“Them smokestacks reachin’ like the arms of God,
Into a beautiful sky of soot and clay.”
Looking back on what was, it becomes quite clear that although you believe something is fixed in stone, there will always be a force to come along to change what was so concrete. The Rust Belt stands as a testament to all that will change. Why do we blindly accept the notion that inevitability has no bearing on our believed static position? I falter under the notion of change so I participate in the Russian roulette of conscious ignorance. That ignorance came back to bite me. I engaged in the false hope that perhaps I’d be more important than the ultimate goal. I lost that bet.
“Well my daddy come on the Ohio works,
When he come home from World War Two.
Now the yard’s just scrap and rubble.
He said, ‘Them big boys did what Hitler couldn’t do.’”
Some of the most poignant moments of my lost time were spent experiencing another world: the time you took me to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to rest my ears on the culture and my eyes on the past, or the afternoons spent gazing over the expansive, Appalachian horizon from the back of your mother’s home. Those are the moments I hold so tight to now. Yet, as safe as I felt in those instants, the vulnerability of ambition always came to haunt me. You chose a future of pictures with me cut from the film.
“Once I made you rich enough,
Rich enough to forget my name.”
I can stand to begin the process of filtering the good memories from the bad. However, it is muddy work. When you’ve invested so much effort into an enterprise, just to see outside forces wreak havoc, you realize the human toll is greater than the products being lost. I craft experiences from the earth, but you sold out yourself to foreign ambition. Now I’m left with a rusted steel mill and some old memories.
“When I die I don’t want no part of heaven,
I would not do heaven’s work well.
I pray the devil comes and takes me away,
To stand in the fiery furnaces of hell.”