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We Can’t Make It Here Any More

by JAMES McMURTRY

There’s a Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign
Sitting there by the left turn line
One leg missing and both hands free
No one’s paying much mind to him
The VA budget’s just stretched too thin
And now there’s more coming back from the mideast war
We can’t make it here any more

The big ol’ building was the textile mill
It fed our kids and it paid our bills
But they turned us out and then closed the doors
We can’t make it here any more

See those pallets piled up on the loading dock
they’re just gonna set there til they rot
cause there’s nothing to ship, nothing to pack
just busted concrete and rusted tracks
empty storefronts around the square
there’s a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere
you don’t come down here unless you’re looking to score
we can’t make it here anymore

The bar’s still open but man it’s slow
the tip jar’s light and the register’s low
the bartender don’t have much to say
the regular crowd gets thinner each day
some have maxed out all their credit cards
some are working two jobs and livin’ in cars
minimum wage won’t pay for a roof, won’t pay for drink
if you gotta have proof just try it yourself mr CEO
see how far $5.15 an hour will go
take a part time job at one of your stores
bet you can’t make it here anymore

There’s a high school girl with bourgeois dream
just like the pictuers in the magazine
she found on the floor of the laundromat
a woman with kids can forget all that
if she comes up pregnant what’ll she do?
forget the career, forget about school
can she live on faith? live on hope?
high on jesus or hooked on dope
when its way too late to just say no
you can’t make it here anymore

Now I’m stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart stores
just like the ones we made before
‘cept this one came from Singapore
I guess we can’t make it here anymore

Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
or the shape of their eyes or the shape i’m in
should i hate em for having our jobs today
No I hate the men sent the jobs away
I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
all lily white and squeaky clean
they’ve never known want, they’ll never know need
Their shit don’t stink and their kids don’t bleed
their kids don’t bleed in their damn little war
and we can’t make it here anymore

will work for food and die for oil
will kill for power and to us the spoils
the billionaires get to pay less tax
the working poor get to fall through the cracks
so let ’em eat jellybeans let ’em eat cake
let em eat shit, whatever it takes
they can join the Air Force or join the Corps
if they can’t make here anymore

So that’s how it is, that’s what we got
if the president wants to admit it or not
you can read it in the papers, read it on the wall
hear it on the wind if you’re listening at all
get out of that limo, look us in the eye
call us on the cell phone tell us all why

In Dayton Ohio or Portland Maine
or on a cotton gin out on the great high plains
that’s done closed down along with the school
and the hospital and the swimming pool
dust devils dance in the noonday heat
there’s rats in the alley and trash in the street
gang graffiti on a boxcar door
we can’t make it here anymore

From JAMES McMURTRY’s fantastic new CD Childish Things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005

 

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