Quand il pleut, il pleut des financiers

(Men in bowler hats descend from the clouds in Magritte’s painting, “Golconde”)

America, awake! Last night Connecticut
suffered a fall of financiers, precipitate
from aerial fleets unseen and traceable
to nowhere on or in the globe.
At dawn a gray cascade
of overcoats and bowler hats
commenced, each agent replete
with tie and unscuffed shoes,
each with a grim and businesslike
demeanor -- a few, with executive
gray sideburns, clasped briefs
full of significant business plans
and letters of unlimited credit.

Only a few insomniacs
witnessed this chute des etrangers,
silent as dew and just as discreet,
without a flutter of parachute,
without a crease in the perfect lawns.
The anti- Newtonian host
walked with deliberate speed
to the waiting commuter trains
from whence they vanished
unnoticed into Wall Street,
courthouse and brokerage,
library and chapel, gone --
gone and never seen again!
Imposters! Who knows what plots
they hatched in their resemblance
to no one at all! Within days the banks
were belching loans; the wives at home
had well-dressed afternoon lovers;
dogs stood confused at whom to heel
or whom to bar from the kitchen door.

The birth rate rose astonishingly,
as featureless babies that refused to cry
swamped the suburban nurseries.

And this was just the start: the cloud
that made them was but a wisp
of a much larger storm, forging
its turgid thunder into an army
of Nobodies, incurable bores
intent on crowding out everyone
who’s read a book or has an opinion.
Their secret handshakes and nods,
the curious little lapel pins
that your eyes can’t focus on,
the sinister stripes on their ties
not corresponding to any known school
or regiment; the half-wink
they seem to use to greet one another,
smirking at others’ exclusion:

these were the symptoms, alien
and alienating. There were more
like them with each passing month.
The “suits,”
as they called themselves, were here to stay.
As for the rest of us, we
were merged and acquired,
outsourced, down-sized,
shown to the door by security,
rezoned, foreclosed,
eminent-domained, evicted,
bankrupted and down-debited,
rust belt trailer park shantied –

just as it was planned
in their spreadsheets,
forecast in their Powerpoint
laptop PDA wireless
global master plan.

We were only here
to serve the Nobodies
on their road to acquiring
Absolutely Everything.


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