Wednesday, December 12, 2007

We Can't Make it Here

"We Can't Make it Here"

Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign

Sitting there by the left turn line
Flag on the wheelchair flapping in the breeze
One leg missing, both hands free
No one's paying much mind to him
The V.A. budget's stretched so thin
And there's more comin' home from the Mideast war
We can't make it here anymore

That big ol' building was the textile mill
It fed our kids and it paid our bills
But they turned us out and they closed the doors
We can't make it here anymore
See the pallets piled on the loading dock

Just gonna set there 'til they rot
'Cause there's nothing to ship, nothing to pack
Just busted concrete and rusted tracks
Empty storefronts 'round the square
There's a needle in the gutter - glass everywhere
Don't come down here 'less you're looking to score
We can't make it here anymore

The bar's still open, but man it's slow
Tip jar's light and the register's low
Bartender don't have much to say
The regular crowd gets thinner each day
Some maxed out their credit cards

Some 're working two jobs and livin' in cars
Minimum wage won't pay for a roof,
Won't pay for a drink if you gotta have proof
Just try it yourself Mr. CEO
See how far $5.15 an hour'll go
Take a part time job at one of your stores
Bet you can't make it here anymore


Now I'm stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store
Just like the ones we made before
'Cept this one came from Singapore
I guess we can't make it here anymore
Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I'm in
Should I hate 'em for having our jobs today
No, I hate the men who sent the jobs away
I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
All lily white and squeaky clean
They've never known want, they'll never know need
Their sh@# don't stink and their kids won't bleed
Their kids won't bleed in the a f***in' little war
And we can't make it here anymore

Will work for food, will die for oil
Will kill for power and to us the spoils
The billionaires get to pay less tax
As the working poor fall through the cracks
Let 'em eat jellybeans, let 'em eat cake
Let 'em eat sh$%, whatever it takes
They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps
If they can't make it here anymore

And that's how it is, that's what we got
If the president wants to admit it or not
You can read it in the paper, read it on the wall
Hear it on the wind if you're listenin' at all
Get out of that limo, look us in the eye
Call us on the phone, tell us all why
In Dayton, Ohio o
r Portland, Maine
Or a cotton gin out on the great high plains
That done closed down along with the school,
The hospital and the swimming pool
Dust devils dance in the noonday heat
There's rats in the alley
And trash in the street
Gang graffiti on a boxcar door
We can't make it here anymore

Music and lyrics © 2004 by James McMurtry

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