The streets are paved in the shadow
of a hustle you can’t see, only feel.
There’s a hole in the wallet where money falls out
just as fast as you stuff it in.
Fat-cat looking out of the tower
doesn’t come down to pick your pocket.
He sends word down through a memo
to his secretary who sends word down
through an army of suits and ties
that hang like leashes. The orders go out
and the system lights up with digital
readouts and swinging traffic lights,
sirens. And disco lights if it gets bad enough.
All the bees flee the hive when the buzzer
goes off at five and step out into the fray.
Assistant to the Assistant of the VP of This-and-That
slithers out of the alley in last year’s Mercedes
and sees the graffiti work that’s been popping up
Under a mural of a trio of men
squat beside a fire warming up a frying pan of not much at all.
It took the Assistant to the Assistant of the VP of This-and-That
most of the night down at the pub to remember why that
trio cooking in the mural seemed so familiar.
College undergrad, before the MBA, he had to read
The Grapes of Wrath and found himself recoiling
at the subtext with anemic disgust. The men, he recalled,
getting a sermon of sorts and he knew it was Chapter 14.
Knew it cause he marked it and read it at parties with
People who could afford to put two cents in their loafers.
Ray Ban Dan smoking a Camel and acting stoned
Yelling, “Fuck those Commies,” when the
Future Assistant to the Assistant to the VP of This-and-That
read into the heart of Chapter 14 of the Grapes of Wrath.
In the bar he grinned remembering his fucked up friend,
Ray Ban Dan, who graduated cum laude despite
being in the middle of a sexual assault investigation.
Ray Ban Dan now doing two years for some SEC violation,
The kind they all do way up where no one can see.
He crossed his I’s but forgot to dot his T’s.
And the word.