You Never Thanked the Poor

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by William Gillespie

dedicated to Che Guevara, Harry Mathews, and Dr. Seuss

A soft life made you hard, you grew a shell
But who’s that singing songs outside your door
They’re here because you never thanked the poor
The ones who let you live so very well
Go to the door, I hear the bell
Now is your chance to thank the poor
Civilization’s compressed core
In Mozambique and Ecuador
In East Timor and Baltimore
The Philippines and Salvador
In Harlem, Watts, and Singapore
Who stitched each shoe you ever wore
Who built your car, who clean your floor
Who stock your food, who run your store
Who guard your prisons, fight your war
So sweaty starving stiff and sore
Whose labor is an awful chore
A torturous, godawful bore
Your pastry chef and stevedore
Your longshoreman and furthermore
Your pastor, proctor, professor
Conductor, author, commodore
Mortician, coroner and more
Are here to hear the words you tell
Them when you hear the words they yell
You never thanked the poor
Who let you live that way
You never thanked the poor
Who let you live that long
You never thanked
The poor who let
You live

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