Thursday, August 11, 2016

a second annual poetry reading with berks bards at goggleworks in the city of reading.

at berks bards' first thursday poetry open mic at goggleworks in the city of reading, where this project stood as the main feature before the second half of the night, we had about 20 people in attendance, including ed jastrzembski from the latest upcoming volume and linda steffy from the first collection of poems. since steffy has such a memorable story, audiences of new people always enjoy taking in her recollections.

thank you graciously to nancy hemberger for assisting with photography at this reading.

below is a long excerpt from jastrzembski's poem. he visited to be the main guest from this year's selection of poems, along with his family. born in 1939, he resides in bern township.


i picked up my welding skills in the u.s. navy during peace
time, not an era of war. we’d been in japan, singapore, hong 
kong, and india, crew members for aircraft carriers in sky. 
then back at home, my eyes skimmed the newspaper, an ad

for a job. reading bodies interviewed me, gave me a welding 
test. i passed. i started maybe in 1961. by day, i made a home
in the body shop in special divisions where we fabricated

parts for utility bodies like ambulances, fire rescue trucks.
shelving doors, floors—we welded what was needed. in 1967,
i quit to take a job at cartech on bern street at the edge
of the city of reading, not far from the schuylkill river.

the tiniest and most massive heaps of metal out in our
world often come from the heat and bending of carpenter
steel. the tools a dentist uses on your teeth, seatbelt latches,

filaments in headlights of cars, the silver shine of fuel 
injectors, oneida’s forks and spoons, the lunar module, 
landing gear on f/a-18 hornets—one had its first flight 
in 1978. with my wife’s two knee replacements, chances are 

that titanium or stainless steel built into her is from cartech. 
i went into what they called the labor gang, bidding on jobs 
in different departments until they finally hired me as 

a ladleman in the melt shop. that ladle hung from a huge 
overhead crane. i poured into rounded molds in succession. 
about 35 tons of molten steel sat waiting. i did cold-rolling
for three years. at the #4 mill next to route 12, i rolled wire.


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