• Matthew Fox

Wraiths of Graph

To the tune of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”

Listen closely, hear that? It’s a steady, low and trembling

hum that’s in the air, rumbling, crackle that’s assembling

a static on the wires buzzing, like nothing yet resembling

a conference call to arms



Your census doesn’t sense us since its refinery’s designed

to weed us out, to cull us into reject bins, we’re reassigned

for processing, for products at the barrel’s bottom, grind

at the margins off the books

Our hungers for redemption click on coupon rebate codes

our angers at the one percent we soothe on rerun episodes

of Real Housewives help us exorcize the ghost of Tom Joad

just queued itself on Spotify

The borders of her garment only we know how to hem

she poured herself a glass of white once we dried the stem

her mail order package just arrived from Bethlehem

handmade Nativity for Christmas

The steel mill was founded just before the Civil War

it helped the Union effort, iron rails shore to shore

but tariffs didn’t help it and it finally closed its doors

until the Sands Casino opened

There’s an outlet mall and parking’s free at the new hotel

Emeril’s got three restaurants and nightlife’s going swell

if you thought that times were tough you could never tell

from all the ringing slots

Year round A-list performers play, there’s boxing and trade shows,

the Food and Wine Fest in May benefits student chefs who go

through Northampton’s cooking school, all graduates will know

successful skills and recipes

In the growing shadows of the shuttered plants and factories

in the migrant camps and gutters living, dying to be free

of free time off the clock and lacking labor’s dignity

our youth are smoking weed

And growing more and more of it, the plants are budding wild

we’re bringing farm jobs back, it’s all sweet and kind and mild

we’re adding to the tax base, making medicine for your child

it’s a miracle cure for many

For twenty years the dealers pushing Oxy from Purdue

fed loose-script doctors, six-figured sales reps who knew

the market, shark law firms to keep the regulators true

to laissez-faire for overdoses

Let the heroes born of woman rise, it’s all too much by now

Republicans and Democrats, they’re all plutocrats anyhow

let’s occupy the White House, defund Wall Street somehow

revolution is our only hope

In the shade of steel glass towers, on cables stiff with cold

in static on statistic feeds, our numbers young and old

our desperate chill is rising, our reckless courage bold

our tools are in our hands

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