How’s a Man to Find Hope in these Hard Times?

Image  Bowery men waiting for bread in bread line, [New York City] George Grantham Bain Collection, U.S. Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-63966

Lyrics

When things went bad back in Twenty Nine
I would start my days on the hiring line
‘Till the man said stand for relief instead
I got a cup of cold coffee and a stale loaf of bread
Pride stuck in my gullet, eyes square on the floor
I said “with kids at home sir—could I have a little more?”
You’ll find me broke up, beat down, threadbare and poor
Shuffling along killing time
In the weeks months and years since they shut down that hiring line

Your almighty dollar says “in God we trust”
Tell where was he sir when the banks went bust?
And big backroom bailouts left us in the lurch—
You know that way back when they threw the bankers out of church
But now the fix is in and nobody cares
About their big corner offices and big leather chairs
That they made out like bandits and they’re still sitting there
While we’re scratching for nickels and dimes
In the weeks months and years since they shut down those hiring lines

Fear will hollow you out from the inside my friend
When you’re scared as hell they’ll never come round hiring again
We’re just heart broke and desperate shadows of men
Doing what we can to survive
In the weeks months and years since they shut down the hiring line

‘Cause I did fifteen years on the factory floor
And if I had my way sir I’d a done fifty more
Back when they turned us out I odd-jobbed for a spell
For a while had me Mr. Sicker’s apples to sell
But in nineteen hundred and thirty two
There are too many men chasing not enough to do–
Now I end my nights in a Hooverville
And if he ain’t gonna help us tell me who the hell will?
How’s a man to find hope in this hard time
In the weeks months and years since they shut down the hiring line

Copyright 2013 by Bryan Kirschner

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