Wednesday, January 6, 2010




The rich won’t eat what the poor do.

The rich have always thought throughout history

the poor are why they suffer.

The rich pass laws in frozen Toronto

to have the homeless picked up off the streets

like dog poo they don’t want to step in.

The rich don’t pay taxes

but they bitch about a mother on social assistance

receiving fifteen hundred a month

while they wait for billions on Wallfare.

And it’s socialism for the rich

like a tax break on a corporate lifeboat

if they go under

and free enterprise for the poor

whose bodies are washed ashore

like jellyfish on public beaches

where the rich don’t swim in their own pollution.

The rich believe they’re a season unto themselves.

They resent the poor like winter.

In all kinds of private weather

the poor must suck

the milkless dugs of the earth

like a foodbank with empty shelves.

The rich sink their money

into old continents like Atlantis

christening the hubris of another Titanic

with champagne on icebergs

and when the market panics

feed the children of the poor

to the jaws of the economic laws of a praying mantis

then jump ship like plague rats in Genoa.

The poor know that most of the rich are thieves.

Like the Inuit do for snow

the rich have twenty-six words for greed.

The poor have one for need.

The rich think you can turn a maggot into a butterfly

if you invest your worm in the right cocoon,

that you can wash blood off with blood

and dirt with dirt

with the shirt off another man’s back.

But even when the rich reek

like waterlilies in a swamp

trying to pretend they’re loveletters they’re not

the poor can still smell the stench of the rot they’re rooted in.

The rich indulge in plastic surgery and Hollywood implants

and lavish their poodles on manicures.

They give their death masks a facelift

and change their socks like chins,

but the poor can still see the lies in the eyes

beyond the cosmetic spin

of the tucked-up buttocks

of the tight-assed politicians.

The poor know their are cures in the world

for what kills their children,

they know there is food to eat

and water to drink

and land enough to build a house

on the ancient cornerstone

of the unshakeable mother

who shelters us all like a planet.

The rich take up both sides of a war

like a nightshift quota of guns

to arm the poor against the poor

by the hundreds of millions,

children against children like hand grenades.

The rich give the poor cancer

and then sell them bandaids.

The rich have only one answer

when poverty questions privilege.

An air force general in shades

with a camera crew in a bombed-out village.

The poor eat bitter bread with the dead.

The rich eat the living like locusts.

The crumbs of the dreams in their eyes

when they wake up to the next nightmare

fill the larders of the poor

with a harvest of thorns

as if there were no past or future

in the timeless plight of the moment.

The rich fill their siloes with missiles

that live off the fat of the land

like serpents live off liposuction

or surgeons off the thighs of Rhode Island.

The poor plant their seed in quicksand.

The rich plant theirs on the foreheads of the poor

and breed their young to feed

on the nanny of the living host

like a caterpillar with a butterfly ghost.

The rich have lawyers to break the law for them.

The poor are doing eight to ten

in a maximum security pen

with razor-wire and weights.

The rich are swinging golf clubs at the moon

without fences or gates

doing their time like June in a white collar

laundered like the crisp new dollar

that feathered the misdemeanors of their fates

like summer snowflakes.

The poor come to the garden

like birds to the leftovers

that have fallen to ground in Eden

from the tables of the rich

who trickle down the foodchain

like mosquitoes in a gangrenous ditch.

The rich say to the poor

the more we eat

the more there is for you to taste.

The poor say to the rich

thanks for the shit sandwich.

You could educate a province or a state

with what the rich waste.

The ants tax the poor like aphids.

The poor have a monopoly on despair.

The rich are still rich without money.

The poor swallow killer bees with their honey.

The rich invented evolution

to justify the ways of their species to the poor

who live like Neanderthals on the brink of extinction

who bet on the wrong bear

to survive the genetic distinction.

The poor are too often corrupted by compassion.

The rich feign poverty like a nose-ring of fashion

that pays the children of the poor

to put holes in their clothes

in the sweatshops of HongKong for Armani.

The soles of Nike running shoes

have more of a fingerprint

than the logoless identity

in the eyes of the skinny kid who made them

so that the rich could stay fit.

The rich sport full bellies in heaven.

The poor are boiling dice to make a thin soup

of the snake-eyes

that scaled their seven come elevens

like bad risks in the back-alleys of paradise.

Heaven’s the slumlord of hell

where poverty’s a vice

and there’s no doorbell.

The poor experience the worst.

The rich quote chapter and verse.

The rich build Taj Mahals of the spirit

with other men’s hands.

The poor build their own hovels

in ghettos of consumer quicksand

that anyone can own without warning.

The rich tell the poor they have a future

that looks like them in the morning.

The poor know how hard it is

to make the most of a present

like a dead lottery ticket

where everything is missing.

How can you get from now till then

as if less were truly more on easy street

when the future’s already been turned out like a whore

on a sleazy block of sexual charades

where the rich pimp their floats

like civic parades they ride

like golden chariots through the slum

that came of the kingdom on earth

the poor were promised

like the afterbirth of their afterlives hereafter.

In the house of life

the rich know they’re the rafter.

The poor know they’re the falling plaster.

Flesh and bone.

Blood and marrow.

One, a limousine.

The other, the empty stomach

of an overworked wheelbarrow

that’s been coupled like a locomotive

to the front end of the gravy train

for the long haul

up the world mountain

that keeps avalanching like Sispyhus

down upon all of us

like a banking failure

that walks all over us with our own feet. 

The rich sell hope to the poor like the front door

on a piece of real estate.

And over the full moons of their harvest plates

the rich say grace for what they’ve received.

The poor curse the blighted grain of the pre-emptive eclipse

that swallowed the moon like the cosmic glain

and disgorged them like the withered shells

of cosmically empty wallets.

The rich squeak like the hinges on a prison door

to the poor about liberty,

but the poor are not deceived.

They take their seat

below the salt of the flat earth

like anxious dogs under the table

hoping some scrap of life will fall off

like the fat of the superflux

from the overstated laps of luxury

where one planet’s never enough

to fill the insatiate siloes of a black hole.

One, a peacock with Persian eyes.

The other, a star-nosed mole.

The rich are the new theocracy of economics

and free enterprise the creed of their holy war.

Pleonaxia is a Greek word

adopted into English to denote

the disease of more and more and more.

But the poor understand the politics of the trough,

the bread and circuses,

the breaking of loaves,

the fish and the fishing nets

that drag the Dead Sea for humans

and how the laziest lions are first to the feast

and the vultures and hyenas and jackals

must wait with the worms

to snatch their fill of what’s left,

knowing full well that one man’s meat

is another man’s roadkill

and the obesity of the glutton is a kind of theft.

The poor understand the free-for-all laws of supply and demand

are subjunctively simple and neat.

All over the world tonight

if the poor weren’t hungry

the rich wouldn’t eat.
























The rich sell hope to the poor



if the poor weren’t hungry

the rich wouldn’t eat.