When a Factory’s Life Ends

Economic Poem, Empathy Poetry, Free Verse Poetry

Foul gray smoke once belched
from tall red brick stacks
A bittersweet sign of life–
the old factory was still working

The smoke has now ended
along with the noisy metal-banging
that kept men busy
from sun up till sun down

The iron gates are chained shut
Never again, will they greet the dark faces
of hardened men with stale breath
from strong black coffee and cigarettes

Too easy to blame, too many strikes
for the factory’s foreboding silence
but hungry workers elsewhere, willing
to work for much less
and customers needing less metal
are just as much the reason
why the dark faces have grown much darker

The mill is history–
a cold, lifeless archeological ruin
So are the paychecks that paid the bills
giving small consolation to the two thousand men
laughing at each other’s lame jokes
dreaming of days
they wouldn’t have to work so hard

Now that day has come, and
their dreams and jokes both have ended.

The Slow Economic Bleeding Takes Its Toll

Economic Poem, Empathy Poetry, Free Verse Poetry

So many small towns
Desperate
Down on their luck
Fallen, and
unable to get back up
No way to revive opportunity

I’ve seen their faces…
all those workers, young and old
losing it all, including their dreams
More than they ever imagined–
gone, like a vanishing ghost
leaving them cold and empty

Times have been tougher
like the Great Depression
but the slow economic bleeding
is taking its toll everywhere
Hope is still out there, but
wrapped in unfamiliar clothes