Doing Without

(live version)

Image: Loafers’ wall, at courthouse, Batesville, Arkansas. Here from sun up until well into the night these fellows, young and old, “set”. Once a few years ago a political situation was created when an attempt was made to remove the wall. It stays. When asked what they do there all day, one old fellow replied: “W-all we all just a ‘set’; sometimes a few of ’em get up and move about to ‘tother side when the sun gets too strong, the rest just ‘sets’.”   Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress) LC-USF33- 000597-M3


From sunup until sundown you men perch here just like crows
Seems this loafer’s wall’s the place to come, and nobody ever goes
But I can’t see the reason nor fathom any rhyme
Why all you men would set up here settin’ all the time
Beg you pardon mister, maybe you’re new in town
Maybe you ain’t heard that all the mills have been shut down
That’s a simple explanation for what we’ve been about:
We ain’t doing nothing sir but doing without
From sunup until sundown we’ve got nowhere else to be
Thanks to liquidation and our redundancy
Ain’t no one wants our labor, ain’t no honest work around
And settin’ on this wall sir, beats settin’ on the ground
It’s gets so damn frustrating it makes me want to shout:
There ain’t nothing doing here but doing without
Go ask your Mr. Hoover if he’d like some honest men
To put their shoulders to the wheels and looms and lathes again
But he can’t have his hard money and jobs for workers too
Until he prefers the latter, sir, we’ve nothing else to do
Come back around tomorrow, and you’ll find without a doubt:
We won’t be doing nothing sir but doing without