The History of Ideas, 1973-2012: Authority

Where the correlative of reason was conviction and where the correlative
of power was obedience, the correlative of authority was trust
Your job—she gives another to the child
hip-high—is to heat the money in your hands
to the optimum warmth for purchase. Cagey,
the diversion in the same coin as his want.
It buys her time, enough that once
they round the corner, she might break into a sprint,
as one might with a pet who can keep up. But
the prophet makes eyes in his open fists
of the nickels’ glint, and we see he forbears
our guess her hector gets lost in the flash
when as if by swale we all give way to expel
a customer from the clench of us without her.
For what beneath the moths who have all night
to live do we brace ourselves as we approach?
We lean to find again the boy’s outguess of us.
Demand is double at the walk-up window, where
punishment for paltry want is to tell it again
into plexiglass the color of slobber, so others
in the bleach of halogen light may deal
their disparagement forward. For what if not
dishonor are we braced, rehearsing what to ask?
Repetition is a machine, a machine
for converting request into appeal; and
commerce, then, the window’s byproduct or
balm, depending. Red hot cashews, yellow bag.
Only because we visit by day do we know
at night what to call at the walk-up window
where two aisles of open merchandise end at
the sacral plates of clerks before us who, if
on pulleys they were carts instead or vending claws,
would be by now concussed and dented by
lever malevolence outright.
                                                    The prophet stands eye level
with the vending plunge, a here and now mechanism
he would need to invent to operate, and stands
between it and his mother. Yellow bag.
                              Because there is not enough money in the world, people steal;…                                                           because there is not enough recognition, they make art

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