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This Shirt


This shirt

Your shirt

Any shirt

Any thing,

but take my shirt for instance:


100% cotton

5am in a foreign land

the most beautiful sunrise ever

a farmer behind the wheel of a cotton harvesting machine

in the employ of the industrial machine

a full day of work in the hot sun


bushels of cotton

all trucked down the road

then spun into thread in the textile mills

in the city where his sons work


run through sewing machines

by his daughters in the sweatshops


all these machines

are metal

mined in deep dark holes

by men with black lungs


train cars with unrefined

iron, nickel, and lead

turned into steel

melded to copper wires

coated in plastic rubber

created in laboratory factories


and all these mills, shops, and factories

pull their power from plants

burning black lumps

and black sludge

composed of decomposed living matter

drawn from even deeper and darker holes than the metal

it's an oily muck on the surface of the ocean

and splashing against the penguins and the seals resting on the beaches

it's a chemical smog accumulating in the air

and changing the atmosphere

so that each day we have the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets in recorded history!

pink, blue, and orange sherbet swirling in the sky with ever increasing intensity!


and it's really nice and all

but I wonder if the farmer and his family who made my shirt appreciate the pretty skies as much as I do

I wonder if the miners and the penguins are happy to live in filth so that we can wear such stylish clothing


and if you want to know how you can help the impoverished people of the world and save the environment at the same time,

well you could start

by taking off your shirt...


but I don't see you doing that

and you don't see me doing that

and all I'm saying

is that if we really cared about all that shit

we'd be willing to sacrifice our lives of luxury

because all this material wealth we have,

our cars, our clothing, our computers,

was gained and is maintained,

at the expense of others.


the economic system in place today is indentured servitude on a global scale,

and just because we can't see our slaves toiling in the fields and factories,

and aren't ordering them around and beating them directly,

that doesn't make it right.


So who cares?



© 2004 Danny Strack

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