Heartland

Pioneer.

I was born in a small town…

Once vital and necessary, 
now a sad, meager crust.

Depressed old people 
shuffle broken sidewalks.

Empty store fronts, 
boarded up buildings,
for lease signs, 
despairing diners,
lost strip malls, 
struggling meth labs.

Entropy keeps on eating.

Young people are chickens
no longer come home to roost.
children no longer play 
on its silent streets.

Its citizens are now
rednecks, white trash,
hicks, deplorables.

No way out but a body bag.

The cities disdain
its death throes.

Not a town anymore, only
the fading memory of a town,

The future marched away 
to Palo Alto or Brooklyn
abandoning it to slow death.

Its jobs now live in China.

Narrative deserted it.
All the stories it
told itself were wrong.

Dreams have departed, 
especially the
one called American.

Towns have souls
until they don’t.

No coming back. No 
resurrection of the body.
No gathering at the river.
No sweet bye and bye.

Nebraska, Pennsylvania,
Oklahoma or Maine.

Only one of thousands
of metastasizing sores
on the decaying corpse
of a dying empire
strung along two lane
blacktop to nowhere,


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