This was a matter of principle and principal,
our hero laboring with fists, an unfair fight.
There was no scenario where he would beat
the machine. It would calculate and enervate
his wealth. It would replace all his brethren
and commodify his health. Because it could
not make mistakes any fault would be his.
The zeros in his account were not binary.
His family calculated that he was a ghost
in some future tale with a lucky Scrooge.
He imagined waving his dead presidents
like a matador against a drone armada
that swarmed in his interrupted dreams.
The deliveries dropped, the trucks rolled,
the emptiness inside was hell to avoid.
The pundits had told him he would earn
breaks and his tale would roll on news
feeds above the flu, below nuke payloads,
the power of being a symbol, a flash,
the world over? No. The drama of raining
cash and reigning over a world fueled
to ash. Still, this story resonated with me.
Even though there would be no victory,
the year would end in impossible odds,
with credit earned and dues to be paid.
Florida Man Beats Up ATM for Giving Him Too Much Cash, Police Say [The Huffington Post]
A longtime resident of Los Angeles, Martin Ott is the author of seven books of poetry and fiction, including UNDERDAYS, Sandeen Prize Winner, University of Notre Dame Press and Forward Indies Finalist. His newest poetry book LESSONS IN CAMOUFLAGE will be published in 2018 by C&R Press. His work has appeared in fifteen anthologies and more than two hundred magazines, including The Harvard Review, The North American Review, and Prairie Schooner. This poem is part of a manuscript FAKE NEWS POEMS – 2017 Year in Review, 52 Headlines, 52 Weeks, 52 Poems.
Image via Brevard County Sherriff’s Office