Thursday, March 19, 2009

lenten journal: dear aig

I know what it’s like to be
caught up in your own world --
I go to work in a windowless
kitchen and stay there all day
(there’s a lot to do)
my world quickly becomes
about my world unless
someone bursts in or I break out

is that what happened to you?

is that how you decided you
deserved the bonuses even
though your company was broke
and you needed money from
the rest of us just to have
a company? did you convince
yourself that being rich and
being smart were the same thing?

I have an idea:

come spend the day in my world.
watch Tony, the dishwasher
who speaks very little English
and understands only the words
that give him work to do
and he smiles the whole shift
and gets the occasional bonus
of food to take home.

but you won’t come.

they say you’re too big to fail.
I dropped a whole pan of potatoes
au gratin -- twenty four servings
that took two hours to make --
ten minutes before service began;
and so we did without them
because I, big as I am, failed.
and that was just today

that was just today.

being not rich and smart are
not necessarily the same thing,
so I won’t claim to understand
credit default swaps, but I do
understand this: you may be
too big to fail but your not
too big to be wrong, or deceitful.
Come clean. Quit stealing.

(That’s what it is.)

you’re not too big
to be forgiven.



Songbird said...

(Picture me flicking a lighter.)

Heidi said...

Thanks for this, Milton. I like your invitation for them to come into the kitchen. There's something both challenging and quite hospitable in it.