• Tyler Bauer

cracks in the foundation



they say to you through gritted teeth

cigarette and coffee stained

that you can do

anything

you put your mind to


but they don’t tell you the whole truth

no,

they never mention

the feelings


of doubt


of failure


of loneliness


that form together


one after one.

one after one.


like brick and mortar

over your only window

until all the

light

that came through is

now a shadowed silhouette

of your youth

gone.


no, they won’t tell you the truth,

but I will:



that

they need more

and

they want less.





more machinists and factory foreman

on assembly lines

to keep the machines running


with grease

and sweat

and blood

and

less writers

to keep the machines from thinking




they need more soldiers trudging through dust and mud

on foreign lands

for a reason

but

less men in suits

to decide the

reason.



most of all

though


they need

more prisoners

behind steel bars

with physical and mental shackles

that dig into the top layer of skin


pink

and

raw

on

the painters

and sculptors

and poets

and kids

from the gutters


raised by city park basketball hoops

with chain nets

or no nets

or no hoops at all

just nameless numbers to be filed away

alphabetically in manila folders

and thin metal boxes

names to breathe in fiberglass crystals

9 hours a day

for 40 years

to retire with a pension

and

stage four lung cancer



names to carry assault rifles,

to do as told

for promotions and ribbons

only to lose 3 limbs

and a wife

in an IED explosion




names to kill themselves

over

and over

and over

again




no


they won’t tell you the truth


but i did

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