As the Men Sat Looking

December 1, 2010
By sam065 BRONZE, Phoenix, Arizona
sam065 BRONZE, Phoenix, Arizona
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The wind whistled through the steel frames of the soon to be monoliths, which represented the power and ingenuity of the society. Racing over, under, through the clothes of the men, the rushing air, neither stopping to turn nor look back at the faces that built the metal monster, hurriedly slithered on to its next destination, one of dust and red earth. The birds too, not noticing the men or the monolith, circled the steel structure watching, looking for a place to nest amongst the shaded crevices created by the metallic posts. Much like the birds and wind, not stopping, the men labored on and felt nothing and cared not for the metal monster engineered by slavery.
The few sources of income, such as construction, available to the population consisted of hard labor, which proved insubstantial in quantity compared to the number of desperate migrants fighting to stay alive. Work saved families where it could be found, and the country’s government, as desperate as the people, employed new tactics to get its shaken and crumbling foundations stabilized, benefiting not only the fragile economy but the life of the country. Programs to get the men and women of the depression off the streets were created in copious amounts, giving the population opportunity to work. However, work still evaded many. Resorting to any cure that would slow the cancer spreading to ultimately destroy their families and their lives, the men took all the work they could.
From up high the men could see almost all of the city, being supported in the hands of the metal structure waiting to be finished. The city itself did not appear to be busy, but they knew it was. The interstates were always fishing in more people, more migrants, more men like them. Even with all the jobs being handed out, some still could not find one. More skyscrapers were forever waiting to be built, more dams needed to block the rivers, more trees needed to be planted, and more streets needed to be paved said the country. But, like the skyscraper building men, it was not the result of their physical labor that mattered to them only the money, which turned into food and shelter.
From these high points of the city the laborers saw what was happening to all of their country through the sight and observation of the populace. As they and their families had seen their house destroyed, their land plowed by smoke spewing monsters, and their father’s and grandfather’s homes repossessed, for sure the same had befallen the new migrants on the interstate, remorsefully fleeing from the dusty Midwest. For something terrible ravaged the earth there. What little could be grown from the dead, red, and waterless soil was torn apart by the same wind blowing across their faces now. And, in the distance the same clouds seen back at their homes, could be seen from the skyscraper. The same clouds, close enough to see, but to far away to provide the much needed moisture to the dry and dead fields in the center of the Dust Bowl. The government programs could do nothing about that, the weather would never succumb to the will of man, not even to the money bank. So in a sense the men knew they would never return to their home, their real home. Maybe generations later, their sons’ sons would return to the land of their fathers maybe seeing fertile ground or maybe the wasteland their fathers left. The men standing on the hands of the of the metal structure, gazing at the familiar clouds and their distant homeland would never know.
For as the men sat looking, their underlying motives were clear: the work they did and the effort they gave were not for the building itself or the unfeeling bank making the profit, but for the meager wages obtained through labor. The prerequisite this pitiful amount of money earned was only a job and nothing more for the workers as they came to that unfinished structure every day. Every day, toiling and laboring on the structure that paid them pennies to be built. Climbing and making their way to where they left off the day before. Shouting at the man next to them. Hand the hammer over Johnny! Then opening the tin box housing their lunch, consisting of the ham and cheese sandwich prepared by their wives that morning. Not only satisfying hunger but also reminding why they risked the fall of hundreds of feet to a grisly but quick death. Afterwards, as the tired men maneuvered that last metal strut into its place, the sun created a pink background overlaid by orange streaks of cirrus clouds. Finally, the working men reached home after that hard days work. Not much of a home the men actually thought. But, the job would barely pay for that. The skyscraper would barely pay for that. For It did not care; it only waited for the men to wake up and repeat.
As the men sat looking, the country, regaining its strength, pressed on through the era of hardship it and its people faced. Weakened, scared, desperate, the government, in all its might, could not completely safeguard its citizens from the era of poverty that stole life, prosperity, and the American Dream from the vulnerable hands of the people. Although the country was in turmoil and its people starving in the streets, the nation aspired to preserve the strength of the people. It itself coordinated the efforts of the people to survive, the economy to recover, and the government to maintain order. For under the want and need of the people and government of the country, was the pride in itself and the initiative that had gotten it through the difficulties faced in the past. And, as the men sat looking, the underlying strength that had guided them and made the country what it was, pushed in a slow but determined pace towards the days victory it once knew.

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