Poem – The Stop & Shop Strike (By Robert Ronnow)

The Stop & Shop Strike

The Stop & Shop strike
v. Game of Thrones. In Game
what’s not made plain
is the condition of the people
compared with warriors and queens.
There is no mention of land-clearance, tree-felling, pruning, chopping, digging, hoeing, weeding,
branding, gelding, slaughtering, salting, tanning, brewing, boiling, smelting, forging, milling, thatching,
fencing and hurdle-making, hedging, road-mending and haulage.
As for the strike, most of us
supported the workers—
cutting benefits and pensions
when CEOs make millions.
A few pennies more
for ice cream and tofu
a leg up for our neighbors
and comrades in labor. But
don’t get greedy, power-hungry—
we don’t want the supermarket to go out of business
or the Army of the Dead to extinguish us.

The low-intensity daily warfare of democracy
v. the iron calm of autocracy that eventually explodes
in revolution. The climate is changing
and still I feel no clear purpose,
see no obvious way to make a contribution
except as a part-time tutor,
volunteer ESL instructor for immigrants,
school bus driver, supermarket bagger.
Let labor flow like capital! Full tank of gas!
In your dreams, you kick ass.
In your daydream, you’re breaking bones, killing mean dogs with bare hands.
In my childhood dreams, I fought side by side with my best buddies against the Army
of the Dead.

The strike is over, like a thunderstorm.
Still a half dozen or so episodes of Thrones
before it sinks into the past.
Will women save the world?
Anything is possible.
Nothing changes in Williamstown, Willie, except the seasons.
The wee hours, the bored minutes, the second guesses,
the town sewer department, the collector of taxes.
Pitcher’s elbow, runner’s knee, reader’s eye,
you live until you die.
That’s no answer.
Without the Mexican and Canadian borders
the White Walkers would dissolve like an aspirin in seltzer water.

The sun is up, the strike is over
next episode of Game is Sunday
the White Walkers attack
some of our favorite characters croak
but I guess humanity survives
though the weather stays ominous.
I’m reading SciAm
about the habitable zone around the sun
moving outward as the orb expands
getting hotter as it goes under.
That Earth a billion years ago
was smack in the middle of the turf
but we’re now half-in, half-out
exposed to the sun’s ardor, agony.
The sun a dragon eating its babies, torching cities
we’re gonna hafta outsmart it
hold Labor Day barbecues on Mars.

Author Bio: Robert Ronnow

Robert Ronnow's most recent poetry collections are New & Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007) and Communicating the Bird (Broken Publications, 2012). Visit his web site at