Thursday, November 30, 2006


Dedicated to Pittsburgh's Homeless folks. I have been homeless a number of times in my life. During the 60's by choice and 80's by Ray-Gun. Remember that you might be one pay-check away from being homeless the next time you pass one of us on the street. In case you don't know me, I work for Operation Safety Net as a Homeless Out Reach Worker.

Who are they?
These people in suits
are they as stable as me?
After all, I'm the one who is labeled

Do they ever stop to think
of anyone but themselves?
They work in towers of glass and iron
Eat serf and turf almost every nite
There is a darkness in their eyes
that reflects the smallness of their lives
Maybe, the way I look at suits is the way they look at me?

But I know I don't want to be a suit
I just can't act my age
and I know there's more to life
....Than a Wife
and ....a Red Power Tie

These people in towers of glass and iron
can never touch mother earth
Their heads are too damm high in the clouds
On the street you can get your moneys worth
You look at us like we are trash
You think that living on the street is one big bash
You say we are leaches on society
and have no sobriety
You do more coke and crack than
I've ever seen
You go to clinics to get sober
While I rot away in jail
The judge never gave me that chance
You might have to make it someday
When your towers all crumble
and your bosses will laugh
at your....RED POWER TIE
When your out on the street...Like Me

You could always use your RED POWER TIE
to wipe your lips, after eating your
only meal of the day
at the end of the Rainbow Soup Kitchen line
Your towers will crumble and fall
The future is never guaranteed


TV News

I originally wrote this short meaningful poem about the Oklahoma bombing where 19 children died but as time goes on you can substitute the word Oklahoma for places like Dufar, Palestine, Lebanon, Israel, and Iraq or any place where innocent Children Die.

TV News
covers the war
Bloody Burnt Babies Bodies
Flash across my screen
Making my flesh crawl
Making me think about their families
Babies, That never had a chance to grow up
Making me sadder and sadder everyday

However, Life goes on
here in the un torn land
away from all that kind of strife
unless you live in Oklahoma that is
I'll cry for those dead Babies
as I try and put an end to war

Guess I'll get up now
and change the channel
Watch a cartoon or
something funny
So I won't have to cry
About Dead Babies

In Your Eyes Only Sadness

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Stranger

As I walk this city as a stranger in a strange land
as sidewalks crumble beneath my feet as buildings blaze in the
bright afternoon sunlight
as people scurry about like robots out of control
I have no time to worry or question
What I'm doing here?

A spirit of the mist and mountain
lost among these archaic ruins
of human toil and trouble
I came in search of peace
and found a land lost
in suffering, strife and war

You who destroy with your weapons of mysterious might
You who destroy with chemicals
that pray on the poor and forsaken
as you sit by and watch
and you don't give a damm
as you fail to inspire hope
in the so called lower class
Its so easy for you to place the blame
Its so easy for you to look into faces with no names
Its so easy for you as you while away in your riches
and its so easy for you not to care
as you destroy, plunder and rape
these people, these lands, this earth
As you sit back and throw your
castoff crumbs at humanity

I am a spirit of the mist and mountain
I have no time for your games of war
destruction and inhumanity
I can only hope and pray that someday
(and pray that it comes soon)
Your time will come to and end
and the people will rise up
to take back their plundered land
to awake to a new hope
So I nevermore have to be
A stranger in a strange land

Bring Them Home

Monday, November 27, 2006

War Machine

I can’t stand another day of this administration
Tired of dealing with their lies and degradation
Deception and social regulation rule the day

War machine
Rich boy toy machine
gonna make you into a
mean and lean
fighting machine

Welcome to the machine
my friends to a war
that never ends

a war that never ends
kill kill for peace
Kill children
Kill mothers and fathers
kill grandfathers and grandmothers
in some foreign land

who is the enemy
who is the foe
watch our freedom slowly dissipate
can you relate
all in the name of democracy
This illegal war is an atrocity

I can’t stand another day of this administration
tired of dealing with their lies and degradation
Deception and social regulation rule the day

Enemy Of The State

Mario Savio

"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"

Big Gray Ugly

The Homestead Steel Works early 1900's Homestead, PA

A Steel Workers Tale

This poem is dedicated to the men and women that I worked along side of at US Steel's Homestead Works, Homestead, PA. For 10 years I walked through The Hole In The Wall Gate in that dirty old mill that I came to love and respect. You had to respect her; cause if you didn't you might have gotten injured or even died. I worked along side of Old Timers that had plenty of stories to spin, of fighting for the Union or when there was no Union at all. I worked along side of Summer Rookies that had PHD's after their names; Cause Daddy was a big shot down town and wanted his kid to get a taste of Sweat and Steel. When they closed The Big Gray Ugly, many people lost everything they owned. We became a statistics on unemployment lists, Foreclosure lists, Suicide Lists. Families disintegrated. People left town to find work, as The Steel Valley became The Rust Bowl. This poem is a tale of those times.

