All Over America

Every now and then I leaf through pages
of the book written by Agee and Evans
about the dirt-poor tenant farmers
in Alabama in the summer of 1936

*All over Alabama the lamps are out*

Two stores and four shacks at a crossroads
called Madrid, just 7 miles to Cookstown,
where 300 souls reside

Children in school there stay alive
by one form or another of cowardice
or brutality or deception

Taught in a time of drought
by teachers themselves sick
and helpless before the great
depression of the thirties

*All over America the lights were out*

by Michael Pruchnicki

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