"...71.7%  of (privately-owned) wealth is in the hands of the richest 10% of United States families. The remaining 90% of all families had 28.2%......If one excludes the value of homes....the concentration is greater. Therichest 10% of American families owns 83.2% of all private wealth; the remaining 90% of all families, 16.6%.....(thus) the richest half percent of American families alone own 45.4% of all privately held wealth....(or saying it another way), 1.5 million people own 2 1/2 times as much wealth  as the 212 million people in the bottom 90%."
               --1986 Congressional Joint Economic Report


Are they really that smart?
Do they work so much harder?
Does simple justice truly require
we bear our tribute
in broken Chevy's and Toyota's
         to their marble doorsteps?

No more poems,
of unrequited love,
 or existential malaise,
           of subtlety, nuance,
                       and indecipherable symbol.
For now,
dear Poets,
     bend all line and rhyme,
the awesome megatonnage of your metaphors,
           the searing clarity of your similes
to explicate
 for us,
      the dense,
            the abused,
                  the manipulated,
                                     the simply weary,

the solemn statistics of our lives.
O, lyrically bring those numbers alive!
Lace them with captivating couplets!  
Marry them to images immortal!

Why not an Art engaging
 the simplest facts of life--
parameters, standard deviations,            
the inexorable math of this,                                        
our only world?

A worthy task,
alchemists of the word,
    to turn these mud-flat figures
                                      inside out,
 to find within,
          an ember of possibility,
          a warm spring morning,
      and the will to make it so.


"Vice President George Bush turning up the flame on a long-simmering issue, yesterday charged that Gov. Michael Dukakis has made disturbing 'appeals to class conflict' and has broken with the tradition of free enterprise."
--Boston Globe, Nov. 26, 1988  

November 1988

All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
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