I am busy wishing everybody well
when someone asks me for a light.
I tell them I do not smoke and also
that I am not an arsonist but they keep asking.
In order to avoid a confrontation,
I duck into a store. It sells lighters
and other instruments of peace. I buy two
and toss one out the door into the hands
of my still-insistent questioner, who uses it at once
to burn a stack of dollar bills on the sidewalk.
How silly of me not to have asked them
what they needed it for. Now I have my own lighter
and a few less dollars to burn myself;
that’s the way the cookie crumbles —
into a pile of ash. I walk around the city
in a dream of fire, of all the money
in people’s pockets flying into the air
and incinerating itself. This is how I wish
them well, I tell myself; I shall collect money
and burn it and that will bring joy and light
to the world, to all the world. The people
will enjoy the spectacle and the more money
I burn, the more they will give me to burn.
I am at the end of a great adventure today:
thanks to the idea of lighting money on fire
and the one who gave it to me and the lighter —
I should have charged them for the lighter I gave them.
Call it an investment, I think. I should find
and thank them with fire. My fire.
I wish them well, all the burning masses.
I wish them one lighter each and small money
to burn. A little flame makes for a brighter abyss.
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