AN EXCERPT FROM “TICKER” FROM THE MARKET WONDERS

In Revelations the angel commands John the Divine Rise and measure! And thus begins

a prophecy  a litany of calculations  40 and 2 months  2 witnesses  200 and 3-score days   

 

2 olive trees 2 candlesticks in a singe of data John like a physicist scavenges for God 3.5 days,

4 and 20 elders, 12 stars, for the prophets to measure is to signify and separate “Rise and measure

 

the temple of God” they told him “but do not measure the court outside” something or some-1

is always left out 7 heads, 10 horns, 7 crowns accounting is frequently an exercise of power

 

(we ticker we financial officer) as in the story of the Samurai who falsely accuses his servant

Okiku of stealing 1 of his 10 delft plates his words spreadsheet she inventories 1 2 3 must be

 

4 5 6 mistaken 7 8 9 counts again her master will spare her if she fucks him an equation

she refuses he throws her down a well            a well is a chamber of calculations an ear

 

a labyrinth of bone a darkness so seldom our habitat  whence Okiku endlessly counts 1 2

my genre is cross-cultural 3 4 epic ticker 5 6 and genres fall 7 8 from office buildings 9

 

Okiku screams like mid-level managers in the 1930s equations spool through us pool storm

drains confirm the season in Revelations the angel never specifies standard or index or weather

 

a portfolio of catastrophe spirals round in times of stress as before a fall or angel or robbery

we see in hyper-reality innumerable pixels (my god my 401K my billfold) at gunpoint

 

in the backseat of my airport taxi my epic is national precarity the poet said his mind burned

with numbers—arithmomania—John’s angel commanded Measure! gunman barked Give me

 

your wallet or I’ll fucking kill you! to submit to another’s accounting is to surrender is to actuary

in a taxi where I hand over my money (so financial adviser so market crashed) not counting

 

 

***

 

Susan Briante is the author of Pioneers in the Study of Motion (2007) and Utopia Minus (2011). For her forthcoming collection, The Market Wonders, Briante started recording the closing number of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. She let those numbers randomly guide her to texts: plugging them into Project Gutenberg, Bartlett’s quotations, online versions of Paradise Lost and Leaves of Grass as well as various search engines. She allowed those texts to exert their influence over a series of poems (sometimes very directly, sometimes more subtly) much in the same way the closing number of the Dow exerts an influence over our lives.

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