David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Everybody's Laboring

September 4, 2022

Ignore all the indices,

Push back on the reports,

Everybody's laboring.

One's hope is fading,

Another's knee is failing,

Or maybe it's the mind.

That guy's got despair in his eyes,

His daughter's stopped praying.

One woman's marriage is a shambles,

Her husband's confidence is sagging.

There are no points on a graph,

No year to year trends

When everybody's laboring,

And we're told to suck it up,

See this labor to its end.


The human condition is in demand

With a limited blood supply

When everybody's laboring.

The tormented kid's dad

Ignores the illegal purchase

In the boy’s night stand.

He's put a classmate's name on it,

A name known for local fame,

But not without his own pain.

Meanwhile the school counselor

Sighs, closes his notebook, and

Signs off on a suggested illness

Everybody's laboring to treat.

It's o.k. We know to buck it up

To separate the chaff from the wheat.


Even me writing these lines

Is the classic lagging indicator

When everybody's laboring.

My task is simple enough,

State the obvious, inspire the masses,

Even as the goal seems out of my grasp.

I buckled under the weight

Of structure and responsibility.

Who looks at such lines?

Who cares what rhymes?

There are millions of voices

Dying while not being heard

When everybody's laboring.

Theirs aren't the narratives

To which our leaders are catering.