Old man Forest sat on his front porch,
like he sat for the past 50 year,
with cool breeze in his hair
and a tune in his ear.

He been around the block a
few time or more.
And he seen the change
many a time before.

Used to be, he'd say to his kids,
the neighbors would mow
lawns on Saturday;
church on Sunday, go

to work on Monday.
Used to be that kids would
be in school from 8 to 4
and would rush home for supper.

They'd do they homework.
Moms would do they housework.
Dads would do they lawn work,
Families would do the hard work.

What happened to us? he'd ask,
his little whistle squeaking across
his perfectly white teeth.
Frankly, as I breathe, I am at a loss.

It must be an illness.
it must be an infestation.
Look at them there, staring at
blue-light manifestations,

He'd cluck his tongue, shake
his head, before he continued.
I help'd built this country, workin'
my hands raw to the roots.

I woke at 4. Walked at 5.
Worked at 6. Walked at 5.
Cooked at 6. Bathed at 8.
Slept at 9. Did it again just fine.

These kids, he'd say. These kids
don't know the value of working
the fingers raw, working 'til you're
out of breath. Working.

And, it's spreading like wildfire,
like a bad cold or the flu.
It's spreading around to the
thinkers and dreamers like me and you.

It's in our flesh, it's in our bones.
It's sinkin into our minds and souls.
It's crawling, creeping, seeping,
And I don't know where it'll be next, all told.

And then, he'd just sit there,
and stare at the trash flowing down
the gutter. He'd cluck his tongue,
rolls his eyes, and kick the ground.


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