Poems by John Wester
By Anna Daniels
Back in the early 70’s Julian was home to an enclave of young writers, intellectuals and politicos. John Wester was part of this group of kindred spirits that also included SDFP contributor Jay Powell and Bud Sonka who recently introduced me to John’s poetry. I hope that we will hear more about what they built and thought about up on the mountain during that time.
What can you say about the march
That caused the sweat that took the starch
From collars worn by members who
Live doing what they’re told to do–
Passing laws for points to please
The ones they’re hoping to appease
To get the votes to win again
The chance to serve the rich white men?
I’ve seen enough to know that we
Are all the same–come down to need.
Our enemies amount to three:
Ignorance, fear and stubborn greed–
The credo of the ruling class:
You’re nothing if you don’t kick ass.
“I need to talk to you,” he said,
You follow to his office where
The heavy air is dripping dread–
You know he’s going to kill you there.
Boss, an envelope in his hand,
Tells you, “Sorry, this is hard.
I just hope you’ll understand,
We hold you, still, in high regard–
But we have to let you go.”
Security guard behind you now.
“You didn’t fit in with the flow–
It wasn’t working. Anyhow,
Here’s your check, so here you are–
Joe will see you to your car.”
The day you made the birds shut up
Still makes me laugh inside.
We were talking big stuff, yup,
But trees were filled with pride–
Birds returning for the spring
On their way up north;
Couldn’t think to hear them sing,
Calling back and forth.
You got up from beer and yelled,
Shut the fuck up. Birds got still.
You’d stood up, the silenced jelled
The mountainside. We sat until
The words came out, and what you said
Still rings aloud inside my head.
Contractor building a parking lot
Fired his workers on May 1st.
They didn’t show up for work, were caught
Up in the day–and so he cursed
The Mexicans, and now behind
The profit that he had in mind.
Too bad he paid them Friday, now
The dreams he had, time won’t allow.
Next day he brought his son to work–
Boy didn’t want to be there.
Sat on his ass–thought, dad’s a jerk,
Times he caught his angry stare.
He had better things to do
Than shoveling dirt–a one-man crew.
He wasn’t made to do this shit,
Tonight he might tell dad he’s quit.