The Subject is TRADE

The Subject is TRADE

– it is not the prisoner working without hope
or the worker imprisoned by despair
The subject is certainly not the small boy who makes bricks
or knots rugs for fifteen hours, or twenty –
no clocks there (nor schools or doctors, love or hugs)
There is only TRADE: Triumphant and Free.

Or the little girl, who’s not the subject
but the Object of TRADE –
sold for her too-big eyes,
her too-young, too-thin figure
for whom Love and Hugs
are only shackles of a life in TRADE
which is – at long last – Free.

Once, TRADE was hailed as a Deity of Liberation –
perhaps even by the Dissident
Professor, now so weak and ill
from torture and poor rations
in the prison factory
where he crafts bright, mocking flowers
and radios that never send for help
and toys
for the blessed children of the USA
– still called Free

(even if they aren’t the subject, which is TRADE)
but who suck now the Blood of Slavery
Prey in their games on the traded lives of children
who never get to play
or the mothers in rags,
sewing silk, watching their babies waste away
for TRADE. . .and only TRADE is Free

These American kids, unknowing,
Breathe the poisoned air of unclean cells
Bounce multicolored balls of misery
Hug leaden-hearted dolls of prison make
(the very best that Daddy can afford,
now that he’s been down-sized
and Mommy’s job Went South) American kids-
Standing in the last, blazing rays
of the American Century
Dazzled by the Holy Light of Trade
look unseeing into future darkness –
What waits outside this pool of glare?
a slum? a desert? or just
an ordinary cell?
Or does it matter?

since the Subject, after all, is TRADE. . .

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