by James C. Henderson

Previously published in: Crossings at Carnegie, ed.
The Tenth Annual Poet Artist Collaboration, Zumbrota:
Theis Printing, Inc., 2011.

Money, money, money…
The whole world goes to bed and wakes up worrying about
how there’s not enough—money.
The capitalists tell us this is the natural order of things.
They point out rich people in ads, movies, on the street.
It’s not a lack of opportunity that keeps us poor
but a lack of optimism.
So, The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
sells 60,000 copies annually.
And when, in one of the houses along Main Street
someone goes mad in a splash of pages
Wall Street just rings its closing bell a little louder
to cover the wails of anguish.
Edmund Burke tells us: “The laws of commerce . . .
are the laws of nature, and consequently the laws of God.”
I can’t speak for God, but I know
the maple tree outside my window shakes its leaves
the size of my palm
not to the invisible machinations of Adam Smith
but the chill autumn rain.
Stevens says, one, nothing himself
must have been cold a long time
to behold the “nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.”
Change Your Mind, Change Your Life.
Just as our brain synapses dissolve, just as our nerve fibers fray
nature is dying, too, leaving
yellow handprints on the grass, chemical green.
It is out of whole cloth that we slice pieces of Eden
perfect and weed-free and spread them
verdant cloths over our tables at Thanksgiving
in anticipation of candied yams, creamed corn
mashed potatoes and boatloads of gravy
the glistening golden brown
Norman Rockwell turkey that year after year
slides before us on a silver platter
without anyone asking how
without anyone asking why.