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Charles Rammelkamp

 Doped with Religion, Sex and TV

Working class hero, my foot,” Darleen spat.
“Pampered British rock star’s more like it.
He don’t know nothin’ about no working class,”
she sneered, “and that Jap witch he married.
She’s probly the one who put them ideas in his head.”

Darleen and I worked on the assembly line
at the Capitol Records plant, putting fresh-pressed LPs
into sleeves, the packaged albums into cardboard boxes,
the boxes onto pallets for the forklift guy
to take them away to the loading dock.

“I used to like some of them early songs.
‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’
but you can have this stuff. Working class hero!
Who does he think he’s kidding?”

I stuffed my impulse to defend Lennon,
point out his poverty in postwar Liverpool,
the broken family, the absent sailor father;
mainly offended by Doreen’s naked racism,
pitying her for the misogyny she’d absorbed

from generations of farmers on the prairie.

I was a college student, working part time 
while carrying a full course load.
She was a farmer’s wife, supplementing 
the household finances; in the same boat, really;
only difference was I read books and she didn’t.

What do they say? 
Never argue about religion, politics, or music.
“We got many more Plastic Ono Bands left to package?”

I asked, ignoring her diatribe.
I’d like to take a cigarette break.”

Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore. His poetry collection, A Magician Among the Spirits, poems about Harry Houdini, is a 2022 Blue Light Press Poetry winner. Another poetry collection entitled Transcendence has also recently been published by BlazeVOX Books and a collection of flash fiction, Presto, has just been published by Bamboo Dart Press. A collection of poems and flash called See What I Mean? will be published later this year by Kelsay Books.


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