Bring To Me

(Our Times. May, 1990; Lazara Press broadsheet, May, 1995, Riding Home, Talon Books, 1995)

Bring to me your tattered papers,
your unreconciled bank statements from 1987,
your dusty boxes of crumpled receipts
and I will make a ledger of them.
Bring to me your unfiled and unanswered letters
with no date stamp or return address
and I will make them
correspondence.

When you see a drunk crawling down the street,
you can tell right away
he never kept a household ledger.
When you see a jogger, red-faced and panting,
you can instantly conclude
he doesn’t keep proper books.
Reading the ads for the new age spiritual
capitalist rip-off,
you think: people wouldn’t fall for this
if they always
did their bank reconciliation.

Religious people have to accept
things on faith, of course,
so they never check
the addition on financial statements
nor work for social change.
They have to accept
that someone knows better
and never discover
that the ultimate mysteries
like god and a statement of income and expenses
should be calculated
and questioned.

If people kept proper books
there would be no need for drugs,
or violence,
or delinquency, juvenile or otherwise.
The police would be kept only to rescue
treed kittens.

Bookkeeping is informative, orderly
and comforting.
There is no one too drugged,
too degraded
that they cannot find joy in a
ledger card.
No matter how depressed you are,
the adjusted balance on your bank statement
must equal
the balance in your cheque book.
No matter how unhappy a childhood you had,
debits always have to equal credits.

The ilk that includes racists, anti-semites
and other unclean, evil-doing things,
seems unaware that their books
will be balanced by others,
eventually.

I’m not telling this to everyone,
just Sheila and selected women’s groups.
The meaning of life is that
debits have to equal credits.
Or maybe
the meaning of life is that
the great goddess created plants
and we are here only
to breathe in oxygen
and breathe out carbon dioxide
for the benefit of plants.
Our duty is
to breathe and make compost
so debits will equal credits
as it were.

August,1989
Copyright 2009, Helen Potrebenko. For permissions please visit http://helenpotrebenko.icopyright.com

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