Return to 4th Floor Contents 2012

Robert Stratford

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The Terrace

On The Terrace there are no crosses holding
roses outside the Colonial Café where
office girls talk of dry cleaning and the
boss’s hands after his regular with the Minister,
their cigarette butts clean in the drains

downhill to The Reserve Bank and The Treasury
thickset in an inter-departmental about locked
down interest rates going forward and not
saying anything about fiat money or whose idea
they have no choice about when it comes

to the Quantitative easing of somebody’s soul and
the speculation right through every single policy discussion
walking straight past the Greenpeace boys
giving out free hugs or the guy with a tambourine
and a sign saying ‘no job, no home’

he’s up here from the railway station because
he knows where all the money is and it’s
a good joke for this best of all possible
streets in our democracy, where even the
Church is endorsing the suits and tight

dresses, big black shoulders, the university
students swallowing commerce papers toward
their way to enlightenment and that appraisal
for a first bonus and a higher tax bracket than
Dad even, someday perhaps it’s my turn . . .

as sluts walk out of the James Cook Hotel
their utility maximised for an hour with the
Chief Financial Officer, globalised coffee on
his breath and blood diamonds reinforcing
overseas assets if only he could get away with it.

None of us, none of us can stop the
obvious zombies piling down from the motorway
graveyard, hear the screams of legitimisation.
I’m in the front row and it’s deafening, I
half expect the Emperor of some Sith Lord

to come prancing out of the dentist’s with newly
sharpened teeth ready to bite and slurp all the
juice that comes from the sacrifice of babies
or planets or the million species of some
far-off future because there is no alternative

because you can only grow money with the
right mix of Hugo Boss and bullshit, make it all
seem like the natural exploitation of the universe
if nobody blinks or calls out corruption
or the repair man for the escalators down to Lambton Quay.



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