A modest proposal

by Geoff Page

Money is a kind of poetry

– Wallace Stevens


It sounds oracular but really
no one knows what Wallace meant.
Conversely then, we're bound to ask
'Is poetry a kind of money?'
It circulates and has a value;
is often to be found on paper
tattered at the edges -
even sometimes in our wallets
though no great use at Coles.
Money = Competition.
Let's focus on the best then, shall we?
It's not too big a call.
In stadia on Friday nights
huge contests will be staged beneath
our sportsmen's fine arrays of light
and broadcast to the world.
We'll 'podium' the first to make
a quick, two-minute sonnet with
no touch of any defect.
There'll be the octave and sestet,
the rhyme scheme, present and correct
with no half rhymes permitted,
pentameters, iambic only.
There'll be a need for on-line betting
and, tracking hard upon,
a pharmacopia of drugs.
Not just the touch of opium
that gave young S.T.C. his break
but serious, big-money stuff:
the peptides and the HGH,
the anabolic steroids
to muscle-up the brain.
Poets at the starting gun
will be more beady-eyed than possums
benzedrined at dawn.
Bidding wars to sponsor all
these fine exemplars to our youth
will blu-tack glossy posters on
a nation's teenage walls,
displaying all the latest moves
for prancing with a mike.
Though sonneteers have long been known
to steal their line or two
this time even Cosa Nostra
plans to be involved.
The garrets will at last be emptied!
Money = Poetry.
Ergo, the reverse.
There's been enough delay.
Let's ring the MCG right now!
The future's on its way.

From Griffith REVIEW Edition 44: Cultural Solutions © Copyright Griffith University & the author.