Take Me Down To Robert Johnson Refinery

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Those men who worked or had worked in the Jones and Laughlin steel mill played into the night by the light cast from the fire of the mill's big smokestack.

Reneé Stout, remembering long night jams on her childhood porch.

I remember the summer I worked sun up to sun down, building barns for Leroy. I'd come home filthy, tired, ragged and sad and I'd pick up my guitar or learn poems until I only had four hours left to sleep. Those smokestacks and steel mills and all their fire are only shadows of the real shadow fire that drives us like burning locomotives to flay our fingers on six steel strings.

When Robert Johnson struck his deal, he traded the seemingly eternal Hell of work that guts a man's soul slowly, over years, for real fires of eternal burning. But in return, he gets to play by the light of the smokestack and throw his sparks until the end. Six strings are the bars of his prison; seven days of the week incarcerate the steel workers. Johnson got the better deal.

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John T. Unger poet

I'm best known as an artist and designer. Relaxing makes me tense, so I tend to put in a lot of hours on diverse projects.

Before becoming a visual artist, I spent 15 years as a poet. I studied poetry at Interlochen Arts Academy, Naropa, Stone Circle and on the streets. I performed my work for years at Stone Circle, solo shows, poetry readings, and at Lollapalooza in 1996.

I still write poems, but only if I can make them fit the constraints ofTwitter.

Mobile: 231.584.2710 (9 to 5 PST only) | Email me

Art IS my day job

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