was different for the people who he had worked with, many of whom were older and had no college degree. Others had earned advanced degrees but could find no work to which apply their skills. One woman held a doctorate in English Literature. She had written her dissertation on Ezra Pound. She spooned garbanzo beans into plastic containers.

At the time, he had felt sorry for her, sure. But mostly he hadn't given her much thought.

Online, he learned that more than forty percent of the nation's resources were controlled by the top one percent. Thirty million people had no health insurance. Fifty million were on food stamps.

Had it always been this way? he wondered. Or was this something new?

He sent in an application to the union on a whim. He was invited to interview the very next day.


—p.55 The Union Organizer (55) by Alex Gallo-Brown 9 months, 1 week ago

"The union?" the woman asked after he introduced himself.

"Like I was saying, ma'am, I'm here because workers from all over the state are coming together -"

"Let me guess. To take out of my pocket? To pay people like you?"

"No, ma'am, they're coming together because -"

"Look at you." She considered him. "You don't look much more than a boy. What's your name, son?"

"My name?" the boy repeated.

"Who are you?" she asked. "How about we start there."

"I don't see how that matters," he whispered, shrinking back. The woman's eyes - they seemed to drill right through.

"It matters plenty, son," she said wearily. "It's practically the whole goddamned thing."


—p.61 The Union Organizer (55) by Alex Gallo-Brown 9 months, 1 week ago

At home, I tell my vegetarian friends
that I admire them,
and I do, I think, sneaking mouthfuls
of boiled bird
from the walk-in freezer
I am a dissolute
and undisciplined creature,
but I harbor no illusions
that I am alone.

—p.115 In Starbucks on My Thirty (113) by Alex Gallo-Brown 9 months, 1 week ago

Showing results by Alex Gallo-Brown only