Posted by: gdevi | August 18, 2013

Poem: Bill Lavender, Wall Street Vegetables

Here is a great poem by Bill Lavender, Wall Street Vegetables, published in the current issue of Situations journal from CUNY. Bill Lavender is a wonderful poet and publisher based in New Orleans. They publish all kinds of wonderful books. Visit their website–Lavender Ink — and catalog here.

Wall Street Vegetables

ezra pound says
that money should last no longer
than the value it represents
money used to buy land
should last as long as the land
money used to buy fruit
should last as long as the fruit
money used to buy meat
should last as long as the meat
when the meat or the fruit
start to rot and stink
the money that bought them
should start to rot and stink too
when that banana you forgot about
liquifies and soaks
into the ground under a cloud of flies
the money you spent on it should
putrefy in the grocer’s pocket
and when that meat you didn’t need
goes south with that
katrina smell
when it’s eaten up with maggots
the money you paid for it
should be writhing in the butcher’s wallet
and stinking to high heaven
and so you have to just wonder
under ezra pound’s system of
monetary reform
would a wall street banker smell like
walking down fifth avenue
walking down madison avenue
cause if they smelled like what
the money they were holding had paid for
that armani cologne wouldn’t make a dent
in the stench
that ann taylor suit
crisp and freshly pressed
would sag in the fumes
“what is that smell?” you’d say
as you walked by
smells like cordite
like gunpowder
smells like coal dust
like a sick-ward
like a cheap barroom stinks
of broken dreams
of puke and piss and watery beer
smells like copper tailings
washing down the river into your village
smells like sweat
like the closeness of bodies sleeping 6 to a bed
or huddled in cells awaiting
conscription or execution
smells like
death itself
eau de battlefield
that delicate essence
of a field strewn with ten thousand bodies

ezra pound’s monetary reform
will never work
because the last thing wall street wants
the last thing people who make the money want
is for their money to bear
the trace of its making
the stench of where it’s been

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