We the Workers
“We, the heedful between the swirling twirling and furling. We, in the nasty filthy toxicity. We, in the summers smother. We, in the winters shutter. We retreat into the plunging night. We greet the glaring daylight. Beating here within: Heart and soul, Heart and soul, Bittersweet payroll Bittersweet payroll.
We are the unseen a bolt in the machine. A plea unparalleled just trying to keep pace.
We are just running in place running in place.
Observe our hands. They shake. The scars the calluses the sparse paralysis.
We, who inhale the talc and the MEK. We, who toil in the dog days. We, who chill to the bone. We, the workers down below in the pitch-black night. We, the workers dead on our feet an under asbestos sky.
Beating here within: Heart and soul, Heart and soul, Bittersweet payroll Bittersweet payroll.”
Artist's Note: Here is a series of five paintings with poems about folks (like me) who toil on a factory line. Every operator on the production floor is simply a pair of hands. His welfare is secondary as long as the quotas are met. Thus I focused on the hands of each employee. It makes no difference their ethnicity, Arab, Russian or Jewish. Their hands are all remarkably similar. All are hard working under harsh conditions for minimum wage. Let us also keep in mind that each seeks a decent home, health, a good education and better life for their children.
Poem ©2012 Shira Chai
Paintings ©2014 Shira Chai
This presentation ©2022 Shira Chai
All rights reserved
…is a painter, teacher and artist who writes poetry. From an early age she began journaling. The words soon became poetry and part of her paintings. She embosses the words into the paint. Ms. Chai has exhibited in Detroit, New York, Tel Aviv and various Kibbutzim, in group and solo exhibitions. Shira has been a member of Kibbutz Ein Dor since 1983. She has recently published poetry in ARC 25 and 26, journals of IAWE (Israeli Association of Writers in English).