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Singing School

Greed, for lack of a better word,
is good....., the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

Gordon Gekko
Wall Street

To start, we’ll have champagne, quail eggs, paté
de campagne; next, line caught bass, jugged hare;
haricot verts, pommes Dauphinoise to share;
two espressos, dopio, one sorbet…

a City gent, lawyer in tow, routine
lunch in a winter of wealth’s discontent.

Chicago Board of Trade (Scott Olson/Getty Images)Dark Bloombergs, dark dealing rooms, careers spent,
shop fronts shrieking Liquidation, Closing
Down, strike no chord in his cantillation:
So trades went south; the Fed had to save us;
shit happens. Just don’t fuck with my bonus.

(Slap… slap… slap… the clap of palm and truncheon.)

My host inclines his head and sidles to
his question, flicks crumbs at the chrome caster
set like a pawn between us, cups an ear:
can he claw another rocki or two
from deals he did that decked economies,
cash for a Koons, perhaps, he’ll have to store?

This is the lyric of the jungle floor,
a hymn to labyrinthine strategies
conjuring Xanadus from acronymnsii;
testosterone, that goads the proud to fraud;
and concupiscence, robed like a bawd,
garrotting conscience and tempting prison.

i Trader’s slang for a million pounds, euros, dollars, etc.
ii E.g., bps (basis points), CDO (collaterized debt obligation), B.O.S.S. (bond and option sales strategy).

("Singing School" will appear in PN Review 211, May-June 2013.)