Thursday, April 13, 2017

In a Post-Bubble Credit-Collapse Environment by Lawrence Joseph

In a Post-Bubble Credit-Collapse Environment

No clouds, now, nearer to Brooklyn Bridge
than the Bridge is to the Heights. Half a block east,

barefoot on shards of glass, a towel wrapped
around his waist, shaving cream on the left side

of his face—a block south, beside a fire hydrant,
a leg is found severed at the knee. Internal or external—

what difference does it make? I shake the snow
from my coat, take off my gloves, set them

on the counter. I step back onto Spring Street,
and, on Greenwich, start downtown. Sight and sound

reconfigured, details, truths, colors, and shapes
round out the aesthetic. Things changed

and unchanged, and not only in abstract ways.
This young man, yellow pants, undershirt,

stands eating from a garbage bin, patches of ice
on the East River esplanade. One World

Trade Center’s structural steel has reached
the fifty-second of a hundred and four stories.

The light is in a pink and a coral, moving through
pink and violet scumbled over pink, turning red

on violet. That was yesterday’s twilight—this afternoon,
white and gray, and hot. Is everything between

six banks and everything else connected, does the old
money ultimately determine the new? “It’s really, really

tight out there, how can you not think about it?”
is her answer, while seated on the sidewalk at the corner

of Wall and Broad across from the illuminated
Stock Exchange, with backpack and smartphone,

mineral water, sleeping bag, bananas, and figs,
police vans parked up on Nassau, helicopters circling

overhead, her presence digitally monitored.
In a post-bubble credit-collapse environment

three-hundred-and-fifty-per-cent interest rates on payday loans
and the multi-trillion-dollar market in credit-default swaps

are history. “Sub-moron”—the assistant district attorney
bursts into laughter—“drops his coin into the pay phone,

then goes and orders retaliation from the Tombs.”
Sunday’s forecast, the high tide to coincide

with Irene’s heavy rains and hurricane-force winds,
sea level to rise four, five feet at the Battery.


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