Rich Murphy

Foil Toil

 

Wielding gaslight, 

the professional wealth extractors 

divide within poor neighborhoods 

after laying pipelines.

 

Some drip-plumbing spills, clangs

when black and white clash

in stealth or in the streets.

 

Learned helplessness 

and self-loathing teams

police through the race line.

 

While maintaining the scapegoat pool,

employed custodians in shabby custom

praise through official owner-song

and accompanying violence:

“You will not replace us” alarms.

 

Not punching up but kicking down

wins for the day (or evening) every time.

 

Even as institutions collapse brick 

and mortar around the national façade,

the penitentiary yard that replaced 

the cotton fields weathers.