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2003-07-10 - 3:42 p.m.

Our father, who art good for all debts, public or private

The 7-11 clerk refuses to drop my Clown George
into his box of stacked, dead faces.
He tells me, thatís a crime, defacing currency.
A crime? I didnít know it was a crime.
After all, donít firemen snip pennies in half
to demonstrate the awesome cutting power of the Jaws of Life
to classrooms full of impressionable children?
Has anyone been arrested for this crime? Itís hard to imagine
anyone wearing an orange jumpsuit,
spearing and bagging trash
on the grassy sides of Americaís freeways
for drawing an afro on Alexander or shades on Abe.

Our father, who art on money, I cannot tell a lie;
It was me. I highlighted your face flamingo pink,
I drew the satanic horns on your powdered wig,
the Stalin moustache in ballpoint ink,
and, my coup de grace,
two line-drawn breasts over your frilly shirt.

Like all career criminals I started small:
maybe stamping a dollar bill with a cartoon voice-balloon
jutting from your presidential mouth, ďI grew pot,Ē
maybe setting a nickel on the subway tracks,
poor Jeffersonís oblate face made a melting droid before a taffy Monticelloó
does this make me a terrible person, oh twisted George?
Tell me the truth; you canít lie through wooden teeth.

I just thought you needed a makeover, thatís all.
I was just trying to help. Iím not sorry.
If it were up to me, no two bills would look the same.
Iíll see every dollar I earn augmented
with scented magic markers.
Lucky for you my scope is limited.
Lucky for you Iím a poet, George,
and donít see that much cash.

 

 

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