Century of trade, Tasos Leivaditis


Offer and demand regulate society,
said my big brother Marx. A small, immoral
every gesture, every word, and even your deepest thought,
big talk at the street corners, the orators like the
lottery ticket sellers
advertising dreams for future lotteries,
sentiments in the Stock Market, revenues and expenses
in the daybooks, debit, credit,
balance sheets, bounced bills of exchange, shares,
even if this woman cries in the street, does it matter?
“We live in a great era”, the tipsters never go
on strike,
small, crippled wages bought with lost
uncertain knowledge, paid with all your certain youth,
it rains coins, people run like crazy to
collect them,
Greek, Roman, Babylonian, coins of all the ages,
silver dollars,
the rain falls heavily, mercilessly, many are killed,
door-to-door salesmen are buying the corpses ― they will be needed
the day after tomorrow
as unpaid receipts of “our great era”,
and for these few verses it took a whole
treasury of pain, in order to extract them
from avaricious eternity, like loan sharks our days
steal our life, so much heat, my God, still it rains,
what a lousy weather, but you won’t con me, gentlemen,
I’m a genius among your kind, debit, credit,
Rockefeller started
by selling pins. So, I shall build myself a big
protective house
with the stones that you have thrown at me
in all my life.

Tasos Leivaditis, 1965


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