Sunday, December 14, 2008


Working -- finally! -- on an idea I've had for over a decade: a series of poems utilizing financial or Wall Street jargon. I want to say the idea came to the fore due to recent Wall Street & recessionary troubles -- but, actually, I may still not be following up on this were it not for the generous encouragement of John Olson who seems to consider the idea a good investment (grin).

So I've been jotting down a list of words to poeticize, like "clawback" (which refers to the long-overdue efforts in the financial industry to take back (claw back) bonuses from bankers who created stupid financial deals such as those that have cratered several banks of late), or what actually started me thinking about this project over a decade ago: "numbers crunching." When I was still working in the finance industry, I was describing my job to a girlfriend whose career is in medicine. And as I was boringly going on about financial analysis, she interrupted me to ask, "Eileen, how exactly do you crunch numbers?"

I thought it hilarious -- having taken the phrase "numbers crunching" (analyzing numbers, statistics, et al) for granted and not realizing that its literal meaning would be senseless to someone not in the finance industry. The real question, of course, is whether numbers are tasty -- and it'll take a poem to answer that!

Anyway, today, I wrote the first poem attempt in this series -- and I hadn't expected it would be a "pwoermd", but that's cool, too. Here's the inaugural poem to TRADING WALL STREET:


I would be comfortable with just the one-word poem above if published as part of the "Trading Wall Street" series (earlier working titles were "Recession" and then "Wall Street Trades"). But, when presented singly, I initially thought (since the poem is based on a real life story) of giving it a title, even a didactic title like "Pwoermd for Ex-Bear Stearns Bankers Who Ended Up at Bank of America". Or maybe a title like "2008" would suffice... until I remembered of course, the poem digging its winged elbow into moi ribs, Fughet it -- why explain?

I bother with this explanatory paragraph just because my ribs hurt and I'm glaring back at the poem: Folks would recognize the concept of "liposuction", of course. But without the reference to Wall Street, would folks recognize "LIFO" as the accounting term "last in, first out" ... which then would have a particular resonance given Bank of America's recent announcement to lay off about 35,000 workers in the next years ahead?

Anyway, I'm just cogitating. For now, I just want to thank John Olson for the power of his encouragement -- and name drop him, too, because I want to say his poetry book ECHO REGIME is brilliant...and I am looking forward to his BACKSCATTER: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS. Peeps -- you all should have John Olson on your poetry bookshelves! His poems...resonate! And would provide worthwhile returns on your time and attention!

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