“It’s all right,” officials say, when we seek help.
“You do what you have to do.
Working two jobs, two forty-hour weeks,
has now become a fact of life.”
Nobody seems to question why
we must make bricks by day and gather straw all night.
“That’s how it is,” we tell our children with a sigh
when they ask why we’re never home.
The Invisible Hand wrings profits from the poor
to fill the coffers of the strong.
“It’s always been that way,” they say,
with Pharaohs, nobles and monopolists,
totalitarian dictators and popes and emperors, Kaisers, Ceasars and furers,
and kings and presidents who spent it all on giant, bloody wars.
And now worst yet the corporate Beast must grow or die,
devouring all that’s in its path.
It wasn’t always like this here,
where pioneers rejoiced on their own land.
There was a time not very long ago, barely a generation past,
when normal people got to own a house and car and had time off.
Young people then got to expect a college or a job.
They had time to read books and play guitars, and even travel some.
That’s when McJobs came by, along with tripled rents,
and mammoth car insurance taking what was left.
Those days are gone when people sat to Sunday dinner and played cards.
Folks used to lounge on the front porch and just take in the evening air.
They used to talk and laugh for hours about God knows what,
having a marvelous time without spending a dime.
Now they just sit alone in high-priced tiny rooms,
each bound by rent agreements to remain alone.
They’re not even allowed the comfort of a dog or cat,
which might conceivably engender risk with tooth or claw.
Two forties are now needed to obtain
the same things that were so much easier to get a dozen years ago.
The people must “scale back” and give up more and more
of the important things that they can’t really do without.
Infants are robbed of mothers’ milk and the feel of her heart nearby
as mammals had enjoyed since time began.
Mothers can’t hear their babies’ words or see first steps
because they’re hooked to a cheap job to pay quadrupled rent.
While kissing the rear end of Adam Smith the corporations,
legally human but with no heart, crush humankind.
The Beast this has become leaves in its wake a world of tears,
with destroyed villages, nations, continents, oceans.
The Christly dream of brotherhood is blown to bits
by tons of ordinance dropped on cities and peasant huts.
It’s buried under stacks of holy books with cruel doctrines
as high as piles of shackled men on Iraq’s prison floors.
If TV preachers really have been born again, where is their broken heart?
Do they delight in kicking out the immigrants, in giving “life” for petty crimes?
Do they really believe that soap and water and a flushing john
makes them so different from their brothers suffering in the dust?
We can be sure God knows how many hairs are on each head
of those hungry and hurt, and those slain on the killing fields of phony wars.
God hears the cries of starving Polar Bears, of children with parents in jail.
The whole sad Earth is in distress because the Great Commandment has been breached.