Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Textile Mill

the doors were chained, all the workers contained
so that no one could take a break 
with immigrant dreams they worked noisy machines 
‘til their hands and their fingers would ache

in the dark, sweaty shop women working nonstop
while the foreman was keeping the score 
they worked without cease and were paid by the piece
while the watchman kept walking the floor

some thought it a joke that the foreman would smoke
while the women worked noisy machines 
so no one could tell when they started to yell , 
“there is smoke wafting up to the beams”

starting to shout, “Hey, we gotta get out” 
the watchman ran back for the keys 
but they think he got burned ‘cuz he never returned 
as the smoke brought them all to their knees 

they crawled to the door across the oil stained floor 
they pulled and they tugged on the chain
some ran out of breath others jumped to their death 
and they all screamed and hollered in vain

when the bodies were found and laid out on the ground 
one-hundred and five people died 
a few did survive but were barely alive 
while the rest were found stacked up inside

the foreman falling asleep was a secret to keep 
the owners began to conspire
as they buried the dead all the newspapers said 
oily rags may have started the fire

with no time to waste the machines were replaced
 insurance to cover the bill 
 money to earn was the owners concern
and a hundred and five jobs to fill

1 comment:

  1. Intense poem Charlie. I thank God my ancestors did not have to live through something like this.