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Thursday, April 02, 2009


by Kirk Lumpkin

after the Credit River near Toronto, Canada

If credit were a river
          it would flow from a source
          in a reflecting pool
          where you could look
          and see yourself
          fit, trim, and smiling
          with the product
          of your choice,
          what you most
          want to own
          at that moment
If credit were a river
          the water would be
          perfectly clear,
          warm as a bath,
          and the bottom would look
          as a swimming pool
If credit were a river
          no sharks
          would be seen,
          it would be
          with fish that look
          like very attractive
          and mermen
          (but are actually
          robot mannequins)
          to you
          to come in
          just for a dip,
          a little swim
If credit were a river
          as you wind past
          its banks
          on your pleasure boat
          you would need to look
          very close
          to see
          that all the plants
          are plastic
          in the lovely well-manicured
          dotted with stores stocking everything
          you could possibly want
          each featuring
                    a very special one time only SALE!
          with easy terms
If credit were a river
          it would be staffed
          by strong, slender, sexy, smiling
          life guards
          of both genders
          always ready to help
If credit were a river
          it wouldn’t be
          until way down stream
          the water turned
          icy cold
          in white water rapids
          where the padded contours
          are no longer applied
          to the jagged rocks
          that now
          can cut you
                    and what’s behind
          the false-front movie-set
          at the beginning of the river
          is only exposed
          right before
          you get
          to the falls
          great and treacherous
          as Niagara
          where the boulders below
          are littered
          with battered broken lives
          drowned in credit,
          valued less
          than what they thought
          to own
If credit
          were a river

Kirk Lumpkin is the author of two books of poems, Co-Hearing and In Deep. He is the founder of the poetry-music band, The Word-Music Continuum, that last year released its second CD, Sound Poems. He works for the Ecology Center as the Special Events & Promotions Coordinator of the Berkeley Farmers’ Market. For more info: