home page Ekphrasis exhibition homepage Ekphrastic Poetry about Photography :: Casey Campbell Oregon photojournalist :: Poetry by Steve Jones
Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon
Ekphrastic poetry & photography art and history exhibition
Ekphrasis: Poets Ponder Photographs

photo by Casey Campbell
Photo by Casey Campbell


Oregon poet Steve Jones
Steve Jones


I. Remember: This photo reminds me
of concrete floors on frozen winter
nights -- walking, kneeling, crawling
on cold concrete, weaving among
jumping, spinning, extruding belts
and humming motors, talking with
operators, packers, sorters, tenders
and millwrights -- all working to
keep the heavy machinery going.
Millwrights diagnose and build and
repair -- the machinery healers.

II. From Scratch: I love the way welders
and machinists can start with cold-
rolled-steel -- round and flat stock,
fashioning intricate machines,
inventing sturdy devices to spin or roll
or sit solidly in one place, building the
durable goods, the long-lasting
machinery that extracts electricity
from water, air or steam -- making the
fifty-year machines in a throw-away
world -- built to last.

III. Graveyard: He works fabrication on
rotating shift, welding and sleeping all
hours -- day and night. His biological
clock may never recover -- remaining
permanently out of phase with family,
friends, store hours, sun and moon.
Working as scheduled to keep assembly
going twenty-four/seven, he can deal
with this, but the family suffers --
so much happens while he's at work
or sleeping. The world leaves him behind.

by Steve Jones, 2010

Steve Jones is the founding Co-Director of the Oregon Writing Project at Willamette University, has directed the four week intensive Summer Institute for twenty kindergarten through college teachers for fifteen years and presents writing workshops at OWP, NWP, OCTE, NCTE, ORA and other conferences. He is mostly retired from years of teaching college essay writing at Chemeketa, WSU, OSU, Sprague and West Salem High Schools and husbands a thirty acre woods with his lover of forty years, Ana Maria. Steve's essays, stories and poems have appeared in Calapooya Collage, Oregon State Poetry Association winners anthologies, Dragonfly, Eloquent Umbrella, Fireweed, Greenfield Review, Manzanita Review, Northwest review, Oregon English Journal, Oregonian, OSU Prism, Quickfiction, Slackwater Review, Willamette Journal of Liberal Arts and others.