Wineskins Archive

February 10, 2014

The Write Side: A Better World Again (Mar-Apr 2003)

Filed under: — @ 2:24 am and

by Al Haley
March – April, 2003

I am happy today. Swiveling in my chair.

Smoothing a fax on the lip of my desk.

The client gets what she orders up.

The client deserves superior consideration.

Just for today. Because two minutes

ago I stood up and went to the window

of this fifty-fourth floor to look out

at where the ironworkers are erecting

the skeleton of Digiton Corporation.

The yellow hardhats perch a few feet

away, lumpy figures in the gray shadow

of girders. It’s all routine, correct?

Spitting hot rivets, guiding steel wires,

linking to giant cranes, backed up

by the loud opus of machine beasts,

a serious, multi-million dollar production

that ought to make me draw respectful breaths

or turn grumpy at how it’s bound

to eventually block my piece of blue sky.

But no. I’m hilarious. Giddy.

I just saw a chubby worker

sit down, legs hanging off into space.

He opened his lunch box, took off his shell

of a hat, bent his head and moved his lips.

I saw. He spoke words over what looked

like two flat tablets of whole wheat

asking perhaps a blessing for the bread,

honey and peanut butter —

or maybe he felt grateful for his position

above it all? Could he have been thanking

someone for that fluffed cloud to the north

and the calluses on his hands or a family

two freeways away in a red brick house?

I don’t know, but to watch a man take time

for such a thing amidst sweat and bare outlines

still awaiting glass cladding and carpets and the flesh

of secretaries and the big boss, it moved me.

Silence crossed a canyon of proximity.

Unknown words that fell into me really

and raised me from my knees and sent me back

to work believing in a better world again.

New Wineskins

Al Hailey


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