Debt and Deficit, Deficits and Debt
Deficits are Debt but Debt is not Deficit
No, Debt just grows and grows like all the wealth they create
down in Midtown Manhattan where Wall Street now lives
even though Wall Street is still down so far Uptown on old Wall Street
where they built the World Trade Towers, those big square teeth
of a Wall Street that’s a wall of Debt: personal Debt, corporate Debt
Debt from all those leveraged buy outs and hostile takeovers
that have become all those derivatives: toxic and securities, mortgage and backed
and rock ribbed Wall Street Debt, collateral casualty Debt obligations
Deficit of global imagination, dearth of a vision for the next generation’s future
all this wealth they manufacture down on Wall Street, all this wealth in fewer and fewer hands
all this debt and all this deficit — we’re the richest country in the world
always remember we’re the richest country in the world — we’re the richest, we’re the richest
with all this Debt what a Deficit, what a Deficit that won’t allow an infrastructure
that builds up instead of breaks down the life structure of a breathing planet
a Deficit that refuses to acknowledge the creative potential of millions and millions
being herded into vast mega city slums without fresh water or a place to pee and poop
a Deficit that makes global governance mandatory as it turns the global village
into a maelstrom of warring tribal sects, a Deficit that declines so fast the economy declines
a Deficit that leaves us all in Debt so we say forgive us our Debts as we forgive our Debtors
oh, how much more there is in Debt than might ever be found in mere flimsy trespasses
why can’t we tell the difference between Debt and Deficit, Deficits and Debt
how come we can never figure out what we owe each other
or why it never seems to be enough
Debt and Deficit, Deficit Debt


James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.