Prelude to Laomerica
Buddha help you, if you're pretty in this camp.
What you have to trade must be given, or it will be beaten.
If you're ugly, no one gives a shit and you'll be left behind.
Sometimes, some will try to make you a beauty
To do the unspeakable, and call it a duty "for your family."
Buddha help you, if you're charming,
You'll have so many to take care of, who leave you when you can't.
If you have no friends, you'll be crawling bones for a burning ditch.
If you can only follow orders, you'll never be safe.
If you try to take charge, someone will teach you your true place.
Buddha help you, if you're useful.
Everyone will want you to be useful to them.
If you're useless, they'll abandon you by the river
Like a nameless beggar's corpse.
Buddha help you, if you weep.
Buddha help you, if you've got secrets,
They'll just crack your head open if they're too expensive.
If you don't know a thing, you're no good to anyone.
If you know just enough to be dangerous,
You'll never get a good night's sleep.
If one side likes you, you're a puppet.
If the other side likes you, you're a collaborator.
The smart ones suspect someone's a snitch.
The dumb ones are the last to know, to their regret.
Buddha help you, if you're righteous and proud.
You'll starve clinging to old ways that don't apply.
If you're a wretch, you'll always have to watch
Your back, a shadow among atrocity.
If you're just trying to survive, welcome to the club,
But that doesn't get you anything special.
Buddha help you, if you dare to smile here.
Buddha help you, if you're strong.
They'll work you, until you break.
If you're frail, you won't last long
In these squalid camps of inhumane nothing.
If you're only average, you become a statistic,
A burden of maggots and rice to unload,
A muddy road to close and forget.
Buddha help you, if you're wise.
You'll be miserable and you'll have hope.
If you're a fool, it's the end of the world.
You'll never learn a way out, or notice, when you leave.
God help you, if you think you're home.
For those we remember, for those who were forgotten, for those in-between.