sun circle picasso

Working My Way Through College
by Marion Deutsche Cohen

I didn’t mind that factory job, piecework, folding big plastic bags into tiny packets, as many as I could in eight hours. It was a challenge, a game, those eight hours passed like eight minutes. And besides, my co-workers were great, five or six of us around the big greyish table in a small greyish room. The others were not working their ways through college. One had three kids at home, one was pregnant, none except me were white. And they taught me songs. pretty songs, songs from their countries, we sat and folded and sang away the eight hours. We were being exploited, paid less than minimum wage, and I later reported it, a political thing I could write about, but when I found a less exploitative typing job the eight hours passed like eight days, nobody knew any pretty songs and anyway, when you’re typing in a big room full of other typing, we wouldn’t have been able to hear.

IMAGE: “Sun Circle” by Pablo Picasso (1959).


Marion Deutsche Cohen
’s latest poetry books are Truth and Beauty (WordTech Editions – about the interaction among students and teacher in her course, Mathematics in Literature that she developed at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA. Her books total 27, including two memoirs about spousal chronic illness and including Crossing the Equal Sign (Plain View Press, about the experience of and her passion for mathematics) and including two controversial memoirs of spousal chronic illness. It’s been over 50 years, but she’ll never forget those boring summers at her second job.