Rage & Economics
Stan Mir
Sometimes I see it all 
as a product of rage.
The black men sleeping
on the Pickett School's 
steps, for instance.
Karl Marx would see 
it as economic.
I agree with Marx. 
Rage & economics.
Garlic at the Fresh 
Grocer claims made
in China. What's it
like to be a banker,
what's it like to be
a shitbag? In a poem
to Virgil Moore
Tim Dlugos lived 
"cheek-by-jowl with 
the poor/whose lives
we thought would have
improved by now/through
self-determination and 
a brand new kind/of
socialism, one which 
put down nobody." His
friend Virgil had been 
dead for years & he wanted 
him to know nothing much
had changed. Friends had 
aged, Reagan got elected. 
My grandparents think Obama
wants to turn America into
another Germany – the Nazi
version. Nothing much has 
changed, except more looks
the same. That's American
socialism. All the same, no
questions asked. Ricky Boy
tells me other than the "Feminist
Problem" of the 1960s, we're 
doing fine. Maybe that came 
out wrong, he says. I know it
came out as thought. There's
more to be done than I thought. 
How do I tell him Capitalism 
is a bag of shit & not hurt his
feelings. Maybe say bag of crap,
not shit, & hope he don't cry.
Apparently, Americans fear 
the reaper. That's why they want
nothing to change. He'll only 
chew the rocks of The Tennis 
Court Oath, if I ask him (force 
him?). I only know two things:
loved ones are important &
we should do good for people.
I think I learned that by using
my eyes – Look at us! We all need 
help. It's no secret, the Soviet
Union was a disaster. Jean
Donnelly in "Anthem" says
"not all fifty states
can be beautiful." 
If she means people I think
I agree. If she means land, 
I wonder. The sky is the bruise
in my brain. Solemn grey. I think
I like it. My father once said, 
in 1995, Marxism only works
on paper. In 2009, Capitalism 
barely works in practice. Another
student asks "Can we disagree,
or are we just supposed to get 
with the program?" I suppose
it depends upon one's notion
of disagreement. If that notion
is complicit with the quo I'd 
hesitate & think. I've been told
consistent lateness is unprofessional, 
that it's hard to be entertained & 
that poems aren't interesting. 
The hosts of American Idol getting
jack-hammered in the dull night,
that's entertainment, but cruel.
Don't I not support cruelty?
I like to sit where the flowers are
in 30th St. Station & ride the 6:23 
AM train. As you ride, the light 
grows into buildings & the trees
leaf green. Walking in the Whosoever
Gospel Mission I ask for lamps.
Today they are 20% off. A man with
few teeth takes me from room to
room. I'm not looking for the light
of Jesus. He is a light to some.
We brush past a man, whose breath
stinks of smoke & rot. He's got
a cavity, whether he knows or not. 
No lamp appeals to my sensibility.
I think why have one? It'd be easier
not to. Magic Johnson promises
100% satisfaction guaranteed at
Rent-A-Center. Lottery tickets
rip the streets. The other day I 
bought wine. A woman asked me
to buy her pants. She had few 
teeth & stood with soft voice
in front of Best Thrift – New 
Selections Daily. If I had taken 
the bus, what would I have seen?
This timeless indictment. 3 lb. box
Sweet Tangerines $1.99/ea. The
Symphony is nice to go to it costs
at least $9.00. This is a big engine.
It purrs. Shalom Beauty Discount
couldn't stay open. They sold wigs
& closed. Christian Books & 
Gifts……And Then Some are 
open & two doors down dealers
belly-up to the bar in DelMar 
Lounge. They sell the Champagne
of Beers in there for $2.00 & 
sometimes never close. I have
the privilege of distance & 
discourse now to know the fix
is in & not here to be found
in some present form, because
we've not thought it, or perhaps
we have, how would I know? 
The privilege & discourse of 
distance is a removal, a talking
about the thing with no idea
attached, or there is an idea
so fixed it blinds those who should
know. We are made things to be,
eat, & swallow. Whole petunias.
Not really. More like a feral cat,
who starves for want, eats rocks,
ending with rectal prolapse. This 
isn't from my imagination. This
makes my imagination. I have 
seen it on the 4600 block of
Pulaski. Carolina called the SPCA.
They couldn't come. Animal Control
said they could & put the cat to sleep.
No one to accept the responsibility 
for the animal alive. What's happened
to the supposed arch-American 
interest in aversive thinking? 
So few of us turn away. We turn 
rather like a blob. Only now 
am I getting to where I am.

Stan Mir is the author of The Lacustrine Suite (Pavement Saw, 2011) and Song & Glass (Subito, 2010). His poetry and reviews have been published in Denver Quarterly, Fact-Simile, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Zoland Poetry, and other publications. He lives in Philadelphia and teaches writing and literature at Temple University.