100 Chinese Factory Workers

30 Chinese people said, “We’re not taking you anymore.”
20 Chinese workers said, We’re not going on.” 110
Chinese slaves climbed to the top of the factory on a break,
not rolling over, not rolling over to stand together,
abandoned altogether. The company
said it could be worse, and it is in many ways.
Auntie used to talk to me, said, “Kid, you can’t be
following the crowd, can’t quit doing dishes because
your friends call you out to play! I mean, would you
jump off a building just because your friends said,
“Jump”?

100 Chinese men and women reached the top of their
stories, said, “Mr. F_, you, we ain’t blistering our
knuckles black for you no more, beaten down
and bearing up and smiling back, getting sick of getting
tired. We’ve started dying early, look around. Now,
you don’t have to listen, but we know the reason
you got so many dead; we’d like a million bucks
to tell you why. Don’t have to listen, but then you
also don’t have to watch us trippin’ n’ flyin’ over
the China wall.

Mr. Thomas used to say, now, “Take that crack, for
instance. You’ve gotta a better play. Don’t just zap
your dendrites on a dare. Hey, if your friends stopped
by to say, ‘Leap off a cliff, we’re going to today!’
you wouldn’t, would you, would you, would you?”
A preacher told me once that colleges can lead anyone
astray; “You’ll be tempted now to fornicate and drink!
Why, if your friends got you on a roof like Jesus,
praying you to jump like the devil, would you jump?”
No of course not.

So they didn’t. 100 hungry Chinese came down off
the Internet, and some of them still work that factory
factoring phones, flack with visions, fists in their faces,
backs broke. Some took a weird vacation, having fed
the serpent with an apple. Still, if 99 friends couldn’t
leave a building in say, City of Cupertino, without
the urge to jump along? I’d hope I’d be ready to jump.

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