Dollars, euros, yen:
they’re all just pretty pieces of rags,
cotton, linen, and silk,
a bit of Crane paper, so we’re told.
Those currencies that no longer
predicate their value on precious metals,
gold or silver, for example,
have no more intrinsic worth than
fancy rags made of shirt fabrics.
Paper money is then much like
a wedding song “O, Promise Me”
performed over and over and over
until becoming superfluous.
Then the wedding guests long
for something more enduring
like Bach, Chopin, or Mendelssohn
(gold, silver, or real estate)
with no promises attached.
Then the mints are inked-up
the engraving plates polished to a sparkle,
and the fat lady is ready to sing her swan song,
“All of Me.”
At least if the current currency
breaks its promise and leaves me destitute,
with no purchasing power at all,
I can gather up all those little rectangles
and make a quilt or a pair of trousers,
if I can learn to sew.
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