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by Harry
Rated: ASR · Poetry · Business · #1852109
Free-verse poem about the economic situation as viewed by many blue-collar young adults.
My family had a proud tradition
of blue-collar careers.
My pa, my uncles, and
my grandpa before them,
all worked their whole lives
in the pipe-fabricating mill.
It was hard, hot, dirty work that
sent you home with salt rings
staining your blue shirt.
It was real man’s work.
The mill got shut down years ago,
those jobs gone overseas.
Gone overseas. Gone.

My ma and her sisters spent
their lives sewing garments
in the textile mill … until those
jobs followed Pa’s overseas.
Now Ma cashiers at Wal-Mart,
part-time, no benefits.
Part-time. No benefits.

Money is tight these days.
Pa does what he can, odd jobs
and such. Nobody wants to hire
a sixty-year-old man without
college training. Pa resents
having Ma be the main breadwinner.

My sisters, brothers, and I don’t
see much in the way of a future
unless we can get a college degree
and do office work of some sort.
There ain’t no manly jobs left
in this community for me.
Where am I gonna get money
for college? I ain’t no sports star.
The Army and fighting in whatever
Middle Eastern war we got looks
like my ticket out of here.
That or move overseas for a job!

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