Friday, February 5, 2010

The Day I Was an Arcade Machine

Here's a poem that I'm happy with, but which might not make the final cut of the manuscript I'm putting together. Inspired by a short story by Geoffrey Forsyth.

This happened to me on exactly the wrong day:
I lost my voice, and every time I tried to speak,
brass coins would flop out of my mouth. Engaging
customers was more hellish than usual. Making
their change at the register was all but impossible.
People kept bringing back their ice cream—they
had heard how filthy money was supposed to be
and they feared for their health. I kept turning to
Bob hoping he'd send me home, but Bob was too
busy tuning the yogurt machines to be bothered.
And of course I couldn't ask him. I need this job.
I was virtually unemployable as it was, and now
I spoke in a foreign currency. These coins had
the face of a woman with cropped hair on one
side and some kind of marsupial looking down
at its empty chest on the other. I picked one up
and started to wonder, what if everyone started
doing this, like a sort of very lucrative pandemic.
If we all spoke in the same coins, I imagined,
inflation would kill us.

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