The 1%

The 1%
by Frederick Pollack

I buy him, he buys me
with what we made divesting ourselves
of the last vulgar matter in
our portfolios. Then I buy Charles,
who owns the water somewhere.
Managers are let go
with manly hugs. Without regret,
they buy one home where we buy eight
in various sylvan glades.
And at each turn we create jobs:
drivers, pilots, gardeners,
my tailor – extending rank on rank
as in old posters
to the greenwood where frontiersmen
still, undoubtedly, spit on their hands,
build houses, and will one day buy us all.

Flunkeys labor in the clouds;
we, on a lower floor,
like to be part of things. But this year,
misguided people mar
the park below our window. Pete,
of Euro-Pacific Capital,
went down to film himself
attempting to instruct them; they were rude.
We put up a sign –
“We are the 1%!” –
in response to their silly boast,
and by the window drank their health in champagne.

It’s cold down there. At night,
they look like maggots in their sleeping-bags.
We can see through their tents;
would have total data if needed.
By day they do the repetition thing –
nonsense, objections, divagations
all with the same enthusiasm.
One girl on a generator-bike
is their flywheel; I think
she stared at me once.
“You’ll get more out of me,” said Leon, late
of Goldman, “if you treat me with respect.”
It’s not even that. We only
want simple humanity.

The 1% — Fred Pollack

Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press. Other of his poems and essays have appeared in Hudson Review, Southern Review, Fulcrum, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Die Gazette (Munich), Representations and elsewhere. Poems have most recently appeared in the print journals Magma (UK), The Hat, Bateau, and Chiron Review. Online publications in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, Diagram, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire Review, Mudlark, and elsewhere. Pollack is an adjunct professor of creative writing at George Washington University, Washington, DC.

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