Academic journal article Social Alternatives

Working Alone

Academic journal article Social Alternatives

Working Alone

Article excerpt

when you work alone

you can swear at yourself

fart freely and spit where you want to

wipe your nose on your sleeve

the trees don't care

there is no etiquette

and it all comes out in the laundry

you can swear at the job to be done

and the tools you use

argue with wood and wire

steel and dirt

maybe the mosquitoes that mob you

the bracken fern and grass in a tangle

the bushes and brambles that bite

all the work of farm and garden

of carpentry and shed repairs

all the long hours of fencing

up along the stony barren ridge

or down in the willows by the creek

the digging and pulling and mulching

of weeds that won't go away

the come and go of the seasons

the ins and outs of a day

the back and forth with buckets

and hammer and pliers and rakes

among bull-ants that hang on with pincers

or fantails that flutter and dance

or flies that swarm round your face

with blockbuster and chainsaw and axe

with a hip-load of cheap wooden droppers

and a couple of expensive steel stakes

with or without those worn-out gloves

and occasional glances for snakes

with whatever it takes

to finally get there and do it

to walk there and do it alone

in hot sun so the sweat stings your eyes

or in rain that soaks to the bone

and while hands and muscles are busy

doing what has to be done

your thoughts fly the coop like raptors

and roam the world before they come home

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