They asked me to write "poetry in real time," and I said I would do it if I could do it in prose. "Even better," they said.
So I sat and waited, waited and sat, and read the news, turning as always to the financial pages first.
Einstein said that "the most powerful force in the universe is compound interest." Twice in one week I have come across this quote -- in an annual report and in today's Wall Street Journal.
You’re looking as dismissive as you did fifty years ago. "That's poetry? You call that poetry?"
I looked as lofty as Shelley, repressing a cruel sneer. “I merely proposed it as the first line of a Pope couplet.”"And what will you follow it up with?"
"It may sound a bit sensationalistic, but the bearish death cross has been an excellent predictor of the 10-year yield's significant slide over the last six years," said Abigail Doolittle, a technical analyst at The Seaport Group.
The death cross is what happens when the yield on the fifty-day moving average of the ten-year treasury bond falls below its 200-day moving average.
Isn't that beautiful?
In other news, Apple reportedly (1) pays no tax on billions of dollars of revenue earned abroad, and (2) tells its investors that it pays more tax than it does on domestic revenue.
"There are lies, damn lies, and statistics," says a character actor who looks a bit like Edmund O'Brien but is not dressed like a grown-up. Meanwhile, everyone else on the beach is naked when the tide goes out, as Warren Buffett, the oracle of Omaha, is fond of saying with a twinkle in his eye.
A man with two first names gets on television thumping the table demanding that Congress apologize to Apple.
One senator whispers to another, during a lull in the hearings. What do you think they are saying? Can you read lips? I'd like to believe that the comely senator from Oregon is asking, "Do you think it is a coincidence that the Beatles called their recording company Apple and that Steve Jobs chose the same name for their computers?" And the courtly senator from Virginia, nodding sagely, mentions Sinatra's choice of Reprise for his outfit when he fired Capitol just as Columbia had once fired him.
Sooner or later that's what's playing in the background of this old movie.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Charles Baudelaire for his wonderful prose poems such as the one about the loss of a halo -- or the one I would translate as "Let's Beat up Some Beggars."
I was reading Northrop Frye last night. He was a great lecturer. He was also a great Canadian. In one of his books, "The Modern Century" I believe, he remarks that the name Canada derives from a Portuguese phrase meaning "nobody here." In the same book, Frye says that Satan tempting Eve in the garden was the prototype for modern propaganda and advertising campaigns.I love his name: Frye. Like Miss Froy in "The Lady Vanishes."
My friend Maggie, a Henry James fanatic whom I knew in graduate school, phoned today and casually mentioned her new novel in progress about a modern-day Adam and Eve named Elbert Renwick and Eureka Janeway, two ordinary kids in the vast middle America of fading memory, who were high-school sweethearts but drifted apart, married others, raised families, lived on opposite coasts, got divorced, got promoted, read Rilke, changed their lives, met at a class reunion and now they are living together, making their own beer, growing their own high-octane pot. The two are known by their nicknames, Butch and Jane. They dress provocatively. They have experimented. They have strong opinions on sports teams, national politics, abortion, the Middle East, the twenty-first century, the 1960s as a decade, drugs, and music. But I bet I can teach them a thing or two about the death cross and its significance, whether symbolic, semantic, or poetic -- as a financial markets indicator, on the one hand; on the other hand, as a magnificent figure for the religious impulse, which is always threatening to make a ghostly comeback.
"Was there a question?" -- DL