(optional!) prompt: keeping to the theme of poetry’s value, Wallace Stevens famously wrote that “money is a kind of poetry.” So today, I challenge you to write about money! It could be about not having enough, having too much (a nice kind of problem to have), the smell, or feel, or sensory aspects of money. It could also just be a poem about how we decide what has value or worth.
My poem is an ekphrastic poem, based on a satirical cartoon by Pawel Kuczynski. You can view it here: Dollar – Pawel Kuczynski – Canvas. In March, a Canadian soldier was killed in Iraq by friendly fire. They held a ceremony on the tarmac at Erbil before takeoff to bring his body home.
Behold the desert, blanketed with dollars.
No sound of drums: instead the muffled thwack
of metal as it beats against the fabric of money.
A treasure of weapons rains down upon sand.
Which gun will kill our own in friendly fire
out of the dark? Whose casket will travel
on the shoulders of eight comrades, blanketed
in the red and white flag, in ceremony
at Erbil in Iraq on a Sunday in March?
Carol A. Stephen