Creating Voices for Characters (Part 3 of 3)

Young Son Might Shine

(A monologue poem from the unchained thoughts of an old employee to a new employee. Almost like a first pep talk.)

I seen you walk in
through that prison like gate.
A field mouse looking for his piece a’ cheese.
Boy, it’s been forty years and we still ain’t found it.

Hands soft as cotton
never seen a shovel so heavy.
Thin skin drawn tight to the bone
won’t last long against

all these lashing tongues.
We’re all different kinds
in here, behind that gate.
And we’ve been here too long

to worry about ma’ and pa’.
Unlike you, still slurrpin’ off that silver spoon
never building those muscles we need
to get the job done.

Soon ‘nough you’ll learn,
smart guy like you probably catches on quick.
It’s just a shovel and a pick-axe,
the backhoe does the real tough stuff.

So don’t wear yourself weak,
because it’s only your first week.
Take it from me,
I was around when we didn’t have machines.

Back then our backs were the real machines,
that’s why mines crooked now.
Young boy like you should’a
went off to college and made that thick money

To make a real name for yourself
instead of having it on a recycled tag
sewed onto your ‘been worn before’ uniform shirt.
At least the steel toed boots are still new

in the box.
Don’t mix your stuff up with no one else’s.
That’s how ya’ get a nasty fungus
to put you out for weeks.

I’ll watch out for you here
because I know you’re a new guy.
But I won’t be around for long
‘cause my years are a’dwindling.

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