One day the machine will stop working
Like all machines its parts will fail
You turn your faucet handle
No water
Your light switch
No light
You try to call for help
The phone is dead

In one village a man awakes before the sun
Takes his spear, and enters the jungle
In another village, the average father awakes
Hand shielding eyes, through heavy metal doors
To basement pus heat machines
Worker ant below the hammer
Worth measured in first floor digits and court appeals
All version of the business men in their venom rags

Weather the bomb explodes on target
We represent the reaction
Tarot carbon the ox I’d see old bunion bowing to the machine
Like a sick angel with sooted wings
Shoveling breath after breath into tired lungs
Waiting like a funeral for a ten minute break
Then back again to turn the fatigue wheel

dreaming gingerbread cottages with smoke-ringed skies
apron-shaped damsels with dutch apple pies

But the white noise lives in a tenement
His children strapped crying to the filthy blue collar
Of an ass-shaped chair
Staring at pictures the brain makes
When the machine is turned on full

We are all canaries dying
Falling from the shoulder of the machine
No one left to panic, pressed, the stone, grinding
No one escapes
The mineshaft leads further into the earth
No light can follow the curve

How far will you travel to find your fight?
How high will the dead pile before you stand to speak?

We are the immigrants
Waving our flag of human flesh.


-excerpt from K. M. Douglas’ book of poems, Cities of Blood
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Cities of Blood on Amazon