H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






AP Wire Story: “Janitors at Risk”


for years I breathed spray paint, toluol, methanol, xylene

& hi-lo fumes under roaring fans in the factory,

then coal dust in aging boiler rooms, pulled hot clinkers

& breathed those fumes,

inhaled diatomaceous earth, muriatic acid & chlorine vapors

6 years at Lincoln pool,

breathed asbestos in every boiler room I worked, & in tunnels

& mechanical rooms across the city,

inhaled chlordane, wood dust, germicide fumes, stone

cleaners, boric acid dust, ammonia vapors ––

almost my whole adult life, exposed myself daily to human

shit, piss, vomit, mucous, hair &

congealed sweat, menstrual blood, as every janitor does.

today, meetings to save the planet fill the auditoriums

while janitors wheel chemicals that sustain the air conditioning

right past the door where the speakers

have worked themselves into a righteous frenzy!   O sacred

soil, I knew you well when as a child

I sang in your treetops & dove from cliffs to meet

the river god face to face:   I toss a handful over

my shoulder & plant these seeds to keep this dream safe.



[Originally published in NHS 1991, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs91/index.html#17.]