The People

Stuck in the ruts
Wheels grinding as they flatten
To and fro everyday
And every hour strikes the same

Where they go they all know
Following, herded, led
They see the same sights
Think and do in time
To the great hoard of non-civic life

Maybe the ones who lie in leisure see unlike the rest
Maybe they think slow
With nothing in their brains pounding
Forcing them to go

Sticks are beaten and whips are cracked
Sweat pools and blood drips
Salty tears cradle young eyes
From sights not meant to be seen
Blind to the tearing ties of fading family

But the stone burns feet and the sun burns backs
Harsh cries, staccato with jailors’ wise cracks

And each pulley moves as muscles pull taut
Lungs wheezing and chests heaving
Dust crawling inside them and upon them, driving in

Birds perch on the frameworks
Aloft in halos of smog and steam
Their faeces cooling when it hits scorched skin
Their eyes sharp, knowing but doubtful
They don’t believe a peoples’ work will last
That it could outlive a dynasty

The noon haze glistens on the sand
And eyes strain to see beyond its glare
The people look and the people listen
But their world falls silent
For they cannot see the future beyond their grave