Subscribe to Toylit

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tragedy of the Commons [Today's News Poem, Feb 14, 2010]

Tragedy of the Commons [Today's News Poem, Feb 14, 2010]

“The crisis in Greece poses the most significant challenge yet to Europe’s common currency, the euro, and the Continent’s goal of economic unity. The country is, in the argot of banking, too big to be allowed to fail. Greece owes the world $300 billion, and major banks are on the hook for much of that debt. A default would reverberate around the globe. “
–The New York Times, Louise Story, Landon Thomas Jr., and Nelson D. Schwartz.

The tragedy of common spaces
Reveals itself in urban texting—
In cars and trucks and bikers: laces.
They're graphed as rays and find it vexing
To foil themselves for other faces.
'Fulfill the self,' a form of hexing:
A fear from all inspires their races—
They're paranoid, except for sexing.

We strive for freedom, hence we seek a yield.
While money stores our work as energy—
It plays security in trade, a shield
From naught—it also fuels our liturgy-
Anxieties. In excess, wealth can wield
Itself and needs no other synergy:
So wealth exaggerates the jagged field;
The poor lose hope and fail to lethargy.

Karl Marx once wrote that capital's a vampire sucking work from living hosts.
We've many dooms to choose: unseen and mighty hands we pray are God's;
Or atheistic Bolsheviks; just call on revolution's ghosts—
Or fuck it all and everyone, this world was made to pit us all at odds.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Subscribe in a reader


Zach Marx said...

Pretty sure you mean fall to lethargy.

Zach Marx said...

Judging from a comment you made on CL, I was wrong.

I don't think of myself as slow, but I'm not a poet, so I'll ask: why is it that you choose to say 'fail' instead of the more obviously correct (at least to me) 'fall?'

Avoiding obvious word choices lends uniqueness to writing, but in this case I feel like the decision makes the poem less clear and less moving.

I suppose there is more to digest in your version: they are eventually reduced to lethargy by their failures, as opposed to merely collapsing into it as the natural course of things.

However, you've already said they 'lose hope'--when hope is lost, lethargy seems a natural outcome.

Finally, as a physics student, I prefer the word 'fall' because it lends gravity to their situation.

I'm glad I stumbled across your existence about a month ago, but I should really get to work.