Niall McDevitt / The Bourgeois


after Dostoyevsky in London                     

money matters are a                          


we no longer believe in really 
panes we peer through
to a nakedness, to a nothingness
beyond the silk chicanery
though we’ve seen nothing in years 
nor have newspapers revealed 
much but morning’s traumas
or evening’s Russian schemas
the numbers and sacred geometrical forms 
hold up
reexamined in test-tube intellects
by heads centurion grey 


moneyed, thankfully, loving technology (as we do)         
it’s disturbing to think
how much our modernity
is dated and arcane, rotten through
foolproof… burgomasters… for real 
we will endow our scions
with what we have amassed—grey squirrels—
in fiscal nervous systems  


looking out from portraits by Holbein
at the pret-a-manger crowds
with distaste as they inspect us
in this and other mirrors
(as if they’d like to eat us!)

moneyed, thankfully, never enough
for our bursaries of water light heat
gentrifying, as we lap, wild troughs 
ogling with the eyes of forty thieves 


domiciled, not slunk to foxholes,
but fodder for the perceptive
virtuous manners vicious maths
cocooned in Burberry, bone-dry

raw material for novelists (how dull)
who infiltrate as provocateurs
suffocating us with elephant ears
as we drool on them from sleeping mouths 


a rain a rain of butterflies
swimming in butterfly strokes
the black-and-white of our patterns
blending into the substratum 


Photo: Julie Goldsmith

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