Immigrant Dreams

© Maria Dunn, 2012

Some say it’s a sweatshop and why would you stay?
If you spoke better English, you’d be on your way
Too smart to be here, too poor to go
So you just stick it out for a month or so

Too smart to be here, too busy to leave
Weathering change in a tongue you don’t speak
And the pay here is decent, benefits too
So you just roll along for a year or two

And while you’ve been keeping your family afloat
The years have slipped by and you’re still in the boat
Rowing a sea of sewing machines
For your bread and your roses, your immigrant dreams

Some say it’s a sweatshop, relentless it was
But times have changed, so have the laws
From piecework to better than minimum wage
No more killing yourself for the money you make

From piecework to better than minimum pay
There’s more to your work than a quota each day
Encouraged to lead, your confidence grows
So rich meeting women from all round the globe

If it’s a sweatshop, where else would you go?
To a restaurant? – no pension, pay that’s too low
You’re better off home than part time in a store
All that effort, you get there, you’re back out the door

You’re better off home, some husbands agreed
Long ago when you went to GWG
You could write your own book with all that you learned
Put your children through school with the money you earned

Maria Dunn  vocal, acoustic guitar, accordion
Shannon Johnson  violin
Michael Lent  upright bass
Jeremiah McDade  bansuri