Journalism In Verse


The Prophet and the Tax Bill

in Politics by

The Bible I know is a hymnbook of coins scattered on the ground with anger

buried talents that sit uselessly in place, not because the market can’t reach them

(the metaphor fails in that kind of darkness
it demands a new language of investment)

When the senators invoke God I picture Saint Paul in jail,
his money seized, only a stylus for a letter and a head not yet cut off.

et ait illes reddite ergo quae Caesaris sunt caesari et quae Dei sunt Deo

(claims the humid Gospel)

I do not know how to dream that money falls from heaven.
Its weight holds it down to the earth, where it will not rot
even on the eyes of the dead.

Their certainty is a God of mirrors. Each bit of money a Greek letter
to rewrite the Gospel

I am the Alpha, the gentleman from Texas says

(a sunset Omega for some other day, still unforeseen)

He tires of all this debate, wants the deed done.

Stay awake, the text warns them, stay awake and be prepared

you do not know when the master is coming.

Not a coin purse, but a lamp. Not a law, but a rebellion:

this new slow time of retribution, the world made whole again

when what will be stolen will be returned.

I hear the prophet say: “You are on earth. You shall explode”

only to add under my breath, “but do the coins melt last?”



White House, GOP Celebrate Passing Sweeping Tax Bill [CNN]

Tim Duffy is a poet and scholar working in Connecticut and New York City with poems in The Cortland Review, Entropy, Bop Dead City, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and elsewhere. 

Photo by John Morgan.

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