The steelworkers’ boots
were thick slabs of scuffed leather
and heavy soles with rough-hewn treads,
stitched and crafted,
built for a hostile environment,
forged for steel mills that burned like the devil’s own furnace,
where molten iron hotter than lava
splashed around in crashing waves
of brilliant cinders,
where one could get crushed
under hundreds of thousands of tons of metal.
when they would take pale men with pressed slacks
on factory tours,
the invitation would say
“no open-toed shoes.”
Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist, an Iraq War veteran, an Indiana University graduate, a book reviewer, a photographer, the editor in chief of the Northwest Indiana Literary Journal and a frequent guest on Lakeshore Public Radio. He is a 2017 Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee who has had a play staged at the Detroit Heritage Theatre Festival, who has showcased his photography at the Oddtropolis Art Show in San Fransisco, who has read his work for the Fictitious series on the iO Theater stage and who was named the poet laureate of Chicago BaconFest, a feat that Geoffrey Chaucer chump never accomplished. His literary or photographic work has appeared or is forthcoming in more than 100 journals, including Poetry Potion, The Tipton Poetry Journal, Chicago Literati, The Vignette Review, Voicemail Poems, Dogzplot, Proximity Magazine, Stoneboat, The High Window, Synesthesia Literary Journal, Steep Street Journal, Beautiful Losers, New Pop Lit, The Grief Diaries, Gravel, The Offbeat, Oddball Magazine, The Perch Magazine, The First Line, Bull Men’s Fiction, Rising Phoenix Review, Thoughtful Dog, shufPoetry, The Roaring Muse, Prairie Winds, Blue Collar Review, The Rat’s Ass Review, Euphemism, Jenny Magazine, Vending Machine Press and elsewhere. He should have gone to bio writing school to learn how to write a better bio.