Gary Soto

(April 12, 1952 / Fresno, California)

Mission Tire Factory, 1969


All through lunch Peter pinched at his crotch,
And Jesús talked about his tattoos,
And I let the flies crawl my arm, undisturbed,
Thinking it was wrong, a buck sixty five,
The wash of rubber in our lungs,
The oven we would enter, squinting
---because earlier in the day Manny fell
From his machine, and when we carried him
To the workshed (blood from
Under his shirt, in his pants)
All he could manage, in an ignorance
Outdone only by pain, was to take three dollars
From his wallet, and say:
"Buy some sandwiches.You guys saved my life."

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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  • Lee Mack (12/22/2009 10:08:00 AM)

    the real poetry is conscience transcending what we make of moments -of events that
    it seems to us as real as it gets -we take them with us because we need them to be real -then conscience everlasting gets into a poem where the real thing is... you put it there in this poem my brother (Report) Reply

  • Lee Mack (12/22/2009 9:02:00 AM)

    the real poetry is conscience transcending what we make of moments -of events that
    it seems to us as real as it gets -we take them with us because we need them to be real -then conscience everlasting gets into a poem where the real thing is... you put it there in this poem my brother (Report) Reply

  • James Mcfetridge (11/8/2009 1:36:00 PM)

    Gary Soto takes us into the dark & dangerous world of work from his youth. The gritty, bleak mood & tone reminds me of John Steinbeck's 'In Dubious Battle' (Report) Reply

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