Type
Poetry

Three Lessons from a Market Economy

I How to save money by buying

On the radio at waking
someone from London explains
it was the Interbank rate that was manipulated
— oh well, that’s all right then, the economy
of Ancient Rome was fragile also

— not enough cash.

Before quantitative easing
Suetonius wrote that the Roman general Vitellius
financed an entire military campaign
by selling just one of his mother’s pearl earrings.
These things, so distasteful at the time,
are sometimes
necessary in order to get ahead.

I am all at sea

just like that tv show Someone and Eva Cruise the Med
(his name also with an E
seemed memorable until I tried
to remember it). With Camilla Plots Against Kate

I’m on firmer ground.
The Romans: Emperors, sisters, wives, mothers,
now they really knew how to plot.

Imagine the headlines if Agrippina, handy
with poisons, got hold of Diphacinone. But I digress,
back to the economy:
slaves were cheap and plentiful and the coinage
worth less than face value.

II Easy ways to make money
in rebounding industrial stocks

Suetonius, though scrupulously exact, took omens
seriously

Are the DAX are up or down?
The finance report most mornings is a good way
to start the day.

Back in the Ancient World, most trade was maritime:
grain from Egypt, tin from Cornwall, olive oil
from Spain.

There was an incident where Julius Caesar
was ransomed by pirates – hey we all know that feeling.
Light trading day, wind hardly in the sails, but
out to conquer the world and bam!

He took exception to the price on his head
tried to talk them up – and even now
cash continues to out-perform.

In the market a gentleman’s word is his bond
so when he promised to crucify them he really meant it.
He wasn’t talking
debt syndicates ascribing upside price action to short covering.
No, he was talking
nailing the bastards to a plank of wood and then some.

And he did. Word is my bond, standard punishment.
My bloody oath.

III How to trade Forex
like a pro in under an hour

Remember when people used to collect bank-notes?
– a nice hobby for children, foreign travel
without the risk – my brother had a glass jar
filled with foreign coins.

Take the as, made of copper, could buy a pound of bread,
a litre of cheap wine
or apparently if you believe the graffiti
the services of a very cheap prostitute.

That would hit the news
even before forensic audits or corporate credit card fraud
very cheap does sound bad.
It’s that move from theoretical to real
with consequences that could bite you in the as.

Suetonius again, this time about Julius Caesar:
who at a statue of Alexander the Great (in Spain)
fell to his knees weeping, jealous
that Alexander, at his age, had conquered the world.
That’s what it’s like in Forex
some young trader gets there before you and calls
his high probability system: informed decision-making.

But then young Julius was first
to put his living image on coins: a move designed
to put him right back on top.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Angela Gardner practices as a poet and a visual artist and is currently Australian Poetry’s Cafe Poet in Residence at GOMA.

More by