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Friday, April 02, 2010


by Norma Chapman

When I sat at the top of my heap
yesterday, a century ago, two centuries ago,
Mr. Moneybags, Mr. Fat Cat,
Thomas Nast and later Herblock caricatured
me in newspaper cartoons.

I was fatter than they thought
and emptier,
my money bags filled with IOUs
and my bills paid with someone else’s cash.
So, I took food from babies, so?

I am entitled to my place right here at the top
and when the top topples
it’s got to fall on something,
but not on me
Let them eat cake, as Marie didn’t say.

The expendable people want to nip
my heels, but they’re out of gas,
a good thing in their case.
It was better when they slaved
in the cotton or the mines,

when the losers were left to lose,
satisfied by a jug or scraps
and died young,
when only propertied white men
voted and ruled in the name of God.

Norma Chapman grew up in a small town in Southern California, child of a far leftist father and far rightist mother. She now lives in a small town in Western Maryland, and is firmly settled on the left. Some of her poems have been published in various journals, including River Styx.