Stop & Shop Strike

Stop & Shop Strike

A Poem by Robert Ronnow

The Stop & Shop strike v. Game of Thrones.
In Game what’s not made plain
is the condition of the people
compared with warriors and queens.
There’s no mention of land-clearance, tree-felling,
pruning, chopping, digging, hoeing,
weeding, branding, gelding, slaughtering,
salting, tanning, brewing, boiling,
smelting, forging, milling, thatching,
fencing and hurdle-making, hedging, road-mending and haulage.

As for the strike, most of us
supported the cashiers and clerks--
cutting benefits and pensions
when CEOs make millions.
A few pennies more
for ice cream and tofu
a leg up for our neighbors
and comrades in labor. But
don’t get greedy, power-hungry--
we don’t want the supermarket to go out of business
or the Army of the Dead to extinguish us.

A red-tailed hawk observes what small mammals, birds are in the clearcut,
awaits the moment to strike.
Three balls, two strikes, full count. Aaron pitched carefully, slow strikes and the opposing team scored.
Transit strike. Part-time tutor,
food deliverer, illegal immigrant,
school bus driver, supermarket bagger.
Let labor flow like capital! Full tank of gas!
In your dreams, you kick a*s.
In your daydream, you’re breaking bones, killing mean dogs with bare hands.
In my childhood dreams, I fought side by side with my best buddies
against the Army of the Dead.
I wake up to a lightning strike and my dream incinerates.

The strike is over, like a thunderstorm.
Still a half dozen or so episodes of Thrones
before it sinks into the past.
Will women save the world?
Anything’s possible.
Nothing changes in Williamstown, Willie, except the seasons.
The wee hours, the bored minutes, the second guesses,
the town sewer department, the collector of taxes.
Pitcher’s elbow, runner’s knee, reader’s eye,
you live until you die.
That’s no answer.
Without the Mexican and Canadian borders
the White Walkers would dissolve like an aspirin in seltzer water.

The sun is up, the strike is over
next episode of Game is Sunday
the White Walkers attack
some of our favorite characters croak
but I guess humanity survives
though the weather is ominous.
The habitable zone around the sun
is moving outward as the orb expands
getting hotter as it grows older.
Earth a billion years ago
was smack in the middle of the turf
but we’re now half-in, half-out
exposed to the sun’s ardor, agony.
The sun a dragon eating its babies, torching cities
we’re gonna hafta outsmart it
hold Labor Day barbecues on Mars.

© 2021 Robert Ronnow


Author's Note

Robert Ronnow
Turner, James, The Politics of Landscape: Rural Scenery and Society in English Poetry, 1630-1660, Harvard University Press, 1979.

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Added on July 6, 2020
Last Updated on April 28, 2021
Tags: game, labor, strike, sun, war, land, power, business, climate, dream, stop, shop, throne, queen, tree, neighbor, greed, hunger, army, dead, democracy, change, school, bones, dogs, hands, thunder, storm, past, season, answer, white