Foolish

Something feels wrong in my sitting. I reach into my back pocket & find a four-page folded love letter from the government, printed on durable green paper. Legal tender, it says, & E Pluribus Unum. An eye levitates above a pyramid: In God we trust. It all sounds highly irregular. The signatures change from one page to the next, making it clear that these are different notes, bound on different journeys. Two are tattered, and one carries strange markings in purple ink. I am given to understand that desire touches everything it changes. My clothes too once belonged to strangers & were made by strangers — the same as my thoughts. And who knows what tongues these words have been on! I am reminded unaccountably of the last snow still with us on April Fool’s, disguised as soft black mounds under the highway overpass where the borough dumped it, slowly bleeding to death in that forty-year-old desert beside the river.

6 Comments


  1. I handed each of my students a dollar bill this past fall. I paired them and asked them to use their senses and associations to list everything they could about it. I tried to demonstrate that there are no fatally boring topics. I tried also to get my dollars back.

    The next class, each writer used her list to write about the dollar for ten minutes. A few of the writings were quite entertaining, and I’ll use them as models next year. Your piece also fits the bill.

    Have I ever told you that you close well? Nice!

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  2. fits the bill
    Groan!

    My 8th-grade Latin teacher did that, too, on the first day of class, trying (in vain, I would say) to make the case that Latin is still important, because look, it’s all over the dollar! He did get his dollars back, though.

    Thanks for the kind words about my closings. But I do worry sometimes that that skill becomes a bit of a crutch, allowing me to get away with a lot of flaccid writing and thinking as long as I end it in a memorable fashion.

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  3. “Federal Reserve Notes” as a love letter! Funnier than much of what I saw yesterday….

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  4. The funny (or sad?) thing is, I wasn’t even trying to be funny!

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