A Money Odyssey: A Poem

Your relationship with money scarred me.

You took something neutral and sickened it.

You villainised it, victimised yourself. There

Were strings attached to money, latching onto

Your throat, why you did what you did, felt what

You felt, escaped where you escaped to, feared

What you feared, had the job you had. What happened?


Where did all the terms and conditions revolving

Around money come from? Accumulating, selling

Your soul, the pride, the defeat, taking beatings, so

Paralysed by fear, everything blown out of proportion,

Throwing it out of the window, food, bankruptcy,

Living on the streets, the big house, nothing added up,

These fears contaminating our minds, I took your fears

To bed at night and thought this is my fault, I cannot eat,

I cannot drink, I am alive, everything costs too much, bankruptcy.


And what did do you? Where did you go? You were invited

Left and right, you lived the good life, presumably, treating

Yourself right, but then you had these outbursts, painting

All your devils on the wall, pointing your fingers at us, refusing

To pay for schoolbooks, stealing our money for school and clothing,

Pretended that we had nothing, then you had bouts of generosity,

Then you were ravaged by guilt, ravaged by regret, ravaged by self-flagellation.

You sent all these mixed messages, all these accounts, all that debt,

The minus over minus over minus, the red within the red within the red.


More children, more money, it doesn’t work that way.

And you let us feel the disappointment that it didn’t

Work that way. Money and begging walked hand in hand.

The actor as persuasive as ever. The silver-tongued despair.

What was the truth? What were you running away from?

What was self-induced? Why did money scare you so much?

Why and when did it become a force of sheer terror?


Money is the last thing I want to fear, money is the

Last thing I want to demonise, money is the last thing

I want to transform into a sickness of the mind, I don’t

Want to worry about money, I don’t want to think about

Money, I don’t want money to outgrow who I am, I don’t

Want your money to be my money, I don’t want to see money

As a red flag, as a swamp that pulls me and devours me,

I have seen what you turned it into, what you made it do,

What you did to yourself in that relationship with money,

You brought your worst self to the table and money reflected you.

full frame shot of eye
Photo by Vladislav Reshetnyak on Pexels.com

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