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  Denise Dee
Denise Dee
Denise Dee
is a playwright, poet, photographer and autofictionist. She edited and published the seminal punk litzines Lobster Tendencies and The Closest Penguins. Her first play The Family Tree received "Best of the Fringe" at the S.F. Fringe Festival. Some of her favorite places she's been published are Primal Primers, Znine, Solo Flyer, Street Spirit, and Zyzzyva. Her autobiography Sowkins was printed with money raised from Denise's zine and punk communities, and friends.

Flames



Denise Dee
The flame from the mill looks like an Olympic torch
held high
we struggle to keep our heads up
in this neighborhood of workers
we're barely holding onto houses, food, jobs

I see a commercial in the breakroom at the supermarket where I now work
i have finally joined the long line of women
in my family who stood at work all day carrying plates, buckets, curlers, combs, dye,
knives, forks, napkins, plates
the commercial says 'Bush's steel plan is working'
and something about unfair competition from other countries
to call the number on the screen to keep the program going
i don't even watch tv at home
but here in the breakroom at the supermarket
it drones on
and my coworkers talk of 'the stories'
and i smile because that's what they called soap operas in Pittsburgh

i don't have a pen to write down a number
of Bush's steel program
i can be fired for stealing anything from the company
and that includes going home with a pen
so I don't dare put one in my pocket
the tv blares like one from another decade
and i watch this city try not to slip any further behind
the hospital down the street is closing
no one goes anymore to live or die there
the church bells used to ring
one time for each year of a persons life
when they died in a room there
they don't do that anymore
but I can still see the steel mills flame when I stand in front of
the hospital
life goes on in strange ways
openings and closings
are rampant here
they're putting in a dollar store
next to the new clinic
next to the grocery store
a customer in line tells me
that the store i stand working in
is closing within a year
I'm happy at the thought
of collecting unemployment



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