3/5/08 – Charlie Rossiter & Dan Wilcox

06 Mar

Charlie Rossiter  —>
Bethlehem Steel*

by Charlie Rossiter

Long sleeved shirts, steel-toed boots,
protective glasses and hard hat in
summertime Baltimore 100 humid degrees
walking the edge of coal fields where
buckets take two ton bites to move coal
from barge or train car to great bins or
conveyors where it travels up and
over to other belts and finally into
blast furnaces that make the steel.
Showering sparks and workmen
shadowed by molten metal look
heroic on tv screens but what
the camera never shows is
sulphur stench and acid burns,
hands flattened in train car
couplings, broken bones
from crane falls, death by crushing
when someone forgets for a moment
and goes down between barge
and pier, friday night
parking lot six-packs and fights
at neighborhood carry-outs
that cash the paychecks, the way
coal dust won’t wash out and
most men’s wives make them
burn the clothes


by Dan Wilcox

that when we gather at the table the door must be open and a
…….place set for even godless goyim like me
that the bitter reminds us of how sweet desert will be
that we must repeat the words we have been taught before they
……..are forgotten or forbidden
that Springtime however green is dipped in tears and the
……..mortar of monuments is mixed by human hands
that we must learn to answer the questions the children ask
that when we are summoned & ordered to bow we must stand and
……..confront the Pharaoh
not for us, but for the first born
if not our own then for those of others.

* previously published in “The Night We Danced With the Raelettes” 60 pages, hand-sewn with spine – $14.00  To order on-line go to:


Charlie Rossiter, NEA Fellowship recipient and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, hosts the audio website A widely published poet, his work has been featured on NPR and numerous statewide public radio networks. During the `90s he hosted the Poetry Motel TV program, still seen on cable stations in some parts of the Northeast. His chapbook, What Men Talk About, won the first Red Wheel Barrow Prize from Pudding House Press.

Dan Wilcox has been a central figure in the Albany, NY, poetry scene for decades. He is a widely-published poet, who has pleased crowds from coast to coast with his insightful, political, and highly-charged poetry. As a photographer he has amassed the world’s largest collection of photographs of unknown poets.



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Posted by on March 6, 2008 in * A Few Poems, * Past Features


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