Ask Why | Things to Consider…


poems by Michael Melançon


Ask Why


A drunk-ass dead broke white man
sits sullen
and petulant
and full of visions
in an overpriced hotel
in an overpriced city
in the middle of a big damn desert in big damn America
where at 3am in the Key Players Club
with bargain vodka and Chinese cigars
he charges his brain with nicotine martinis,
rehashes the manic mechanics of attraction,
wonders about the deep
cavernous humid hot funk

that drove him hungry and penitent
into the unforgiving evening
singing softly

o to be,
post-structured like me.
my zeitgeist
ain’t the right geist!

remembering Houston in the good days
when his stock soared like the American Eagle
and Ken Lay walked the earth like John the fucking Baptist
shilling for a christ who sold short.

Bip bip bip goes the market,
Bull-bear bull-bear, we’re goin’ nowhere!

and nowhere fast
except the financial pinnacle
of a debt-driven economy,
floating high on bubble-stocks
and balloon-note mortgages
like seeing the whole of hell
just before you dive in
and dance with the demons
in a trading-floor mosh pit:

pork-belly, oil futures, real estate, junk bonds

devalued? delisted?
ah, kiss my toxic assets
I’ll hang for the long run
because that’s what one does here
dangling at the dawn of this mad millennium,
poker chip
in God’s game of Texas hold-em.
Toss me in the pot, babe, I’m all in to win!
And when the billowing
sheets of my portfolio
blow sky high then drift
slowly back down to earth
you just stretch my body out
in the gutter, right there
in front of Arthur A’s House of Accounting and Voodoo;
let the naysayers and liberals
line up around the block
to spit on me,
but I’m the last of the motherfuckin’ cavemen, kids
and I’ve hunted and gathered a shitpile of debt
which I lay on your doorstep,
along with my number-three finger,
extended skyward
just for you.



Things to Consider When Chase Bank Has You on Hold


I live in the America
of pistol and foreclosure

where the weight of my wallet
is borne aloft
by usurious angels
singing “FICO in the highest”

where even the dancing girls
of my imagination
want their tips up front.

I spent the last of my wealth
pretending I wasn’t poor,
in a 40-year wilderness
of borrowed milk
and financed honey

and now I’ve stared so hard
at plastic destiny
trying to make it manifest
one minimum payment at a time
that my eyes have gone dark
and I see only the afterimage
of a world made wild
with mad surges
of capital and credit.

I made a pilgrimage to Delaware
to light an angry fire,
burned bank statements
and ashed myself in penitence
for sins I don’t remember,
cut a wafer from my Visa
took it on my tongue:

O my god America,
This is my bank broken for you.
This is my blood oiling your economy.
Can’t you pick up the phone?