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Jack Hirschman/ Poem

Something Basic

     For Local 87 AFL-CIO

Something basic like night

when sleepers are unaware their nightmares

are being swept away so their dreams can

put on their best,

when the dust of yesterday's deals

is cleared from the four corners of office

machines sleeping with one eye open.

Something basic like giant

moustaches of brooms sweeping across

the sidewalks of childhood, through schoolrooms

and libraries so that even old books feel

spanking new.

Someone basic as a fuse

in the cellar of a tenement darkened by lightning,

one who makes sure water comes out of the faucets,

maintains the necessary order of things at the highest

level of discreet invisibility like simplicity itself,

is often the indiginous immigrant at the root

of what makes the whole show continue,

the human janitor, who must not be slashed

like a throwaway book by the cut-crazy backstabbers

of the people, the he or she who is the real

governor of the state of things

still possibly human.