• leaflet

    . . .a thin triangular flap of a heart valve. . . a small book usually having a paper cover . . . a medical lit-art e-journal from The Permanente Press
  • 1


Vol 6: Iss 2, Poetry

The motor, clacking and swaying  
Plunges into the dark  
Hauling miners to the heading  
Where it’s always winter.  

There on the track sits the jumbo  
Pneumatic drills trained forward  
Like machine guns  
The portal a distant pinhole.         

Over the drills they hunker 
In the gloom                                    
Camels smoldering, muscles aching            
Obscenities lost in the din.                            

Rock slurry pores from drill holes                 
Soon packed with dynamite                          
And time-delay primers                                
Ready to shoot.        


Shock waves traverse the bore
Leaving dense smoke and dust
And solid rock as rubble.

Scooped into mine cars
By muck-stick and machine
Hauled back down the track
Outside to the dump.

Heavy shoring timbers, carefully placed
Hold up the roof
Rock-fall still happens…

Quittin’ time!
Another 16 bucks and ready for a beer
Fresh air, sunlight, tinnitus
And one day closer to September.

In the summer following his sophomore year in college Dick got a job as a hardrock miner in Fraser, Colorado, where he sometimes saw President Eisenhower at his favorite fishing hole. The pay was $2.02/hour, with time-and-a-half on Saturday. And at the end of that shift he often hitchhiked 75 miles over the Continental Divide to visit his girlfriend in Estes Park, returning on Sunday. He also remembers a throbbing headache after thoughtlessly handling a stick of dynamite with bare hands.