POETRY: Open the books!
Photo via GUCU

What is that you say?
That you, who built your empire
off the sweat of our labor,
cannot afford to keep us on
at union wages?

That even our shrinking benefits
will crush you?
Your delicate little empire
might totter?

We, who rescued you
with givebacks, are now
the cause
of our unemployment?

The workers, who make
the wheels go round, who do
the heavy lifting
and the unfailing work, think
we have a solution.

You know what we make,
slaving on the assembly line.
We want to know what you make,
if you are as broke and gasping
and desperate as you say.

Always you are the one
who plunks the numbers down
on the table.

We thunder and rage before
bowing down before them
in the dark.

Now it is time
for the workers
to speak.

Rumors fly you did
an eight figure year last year.

Open the books!
Open the books!
Open the books!
Open the books!

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Chris Butters
Chris Butters

Chris Butters is a socialist and labor activist, retired NYC court reporter, and a former DC 37 (AFSCME) chapter officer. In addition to participating in anti-racist and labor struggles, his poetry continues to be published in Blue Collar Review, a quarterly journal of poetry and prose published by Partisan Press, and many other literary and left poetry magazines.