every four years

the factories closed
while they celebrated
struggling families
forgotten men and women trapped

rusted-out factories scattered
like tombstones across the landscape
fallen into disrepair and decay
while wealth disappeared

the factories shuttered
stealing every breath
we bled the same blood
of urban sprawl

the night sky
ignored our dreams


Bartholomew Barker is anĀ organizer of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry readers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. His first poetry collection, Wednesday Night Regular, was published in 2013. Born and raised in Ohio, he studied in Chicago and worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years, before moving to Hillsborough where he funds his poetry habit by working as a computer programmer.