Posted by: mesabimisadventures | July 13, 2009

I’m Just a Common Man

Aaron Brown over at Minnesota Brown recently had a posting about the proposed Enbridge pipeline and the Duluth News-Tribune’s recent editorial about it.  It struck a chord so here I go…

I’m an Operating Engineer on the pipeline,
tickling the joysticks of a D7 ‘dozer.
The protestors and the media don’t see me.
After all, I’m just the man with the blue collar.

A 40-hour week for me would be part-time,
working hard, safe and proud as a Union member.
While you get to crawl into bed with your wife at night,
I’m cuddling up with pictures of my family in my camper.

I’m the guy society doesn’t acknowledge.
And I’ll be the first to admit I look a little rough.
My hair’s getting shaggy from being on the road so long,
my jeans are stained and I’m pretty much always chewing snuff.

My briefcase is the dashboard of my pickup.
My hardhat and steel toes are my suit and tie.
I wouldn’t last one hour in a cubicle.
Give me a horizon.  Give me an open sky.

I’m 500 miles away from my family and home,
tucking the pipeline securely into the Earth.
You stand on your podium, waving your signs,
questioning the pipeline and my job’s worth.

You say mining the oil sands is destructive
and that the pipeline will destroy the land.
You will use your signs, your tears and your lawyers
to make sure this project and others are banned.

 Guys like me don’t get their voices heard.
We don’t have time with our noses to the grindstone.
You think your protests will hurt those in the Ivory Towers
but they only take out those of us who are homegrown.

You wanna’ fight what you see as evil corporations.
Hey, I can understand,
when all you’ve seen are the headlines
but you’ve never sat in my cab and saw things firsthand.

You won’t affect the corporations in the long run.
And I can guarantee that the U.S. will still crave the oil.
I’m the one your protests will affect the most significantly
in your sincere attempts to protect the water and the soil.

I take pride in the work that I do,
ensuring that the U.S. meets its energy needs.
I carefully place the Earth over the pipes,
readying it for the men with the mulch and the seeds.

I’m a country boy, a farm boy and
I grew up with my hands in the Earth.
If anyone understands your concerns, it’s me.
I understand the land’s intrinsic value and worth.

We don’t need to be enemies, you and I.
I’m just busting my tail to do safely what needs to be done.
We both want affordable energy, clean soil/water and jobs.
To adequately meet all three goals, we have to learn to work as one.



  1. hello, i work daily with your brother Tallpine, really like your “lines”/”poem you wrote about the pipeline. When I read the copy Tallpine handed me I got goose pumps,everything is so true, are you sure you have not worked with us a couple of years? Awesome letters you have wrote keep up the good work! Hope to meet you sometime while we are working from Deer River to Superior this winter.

    • Your comment really made my day. My big brother’s my hero and I’m glad I was able to capture some of what it’s like for you guys working out there. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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