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Councilmember Nick Licata
Phone: 206-684-8803
Fax: 206-684-8587
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"Words' Worth" Poetry Readings

Poets at the Culture, Arts, and Parks Committee of the Seattle City Council.

Get To Know Your Jacket by Murray Gordon

Reach into the closet for your jacket
and grasp the collar which was sewn on by
Nan. She has a quota of twenty-eight
dozen per day. Thrust a hand into one
sleeve and twist the other hand into the
second one. They were set by Sideth and
immediately after topstitched by
Chong. Their machines are adjacent but they
are not allowed to speak to each other
for forty hours a week, fifty-two
weeks a year. Smooth the jacket around you
torso. Larita bodyseamed it for
you. She's been doing that job for more than
fifteen years breathing in lint all that time.

That the left and right fronts of your jacket
should match, Khamdy personally took a
marking pencil and marked your zipper at
the neck, yoke and waistband. Last year, she set
front zippers. The pocket welts were cut by
Eulalia who stands on her feet for
eight hours a day at the Reece machine.
The pocket zippers were set by Honee
who is so good that you will never
see a pucker at the corners because
she must make repairs on her own time. When
you put your keys, comb and change into
the pockets, you can do so with confidence.
They won't fall through because Jojo is the
pocket bagger. She is so fast that it
isn't necessary for her to think
anymore. William cut out the pattern -
360 ply. There is
not a moment anymore when he does
not hear the buzz of the cutting machines.

Pauline supervised the sewing line. They
gave her a raise, put her on salary
and now they don't have to pay her over-
time when the plant works on Saturdays. George
is the owner. He comes in late and leaves
early, takes two hour lunches and he
does not know the names of any workers.

Your jacket comes as an experienced
traveler. Ordered in Seattle from
a catalogue company in Maine, the
fabric was shipped from a Massachusetts
mill to the contractor in Seattle,
reshipped to a subcontractor in North
Carolina, sewn there and reshipped back
to Seattle to be inspected, tagged
and bagged, reshipped to Maine and then shipped to
your home address in Seattle. When you
wear the jacket no one will be able
to see any of this. What they will see
on the left front is a small label with
the name of a dead man woven on it

This page was last updated: January 8, 2000
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