Gillian Parrish: Currency
[from the office, october 1st]
Somewhere just past the last chance, it seemed to her, suddenly, that money is a kind of poetry, its thick strictures we live by, and strange translations of hours, turning days into dollars, digits to digits, eyes on the zeros. Crude curb turned cruel lure, lucre she counts now until November and November to November to some unaccountable end. There’s no gain in counting rain on the leaves, in counting beats or beads. Can she count the silver sound of a jay in the pine, a child’s O as the snow falls for the first time? And what of the children? Never meant to be “good as gold.”
[not me us, october 9th debate]
“And now,” the monk said, telling tales of faraway, just as the darkness descends on our city, “where the great halls once stood, and the wizards debated the wordless, and the peacocks there, who meant something different than the peacocks we know, for these were sweet poison-eaters, code for freedom from the ‘fires of greed,’ freedom from ourselves, and there above the treasure-house of texts, the rising moon meant more than the moon, and yet only the moon, and now it is all only ruins.”
(and sunflowers) I thought
and thought of the dusty bus, pressed close to other limbs, pressed close, in our shared sweat, heavy with curry and cumin, the hot wind on our skin and fields of sunflowers, a stranger’s face leaning, asleep, resting her head on my shoulder.
[from the book of changes, october 15th]
As if we could wish for “pigs and fish,” full bellies, safe passage, fair wage (casting bright coins, making change), dreaming ‘the dream’ that’s a problem, as if we could turn on a dime.
[tell the television, october 25th]
Message from the middle: Currently, flipside of the Wall Street casino, of the billion dollar Beltway war and oil barkers, flipside of those who are “making a killing,” for most of us, hard work just doesn't pay much, and doesn’t last long, and what little work there is for the lonely crowds of the odd-men-out ghosting the living rooms on Main Street, the robots coming for the taxi drivers, coming for even the nurses’ warm hands bringing the last meals, our luck running out with the blood of faraway children, with the run of a northern river, with the lead-laden waters of our forsaken cities, while somewhere some cups runneth over.
What now, we ask. (As our shadows eat the light.) We could say, Thank you, world. World made of bees’ wings, made of salt seas, made of us. The world says, There are limits. He says, My world. As I like it. (Thinking himself a world.) We cry, we shout, we fill the streets, making the signs of fire, of the drowned world, of enough. Somehow all our limits are subsumed by digits, the tails of zeros trailing behind our rough beasts. But money is like water, comes and goes. In fleeting income streams of moonlight nights, in glitter gifts to little nieces, in blood debt to North Dakota. For no, we cannot drink money. A little girl signs, I’m a human, not a robot/I need water not oil. In the zero winter, children sled on the hillside, veterans hold the line, the people scared, so singing, clouds of breath against the snow sky, the mud road, the bundled flesh, the winter river. Everything is tender.
Gillian Parrish is a teaching-geek who currently divides her not-enough-time between stacks of papers on brain-gut neuroscience in the classroom, persona poetics, community policing, and a mermaid tale for her sweet little niece. Her poems have appeared in various journals such as Gulf Coast, Hayden's Ferry Review, The Literary Review, and forthcoming in Volt. She's the mothership behind spacecraftproject, an arts and poetry journal with an ethos best summed up in the words of said 4-year-old niece (hope for the planet), who, at Christmas dinner, solemnly remarked that "We are all connected. In a web. Like The Force."