Thursday, August 2, 2012


The Machine endangers all we have made.
We allow it to rule instead of obey.
To build a house, cut the stone sharp and fast:
the carver’s hand takes too long to feel its way.
The Machine never hesitates, or we might escape
and its factories subside into silence.
It thinks it’s alive and does everything better.
With equal resolve it creates and destroys.
But life holds mystery for us yet. In a hundred places
we can still sense the source: a play of pure powers
that — when you feel it — brings you to your knees.
There are yet words that come near the unsayable,
and, from crumbling stones, a new music
to make a sacred dwelling in a place we cannot own.


Some excerpts from an account by a worker in an American nursing home and her efforts at organizing. Read the full account here.

"We, the CNAs, are people displaced, moving, in many ways forced, from our home cities, farmlands, families, into this nursing home, a job that falls short of our American dream. Divided by our languages and backgrounds, Filipino, Ethiopian, Chinese, Eritrean, African American, white American, we seek some temporary moments of cohesion and solidarity with each other. Top down, the bosses maneuver our alliances by threatening, coercing and scaring us, splitting us into neat separate blocks of yellow, black, brown, white. They stuff us into our allocated slots so our interactions are saturated with tension and stress. In spite of them, we edge closer, out of place. Their reaction is immediate. As soon as we come together, they try to tear us apart...

We cross paths in the nursing home, an environment built for the outcasts. Mass-produced meals, mass-produced standards, mass-produced workers dying on America’s scrap heap. In this mess, we all lose some aspects of who we are. Perhaps by uniting on stolen time, we can regain what we involuntarily lost."

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