Originally published in The Moon Magazine, 2017
We only honor the greediest–
Carnegie, Rockefeller, Trump, Hearst–
and never speak of more humble chiefs
who chose to pay themselves less
than a thousand times their workers rate.
Just as no one remembers the name
of the humble apartments behind the Vatican.
When I was twenty I saw St. Peter’s,
its orgy of polychrome marbles
a shrine to papal conceit
built by thousands of peasants.
Did they go home every night
to half-starved wives in broken-down shanties,
and dandle malnourished children
on underpaid, bone-weary knees?
How much greater would our world be
with no Carnegie Hall
and no Carnegie slums.
Charles Joseph Albert works as a metallurgist in San Jose, California, where he lives with his wife and three boys. His work (the poetry and fiction, not the metallurgy–that would be pretty cool!) has appeared recently in First Lit Review, FreedomFiction, Dual Coast, The Wifiles, Asissi, The Ibis Head Review, the MOON, Chicago Literati, the Literary Hatchet, the Lowestoft Chronicle, and The Literary Nest.