Friday, November 4, 2011

On Learning That All The Gold In The World Would Fill Just Two Olympic Swimming Pools, by Derek Mong

Derek Mong

    my inner pragmatist insists: we can’t fling Phelps’s medals
                                    like skipping stones! and
            I’ll keep my wedding ring. It just might clog a filter. Selfish?

                                                Sure, but wealth rides bull
                               markets, not some golden adage. This leaves us like Scrooge McDuck

    or frantic, poor, and hungry. Dear Goldilocks, gimme some hot
                                    porridge, gimme some
cold porridge, just make damn sure it’s my supper. I don’t wanna

                                                share it. In preschool
                             I learned ownership (my stocks? fruit snacks, blocks) till banks baffled me

with compound interest: how does a piggy bank buy a Wilbur?
                                    My doomsayer says
What’s it matter? We’re wheeling dough up in shopping carts but can’t

bring home the bacon!                                                                     
                                    He’s half right, and outraged. Let’s strike the bell-ringer’s red bucket 

with our silver spoons, then march the tune poolside. Let’s ladle out
                                    a billion teaspoons
            bullion. Let’s dip and redistribute wealth, till there’s no more

                                                popes or chariots—
no Golden Globes splitting land from TV Land or the have-golds

from the have-nots. We’d be suddenly equal if equally
hungry, huddled like
            alchemists around our rocks, trying to subsist on shimmer.

                                                Dear Midas, what can
                                    that finger, gilder of sporks and infant sons, teach us? That you—

handcuffed and fed through gerbil tubes—can save us? We’d brush chocolate
                                     bars across your hands.
            You’d soften future financial meltdowns. O Gary Gildner,

                                                O Gilda Radner,
                                    O Montana-era 49ers—we know our want gave

this metal worth, but tell me you’ve unearthed a plan, some golden
                                     egg or parachute
            to save us? My inner aesthete thinks consumer confidence

                                                will rise if we all
                                    wear artisanal haloes. My inner elder says, let’s save

it for our golden years, give 24K teeth in lieu
                                    of pensions. Oh my
            glib split selves. Ponder these quandaries: 1) gold’s proxies prevent us

from paying grocers
                                    in poetry, while 2) we lipo the stuff from streams and mountains!

Dear Jacques Costeau, help us deep-six this gold swimming pool; Oh Trump
                                    do you keep receipts?
            Those cufflinks belong to the Himalayas! Such pleas qualify

                                                as shovel-ready
                                    stimuli. We’ll hire folks to bury gold. We’ll promote wealth’s new

cost-benefit equation: bars lugged × hours dug =
                                    profit. Call it “El
            Dorado’s Repo 2009.” Grab one bucket smelted

                                    krugerrands. Grab a pick. You’re a conquistador’s worst nightmare.
About the poem, Derek Mong writes:
"When Jon Stewart excoriated Jim Cramer on The Daily Show, he made sure to remind Cramer--and all of us in the process--that there would be no end to boom and bust economics until we accepted the premise that profit = hard work + time. Stewart's point finds its way into this poem's moral center, as do numerous gold puns and pop-culture nuggets.  Likewise an unusual syllabic pattern (long lines of 15 syllables, followed by short ones of 5) that remind me of cashing in a $20 bill."

1 comment:

  1. Excellent poem! Beautiful artistry, evocative language, just perfect!