Oyster Boy Review 10  
  January 1999
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» Levee 67


E. Pluribus Aluminum

Thomas McDade

When I left the Navy, jobs were easy.
Worked three-week stints for a year.
EPS Industries was the first
assembling doors and windows second shift.
The company motto was E. Pluribus Aluminum.
  Some guys on the payroll were from the project
where I grew up.
  We remembered swearing never
to slave in a Goddamned factory.
  One Friday we got drunk on Four Roses
near Dunnell's Pond after work,
sat on a wall WPA constructed,
discussed where we'd be working next.
  Someone said Apex Rubber was hiring.
Piecework was their game.
Hell, they paid time-and-a-half for showering!
  Man, it was like a chorus in a song
the way we all chimed at once:
fuck that filthy hole—E. Pluribus Aluminum!
  We roamed the project after that,
quizzing each other on who lived
in which blocks when we were kids.
We shouted those names like the lives behind them
were the stuff of mottos we planned to live by.