The Big Gray Ugly
by Arthur Wolfe

The Big Gray Ugly
Down and dirty
Stands empty, quiet
and alone

It's buildings melting into the ground
as they turn to rust
The ones still standing that is
While others are striped
from the inside out
by the some of the same folk
who worked in them
they packed the machinery
loaded it on barges to send down river
to some non-union town or country

It was proud folks who worked there
that poured the iron and made the steel
before the fire went out
The big gray ugly
was once the pride of Homestead
Pride of the Valley
Pride of the industry

In the early days
many men and even boys
gave their lives
every time a heat was tapped
making steel was very dangerous
Even more so at 25 cents an hour

The company owned the town
The streets, the stores,
company houses, company food
It all came out those
proud folks pockets

If you were lucky and got picked
to work in the shape up
It probably meant that the foreman
was sleeping with your wife
or girlfriend
but she wouldn't tell ya
cause she was happy that you made
$4 for a 16 hour day
and you made it home safe and sound

The Big Gray Ugly
Withstood it all
Through the strike of 1892
Pinkertons, Frick,
Carnegie with his library on the hill
Making steel for armor, tanks, shells
Battleships and Carriers
WWI, WWII, Korea, Nam
Pumping Iron, Making Steel
Empire State and US Steel Buildings
Locks for the Panama Canal
The Brooklyn and Verrazanno bridges
You name it
all that steel came from
The Big Ugly

The Union made its mark with blood and guts
You folks who never worked The Big Gray Ugly
could never understand
that 25 cents an hour as you put
your life on the line every day
was not worth it if something bad happened
like loss of limb or even life
That the nice foreman who slept with
your wife
Wouldn't take care of her or your kids

It was a hot summer day in 1972
That I first walked through
The Hole In The Wall Gate
Wearing my new hard toed shoes
and orange rookie hard hat
The Wandering Hippie Pagan
Meets the Big Gray Ugly

And I felt I had something to prove
After all (I was questioned every day)
What's a nice Pagan kid like you
doing in a hellhole like this?
Digging ditches, Spiking Rails
Just like you!
Track Gang, one step above the Labor Gang
I knew I had something to prove
and then one day I found my niche
They put a torch in my hands
as I cut all the rails
for the central wharf
I felt the history of the Big Gray Ugly
surge through my hands
As I saw the fire of ancient mill workers
pass through my eyes
The spark was lit

Back in 72 we had a company union
that took our dues
and never fought our fights for us
but soon we got together
with folks like
Michelle (Who published the Locals Newspaper)
and took back our union
Gave warning to the Company and the USWA
That Local 1397 was now Rank and File

And as the years went on
And I moved up
now a Forge Craneman
the fire stared to fade
the company's plan became very clear
to one and all
Stockpile, Layoff call em back and then lay em off again
Till the fire became very dim

Man we tried to save our jobs
To save our History
To save our Valley
To Save our Homes
and Families
But US Steal held all the cards
and our history didn't mean shit to them!
after all Mr. Rodrick said
"We're in business to make money"
so on one cold Thanksgiving Day
our sister plant in Youngstown
closed down with out a warning
as most of its workers
got the news on their car radios
while driving to work that day

All the Rank and File locals
pulled together
stormed the US Steal Building
(that was made with our blood)
Protested in DC
But Big Business Bucks Buy Votes
As congress became blind to our pain
It took two years to get
a plant closing bill through
and after all that it was only
a 60 days warning notification
60 days to watch your life go down the tubes

The next Thanksgiving found
the locals unemployed committee
at the mill gates begging money
from those who still worked
so we could have food
on our plates and our kids
have full tummies
But ones days money was not enough
more people kept getting laid off
So we had us a big rock concert
with local bands
Iron City House Rockers
Billy Price and the Keystone Rhythm Band
Rare Experience
Made 15g and opened a food bank
Kept it going with more benefits
Bruce Springsteen came to town
helped out a whole lot

But food banks are Band-Aids
and the real banks became
land grabbers as they scarfed
up our houses because of back taxes
and overdue mortgages

We all pulled together
The Local Unions
Homestead Unemployed Committee
Mon-Valley Unemployed Committee
Tri-State Conference on Steel
We protested, we picketed
We Lobbied, We Tried
and then one day I shall call
the beginning of the end
Came a group of misguided Ministers
who called themselves DMS
who told the union worker
that churches founded the 1st unions
(can you believe that shit?)
and they were there to help

So they misled some of us
and twisted the rest
If your not for us
your against us was their cry
and soon we were split
as the good we were doing
became undone
by their raids on Rich Churches
and Skunk Oil in Banks
as well as little rich kids at parties

We all screamed with rage
as this stuff got the front page
and the company ate it all up
See, we told you their all
Lazy, Radical Bums, we know what we are doing
After all they made too much money
That's why we are opening new mills
in Mexico and paying the workers
1.25 a day as well as closing
13 mills and using the tax break
to buy Marathon Oil

I was on the HighLevel Bridge
That goes across the Mon River
and over The Big Gray Ugly
the night the fire went out
in Open Hearth 5 (OH5)
I had just gotten back
from Youngstown
A Memorial Service
for a fallen brother that day
So I stood there with tears
in my eyes as I thought
of the history and lives
of the ancient mill workers
of the ones who came after
and the kids yet unborn
would never have a chance
to work in The Big Ugly

It was two years later
as I stood on that same spot
Ready to jump, burned out from exhaustion,
depressed by the sight
The Big Ugly was gone
I knew I had done my best to save her