Susan Briante
Notes Towards a Poetics of the Dow             (page 6)

Farid rests in child’s pose on the living room floor. Nina sleeps in her crib. The Dow closes its eyes. In the park across our street, nothing blooms. Winter grass the color of a lioness. My warrior. My tree.

After yoga, we watch the news. After the fall of Mubarak, they talk to tailors on Cairo streets. They show video of doctors who treated the revolution’s wounded. People write congratulatory notes on their lab coat sleeves. We love the look of magic marker on white cloth. But no one tells us how much money we’ve sent the dictator over the years. How many more receive our checks? There are bigger equations, larger alphabets.

In 1994, the artist Mark Lombardi began working on a series of spindled drawings that graph relationships between business and government elites, tracing paths of financial meltdowns and mergers, shady deals and convenient bedfellows. The poem, as well, can spin webs from matters that matter. Juliana Spahr remarks on the lyric's potential to "reveal how our private intimacies have public obligations and ramifications."

The archive is wide. The poem accepts yellow leaves, guide stars, a crop failing, my milk coming in. We need the aerial photograph and microscopic slides as well as something beyond our personal viewfinders. Not a ball and chain of cause and effect, but a tendency toward pattern, implication, investigations of ecstasy and grief.

The artist Mark Lombardi worked in pencil.

The poem and the stock market welcome speculation.


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