Taking a Break at the Labor Arts Exchange

I’m at the Labor Arts Exchange.
	Convened at the AFL-CIO Meany Center.
Three days of training, talking, swapping songs,.
	brainstorming, arguing, selling CD’s, tapes, posters and buttons.
Professional organizers, professional musicians, rank and file activists:
	all swapping war stories. 

In back of the dorms a small stream was dammed
when this was still a Catholic seminary.
Stone shrines still stand guard, 
although their statues are long gone.
The old pond is lined with rushes.
	Ducks! Geese! Mallards!  They swim,
		or walk on the strip of lawn 
			between the pond and the pin oaks
				which almost hide the officeplex next door.

The flock honks loudly when disturbed.
	This summer day all is quiet.
		a duck dives for a morsel: listen to the splash.
			Look at the ripples, distorting
				the reflection of the blue sky.

The guitars and the singing is barely audible.
	Some of the songs are new, written this year. 
The impassioned discussions cannot be heard.
	But I know what is being said.
How do we rally the troops?
	How do we reach the kids?
		How do you deal with hostile talk show hosts?
			Where can you put a mural to maximize the impact?
“We’ve been out over a year.
	How can we win this strike?”

The ducks are swimming purposefully.
	The ripples that they make
		spread outward.
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