Wednesday, January 19, 2011


the derricks.
the twisting drill steel.
the dance of labor.
on the drill deck floor.
calls out to me.
they ran two, twelve-hour shifts.
the endless cadence.
tha-thump...tha-thump...tha thump.
as the drill steel twists and turns.
these were hughes bits.
A-grade carbon-diamond bits.
the hardest known to man.
patented by howard hughes.
they got stuck anyway.
we acidized holes.
used tv cameras to see our dilemnas.
there were blowouts.
we climbed.
never any rest.
the work was non-stop.
for leather men.
with calloused hands.
all absorbed.
in the tasks at hand.
we were part of the machine.
the game was played.
in heat.
in cold.
in desperation.
my heart was hardened.
like case hardened steel.
then it was lost.
on these drill decks.
these derricks of steel.
in smoky bar rooms.
between legs of whores.
oh, to find comfort.
in whiskey.
and speed.
and so much more.
then nightmarish sleep.
it was never enough.
'til the next shift.
sometimes two in a row.
in search of black gold.
in some texas town.
and dreams which never came true.
the memories,
and scars,
are the only bounty,
that remains.


  1. very powerful, richard, so rich in description and pain as if it were yesterday. slave work has taken so much from us, given us so little in return except our broken backs and dreams. xoxoxo

  2. I once had a dream of becoming an Oceanographer to search for oil in the Ocean...then i watched a documentary about the Ocean oil rigs and thought..."These guys are absolutely insane" ...I would never want to be one of those guys on the looked terribly dangerous and incredibly hard work...I hope they got paid well? mj

  3. They get paid well Mike...I worked on drill decks for 2 years.