Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bob Reuter to Read at Duff's in the C.W.E. on Monday, February 28

NOTE: Due of a scheduling difficulty Bob Reuter did not read at the February 28 reading. Stephen Iles read in his place.

Bob Reuter will be one of the featured readers at the next reading Monday, February 28, at Duff's, 392 North Euclid. The other featured readers are Steven Schroeder and Catherine Rankovic. Musical guest will be William Kyle. Advance sign-up for the open-mic following the featured readers is encouraged. Doors open at 7:30; cover is $3.00.

Bob says that he "was born right at the end of the industrial revolution in north St. Louis. The inside of his head looks like the landscape from which he grew which is to say desolate. He began playing in rock and roll bands in 1966, began writing in earnest about 1976 and began shooting pictures in 1998. He lived his first eight years in a three room apartment with six women."

Temp Don't Get No Benefits

Jesus Christ! I once worked day labor for an outfit in Syracuse, New York -- place called United Temp -- they had a bumper sticker that read "Life is a temporary situation!" It was the rot gut bottom of temp places -- industrial temp workers -- the guys without cars -- the bottom.

An old guy we called Uncle Len would drive us to the industrial the edge of town. You got back best you could at the end of the day. You make it back before 5:30 you could draw your days pay.

I was once the one man in a "one man industrial soap factory." Lookin' all Devo in danger high-voltage yellow plastic suit come down over my steel toe boots and up into a hoodie -- bug face respirator and scuffed up goggles....

Worked white coated sinking plungers on hypodermic needles -- worked the line in a metal plating factory running heavy racks of tape measure halves with arms extended up over our heads just before they dropped into the vats of burnin' chrome.

Last place I worked was a place called Bristol, which was in some way part of Bristol-Meyers and Bristol labs. They stored hundred pound bags of poison and the ingredients used to make penicillin, on pallets in long rows. Big ass stacks of 'em that I'd sometimes climb on top of late in the afternoons and sleep where the bosses couldn't see me. Did you know you could take penicillin your whole life and then one day you can come into contact with it and your head and throat swell up like a balloon and yer dead?!! Happened there more than once.

Anyway, one day this tractor trailer came in stoked to the gills with hundred pound bags of carbon-black on pallets. The guy in this picture was a carbon-black worker -- something happened, maybe when the truck turned into the shed but a shit load of these stacked bags slid sideways crashing down like some cave-in mining disaster. Somebody had to clean that shit up and don't you know it had to be the temp guys! Some of us had nothin', I had a bandanna -- didn't do a damn bit of good. Jesus! I coughed and blew that black snot out my nose for weeks.

Couple of weeks later I looked down the soft underside of my arm and it was spotted red all the way up to my elbow. Asked my supervisor if he'd ever seen somethin' like that before and they let me go next day. Shit, what the fuck did I care. I was due for a break.

-- Bob Reuter

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