SMOKE of the fields in spring is one,
Smoke of the leaves in autumn another.
They all go up in a line with a smokestack,
Or they twist … in the slow twist … of the wind.
If the north wind comes they run to the south.
If the west wind comes they run to the east.
By this sign
know each other.
Smoke of the fields in spring and leaves in autumn,
Smoke of the finished steel, chilled and blue,
By the oath of the work they swear: “I know you.”
Hunted and hissed from the center
Deep down long ago when God made us over,
Deep down are the cinders we came from—
You and I and our heads of smoke.
Some of the smokes God dropped on the job
Cross on the sky and count our years
And sing in the secrets of our numbers;
Sing their dawns and sing their evenings,
Sing an old log-fire song:
You may put the damper up,
You may put the damper down,
The smoke goes up the chimney just the same.
Smoke of a city sunset skyline,
Smoke of a country dusk horizon—
They cross on the sky and count our years.
Smoke of a brick-red dust
Winds on a spiral,
Out of the stacks
For a hidden and glimpsing moon.
This is the slang of coal and steel.
The day-gang hands it to the night-gang,
The night-gang hands it back.
Stammer at the slang of this.
Let us understand the half of it.
At Baitball 02, Pogliano a Mare, Italy
w. Hanna Umin, Halo, MRZB, Joe Greer, Alex de Roeck, Valerie You
Curated by Torre Alain for Like a Little Disaster
Text by Carl Sandburg
Adiitional photos by Urbain Checcaroni