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That was a different world.  Don't dream that
It will return.  Your parents never knew it,
Though their parents did:  an age of decent
Wages, pensions, health insurance, affluence
In households where one parent only had to
Leave each day for work.  In time, machines
Assumed the jobs.  The unions fell apart.
The pensions and the benefits evaporated.
All the money went to owners of those
Damned machines.  They're up there,
In their gated compounds, rich and growing
Ever richer, as you scrounge for shitty
Jobs, at shitty wages, serving them.
The middle class?  A thing of legend.
All that's left are those whose lives
Are financed through their ownership
Of capital they didn't make, and, in fact,
Cannot operate.  Like medieval landed
Nobles, they're sustained by property,
While everybody else subsists on scraps:
This era's serfs.

© Lawrence Beck 2023