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Shirt

Rating: 3.6
The back, the yoke, the yardage. Lapped seams,
The nearly invisible stitches along the collar
Turned in a sweatshop by Koreans or Malaysians

Gossiping over tea and noodles on their break
Or talking money or politics while one fitted
This armpiece with its overseam to the band

Of cuff I button at my wrist. The presser, the cutter,
The wringer, the mangle. The needle, the union,
The treadle, the bobbin. The code. The infamous blaze
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COMMENTS
Julia Luber 25 March 2019
Wear a t-shirt that says " My Parents Went To and all I Got Was This T-Shirt From a Sweat Shop! " Actually, great poem and I enjoyed all the specifications and itemizations; I do think clothes are a worthy thing to write poetry about and you do so with painstaking rhythm and poetry well indemnified to the grueling enslavement of tedious work. Nice- I like poems about clothes.
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Edward Kofi Louis 13 March 2018
The Witness! ! With the muse of life. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
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Glen Kappy 13 March 2018
A good example of a poem on, a meditation on, an object. pinsky takes us on an interesting journey beginning and ending with, simply, a shirt. -GK
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Savita Tyagi 13 March 2018
Brilliant and heart touching!
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Bernard F. Asuncion 13 March 2018
Such a brilliant write by Robert Pinsky??????
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Dr Antony Theodore 13 March 2018
At the Triangle Factory in nineteen-eleven. One hundred and forty-six died in the flames On the ninth floor, no hydrants, no fire escapes- this stanza i liked most in this poem...... thinking of the sorrow of the past and remembering the dead....... tony
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Kumarmani Mahakul 14 March 2017
Awesome and intestreting. Thanks for sharing.
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Douglas Scotney 13 March 2017
well-researched and well-expressed
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Seamus O Brian 13 March 2017
This poem seems somber and dark because it is. The author brilliantly contrasts the details of an everyday item with the inhumanity engaged to bring such an item into our closets. This work is a rife condemnation of the exploitation of the sweat-shop employees whose lives are exsanguinated for our opportunity to enjoy the gloss of a bone-simulated button and a stiff collar. Powerful socio-political commentary, and I must agree, Lantz, that it is a grave misfortune that such a message be mis-perceived as a homily to the qualities of a shirt.
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Lantz Pierre 13 March 2017
Do any of the commenters on this site realize the political content of this poem? I'm heartened that some are moved by the aesthetics of it, but the aesthetics are informed by the sad historical facts, facts that remain contemporary in different product manufacturing. The Triangle Shirt fire was a catastrophic event at a sweat shop in New York City. It was the impetus for new laws and regulations protecting workers. Protections that are not that old, but that do not extend to the countries where products are still made for consumption in America. Where workers are subject to slave labor and dangerous working conditions. The poem speaks to event that changed labor and safety laws in America but did not change the conditions for the people who produce those products for American consumers today who live and work under other flags today. Their are altogether too many people on this site reading poems that don't have a fukking clue what they're commenting on. That kind of illiteracy disgusts me.
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