This poem is inspired by the documentary Blood on the Mountain which tells the story of the coal mining industry in West Virginia.

This poem is also inspired by my recent trip to Whitney Plantation down in Louisiana. Check it out. You may learn something.

Silicosis

Don’t tell me you didn’t see no dust

The closest thing to unforgivable is slavery

And you made me dirty and treated

Me like a machine

Give me your tired, give me your poor

But I’ll put you in a grave

And you’ll be ignored

For generations and generations

While yearning to be free

As the rich remain the comparative few

All the

While becoming disjointed as a country

And dishonored by the bloodshed

Workers have rights!

It can’t all be about sex and death and money

While being gradually regimented into nothing

But I refuse to bow and stay in the system

That is the history of America

Conscious of its ignorance

It’s distorted visions of reality

In no way true or passionate or honest

You cannot scrub away the blood

Off of that West Virginian mountain

You cannot put a nice bow around death

And then say everything is better

But if a few folks get killed in the name

Of progress

Well hey, that’s life, god bless