The Germans fly in the day before
and get the hotel rooms promised to the Palestinians.
The Bolivians are nervous but expectant,
having promised not to make a scene this time.
They say that money isn’t passionate but
you can see the way it pulses
in the groin of the rich country
right before it expels a big aid package
into the groin of the needy secondary country
and how the face of the senator flushes and glows pink
as he bends to sign the paper
for the symbolic transfer of the funds.
Have you ever heard the sound a peso makes
when it scurries inside a euro and holds still?
or the chamber music of distant dollars turning
into zlotys into Deutschmarks into yen?
It is a symphony now being played
by an orchestra of diplomats on corporate cello,
whose strings are numbered bank accounts
plucked by supercomputer fingers.
At night, if you put your ear against the sidewalk
you can hear the clean rustle of the cash
rushing through the pipes,
pouring from one vault to the next,
into bigger and bigger pockets.
It was all designed so long ago, no one
remembers why—to keep misery organized?
In the mansions on the hill
the rich are taking showers:
turning the handles of silver faucets
to get a clean cold gush of cash. Over and over
they come out on the balcony to wave, or make a speech,
and there are roses in their cheeks:
which changing hands has turned
into the fragrance of fresh flowers.