POEM: Peter, George, John, Joseph, Silas, Henry and Tom

Photo of the site of the battle by Jason Crane.

Peter, George, John, Joseph, Silas, Henry and Tom

pop!pop!pop!

Pinkerton rifles filling the air
with smoke & screams & blood

pop!pop!pop!

men of iron & steel
men of flesh & bone

pop!pop!pop!

the ground soaks up the evidence
the birds scatter; no witnesses

now: the furnaces shut, rusting
mud colors the Monongahela

two robins rest on a sign
listing the names of the dead

/ / /

Jason Crane
21 Feb 2018
Pittsburgh PA

This poem is inspired by the Battle of Homestead, which took place just down the road from my hotel. On July 2, 1892, Pinkertons hired by a steel company murdered seven striking workers, all members of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. Three Pinkertons were also killed. Shortly thereafter the government used the state militia to bust the strike and break the union. The poem’s title is a list of the names of the seven murdered workers.

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