By Alex Busse
Suffocating fumes fester for profit;
Vats of molten steel shimmer gold;
Pressed steel sparks with resplendent array.
Toiling, first shift workers operate the machinery.
Captivated by nothing, yet captive to their work,
Pacing silently, managers yearn for perfection.
Drenched in sweat while wearing a heat proof suit,
Welders mend cracked mill components.
Eleven hours down, one to go!
Meanwhile, those from the second shift are awakening.
Alarms ring, bringing about dread to those
With aching bones and sagging skin around their eyes.
Their bedrooms are filled by the sunset’s warm glow,
Antagonistic to the mill’s industrial light.
Make coffee, take a cold shower, get dressed, and leave the house.
Employees return home to their families in bed.
Walk into the room and collapse onto the mattress.
Sleep takes them immediately, rapt in unconscious bliss.
Soon, though, they have nightmares of waking to an alarm—
Bodies stiff, exhausted, and covered in dried sweat.
There is a ubiquitous prayer to let this slumber last forever.
Moneymakers coax you into their web.
Assembly lines dissembling hopes.
Climb to the top of the ladder only to realize it’s broken.
Provide for your family, only to sacrifice your presence.
“Just imagine the joys of retirement,” they say.
They don’t tell you that you that your body will be broken beyond repair.
Here’s a thought: break free.
That’s what I’d like to say—to command,
Though, I know this cycle isn’t easily broken.
Don’t abandon your livelihood,
Instead, ask whether this cycle is worth living.
Forswear your current ideology,
And swear allegiance to a new life.
Don’t marry food or drink;
Rather, eat, drink, and be merry!
Abandon a life devoted to the plant—the industry,
Sow new seeds. Let a different plant grow!