poetry / writing

I Do Not Hear America Singing

Dear Walt Whitman,
In the late 1800s you wrote a poem entitled “I Hear America Singing”. At the turn of the century, Americans were builders and creators. We were industrial and agricultural leaders in the world. People like Carnegie, Marconi, and Ford were leading the way.
Sadly, though, as we’ve turned the page into another century, things are quite different. Americans no longer build nor create. We send our jobs overseas because we can’t see past the dollar signs in our eyes. We no longer manufacture because we have no ingenuity and no workers who are willing to work. We are a society of entitlement. We are leaders in blaming and litigation. And as a result, we are destroying our economy and our culture.

So, I have written a poem for you, Mr. Whitman. I am only sorry I could not have lived in the America that you describe.

“I Do Not Hear America Singing”

I do not hear America singing, only lonely cries I hear,
Those of the retiree, forced to work as a cashier at Home Depot, not as it should be,
exhausted and demeaned,
The small business owner crying as he closes his front office door forever,
The middle-aged father crying as he makes ready his resume, one of thousands of unemployed,
The young family crying about a home that now belongs to the bank, the mother crying
as she works two jobs, works two jobs,
The single girl crying as she sits alone on Friday night, that girl crying because
the Social Network has taken the socializing out of life,
The professor’s cries, the teacher’s as her students arrive dressed in apathy, spend the hour
complaining about hard work, and leave their learning on their desks like unwanted trash,
The terrible crying of the corporations, or of the manufacturers, sending jobs overseas where
ludicrous governmental restrictions don’t hinder the American dream,
No one singing what belongs to him or her and to no one else,
The days wasted by the laziness of a new generation–at night, the solitude of older fellows,
beaten and exhausted,
Crying with reddened eyes their sad melancholic cries.

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