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Monday, 4 May 2009


Property is the hard rock and staple, the social test.

Property is the prior root, the seed dropped in and sprouted and blossomed and grown to the simulated Doric columns of a virtual Greek edifice, the Nation Storage Bin.

There all the heavy kernels are hoarded, the cobalt dimes, the platinum nickels, the flowers of green and white paper, the neatly clipped and bundled high denomination certificate bouquets bourse'd and traded and held, transferred, recorded, monitored, vaulted, kept.

And where are
you? Who stole you away to the underworld?

Who took
you down, who held your hand like Pluto?

Who said Now there's a good girl Persephone It will all come out right in the end just trust it? Who instructed
you to ride the boat? Who got on with you?

A tall person was waiting with a pole, aboard the boat there was a large bin of human property, it was a place of storage, I asked the oracle the meaning of this, the oracle said:

It was a bank, it held the things of life but they were not alive, there were dead things in it and someone owned them, now you are gone and they are still there, it is just as well for you because aboard the boat the weight is too great, the boat would have sunk and you would have gone down with it, but you have probably gone down anyway.

Banking crisis protest, Reykjavik: photo by Jon Eckman


Elmo St. Rose said...

Dear Tom,

Yes there will always be a plutocracy regardless of the social
system. To paraphase Churchill.
Democracy is a terrible system,that
is, until you compare it to all the
other systems. The democracies that
have provided the most artistic
freedom have free market economies, rights for private property, and social safety nets.
Now it is unfortunate that the
people of Iceland have lost all their money in a banking scam. If it is to good to be true then it
probably is when it comes to money.
As for the Oracle at Delphi to
comment on the current financial
crisis, I don't think that's what the
Muses have in mind. Beauty and truth may come to the poet from the
depths of the universe. Perhaps from the vapors of Delphi....or
rustling of muses' garments as they
pass by. It's been nearly 500 years
since Shakespeare and no one has
topped him yet. I ask you a simple
question that goes across the ages
to the depths of Hell. Had Shakespeare been German would we
have had Hitler? A lesser and shorter leap: Keats and Wordsworth
went to mountains and sat by streams to inform their poetry.
Quite a few people do that now
to uplift their soul and spirits.
Maybe they once read some poetry.
Delphi was probably constructed in
part by slave labor. Athens, the
source of Western civilization
had slaves.....Sparta did too.
Sparta echoed to Nazi Germany...
Athens to the British Empire. Both
imperfect,but clear where a lover
of English poetry would have cast
his lot. When I spoke of the language poets bribing the Oracle
I meant they were usurping the dialectic of unquantifiable forces
that produced art. Remember when
they used to throw around the concept "that everybody was a poet"
Some people took that to heart and
in the end had to come up with

Sincerely Elmo St.Rose

Dale said...

Tom, thanks for this poem--and for the image. At first glance I thought it was the burning house at the end of Tarkovsky's Sacrifice. But no, it's not fiction, just another graph of the contemporary. Property and ownership--the ancient trauma: where do I end and you begin? Who claims the properties of self and earth? The gods, the bankers--the usual racketeers?

TC/BTP said...


As ever you make the walls of the city shake and your points are as always beautifully made and well taken (bless your brilliant Ozark soul).

About that social safety net though, I have seen it to have too wide a weave at best of times in our glorious history, and currently it's torn and frayed and badly in need of mending. (I recall Spanish fishermen sitting around in the evenings mending their nets--who's mending ours?)

I thought perhaps the oracle might have (mis)heard some of the recent economic news echoing in her mountain fastnesses or along her dimlit underground shores.


No, alas not fiction.

Truth is as always way ahead on eerie reverberations and presque-vus, as you know from your Collapsitarian studies.

I suppose it was the culmination of the bank "stress test," results to be reported tomorrow, that prompted this post.

But who's foolin' whom?

Stress testing, we are told, is a form of testing that is used to determine the stability of a given system or entity. It involves testing beyond normal operational capacity, often to a breaking point, in order to observe the results.

Here one thought the given system or entity was already broken and past the point of fixing.

One's reminded of that Band tune, as to where the load will be put, once more, as always, once the stress test is over.

"Take a load off Fanny/And you put the load right on me."

And if not on us, on whom. Leading back round to that other wonderment, about the New World that was supposed to be coming--if not now, when?

Writing "Persistence of Memory" a few evenings back I heard the line, "The yen is advancing against the flower."

A half hour ago, leaked news about the Bank of America dismally flunking the stress test caused the yen to advance dramatically against the dollar.

Let us hope the flower will yet be secured somehow.