Monday, March 31, 2008

Cracked

Both jb and I have been self-employed for a number of years now. This means we have to manage our time off (you don't get paid if you don't work), our marketing needs (you don't work if you don't have the work) and our finances (you'd best earn more than you spend).
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A few years ago we set up a Financial and Retirement account with a trustworthy young man who has been great in every way. thanks to him we have a systematic plan for managing our money and we've followed it, mostly.
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Last week a good friend, who happens to be very business savvy and has always given me good advice, cautioned me about the state of the American economy. "It's a recession", he said, "and no one knows how bad it might end up. Hold on to your cash, kj. make sure you have enough of it to last awhile. Don't trust the stock market right now".
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Hmmmm. This got me thinking. I remember my parents talking about scarcity of the Great Depression. And I saw firsthand the effects of Hurricane Katrina when so many people lost everything--everything.
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So that night, at my weekly writing group, with something about "cracks" as the prompt, I wrote my first and probably last poem about financial well-being. Kind of. Please accept this disclaimer that I am cautious but not hysterical, at least not yet. However, I taking little steps to be sure our "savings" are safe.
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I apologize if this is dreary or depressing. You know how serious writers and poets can get sometimes....
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The banks folded, one upon another,
Paper thin accordions piled so high and wide
it took some seeing before I knew
my little stash fund was buried from the bottom up.

I should have known when
A stern faced Brian Williams talked about the first takeover
last Saint Patrick’s day,
Foreboding tucked between fact and fiction.
Concern tucked between dinner and dessert.
Tucked away
And out of luck,

Defaults and deficits:
The birthday balloons of a million little stashes
Falling to the ground with scarcely a bounce.

But that’s not what I thought then,
When I heard the first of it,
Then, even the far away tales of the great depression
Meant nothing until
The crack became so wide
One thing led to another
And whoosh-wash in magic time
My pockets jingled with counterfeit faith.

I cancelled my trips and catalogues,
Collected certain coupons,
Stopped my auto pays.
And organized my closet.

I’m walking into this Midwest bar
At 4 o'clock the Sunday after Easter
and I’m announcing that I’ve torched my house,
Watched it burn to the ground
Just before I packed my suitcase
And headed here,
Worthless and spent
Just so I could savor an ice cold beer
Free of the weight
Of cracked expectations.

12 comments:

  1. ok, kj, this could be a very boring post. and your readers won't likely tell you so, except maybe that best friend of yours might teach you a lesson or two.....

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  2. hello kj - thanks for flying in and leaving a comment about my Kookie *!*

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  3. Not at all boring KJ!

    An excellent, interesting and enjoyable poem!

    So many great line - my favourite?

    "My pockets jingled with counterfeit faith"

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  4. I agree -- not boring! Timely and it speaks to the little worries that are gnawing at all of us ... worries that we hope won't get bigger and worse. I love the imagery of the banks folded up like paper and piled up -- awesome. And the last section is my favorite ... the torching of the house combined with the ice cold beer and the suitcase, free of the worries.

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  5. Not counting the mortgage, the average American's credit card balance is $8,000.00. That's a lot of money. What did they buy that was so important that they excused themselves from not paying in full when the bill came? How many credit cards does an average American have?

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  6. bimbimbie, thank you for visiting, i enjoyed your blog very much!

    miladysa, thank you thank you thank you!

    melissa, i think about that sometimes-being unencumbered except for a suitcase.

    ces, not everyone can afford to pay the bill in full each month. no doubt many many people abuse and misuse their credit cards, but i know others--people who are working and earning to their capacity--have to use it for essentials. when i worked in insurance, i was surprised how many people truly live paycheck to paycheck. they may have some cash stashed away, but they can't afford to save. and when their 6 year old car breaks down, they turn to their credit card.
    :)

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  7. I kept thinking of folding and tucking between a matress when reading your poem KJ ... not just money but me! I have still managed to live without a credit card EVER! Hhehheeee

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  8. anon, you are more fascinating every day! i admire you...

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  9. Good on you!
    It was so boring that I read it from beginning to end.

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  10. KJ-that's great, not boring. I think part of our current problem, both with finance and spirit is that we've been so busy amassing that we haven't looked at what or why we were doing it.

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  12. I truly believe that we have reached the point where technology has become one with our lives, and I can say with 99% certainty that we have passed the point of no return in our relationship with technology.


    I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as the price of memory decreases, the possibility of uploading our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could experience in my lifetime.


    (Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=http://cryst4lxbands.blog.com/2010/01/31/will-the-r4-or-r4i-work/]R4 Card[/url] DS ccPost)

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