Money is a Kind of Poetry is a meditation on contemporary alienation and the processes by which every new technological advance seems to increase our isolation from each other, and the more connected we are the less we appear to know ourselves. Donnelly looks at the symbolic value of money, the dead language of economists and bankers and its shiny promises and slippery meanings. Accompanied by Dante, Rimbaud and Paul Muldoon, he shows us a contemporary and violent vision of Hell in which ‘exchange rates slip like tectonic plates’ and ‘the money is digesting itself’.
Cover image: Wassily Kandinsky, Gegengewichte (1926), Kunstmuseum Mülheim.
Author photo: Ivor Casey
I Big economy of mind and spirit. The world economy’s figurations bottom Out of themselves; The ripple-effects in the markets Undulate Through display units; Exchange rates Slip like tectonic plates. II Forecast In the oracular opening in Greenspan’s vision, Access to the touchstone, His touch sibylline or golden. Tenuous stagflation welters in the ether; Bespoke oblations to figures. III Big economy of mind and spirit, A god that feeds off belief, and aggresses that feeding: The money is digesting itself. Communications trade, Commodity of metaphor.
The minute detail of the girders of distressed Assets photoshopped into my dream Which was intense, shaky, fast. And in the superdepths, a ream Of figures in a boardroom; they were Represented by two or three figures. The financial meltdown was a super-dense blur For me. Was heavy. Was made of weeks Blowing their memory-rafters with data From the Dow Jones and FTSE. I have friends in America; Undercover and under-fire, they speak to me Now. I swear, we’ll speak also then, When all in this country’s in ruin again.
I For you... anything. I am going to go 78 and 92.5. It is difficult to go lower than that in threes. looking at where cash is trading. In fact, if you did not want a low one I would have gone 93 at least. Money is a symbolic thing. When the banks went Into meltdown, And the Bollinger fizzed Across From Bob Diamond’s voice; When we knew It was fucked beyond all possible Measure The tricks turned into ICE LIBOR Spewed outwards in such thick Swathes we couldn’t count them Or keep track of them – of who Wrote or said or clicked what Or when. When We sensed the mob mobilizing In the stirred up brew of Popular media. Collusion had finally Spilled over Into common knowledge, Into tabloid ire. The machinations of money, And metaphor a moving from the literal. Symbols Sliding and Slipping about meaning What? Slippery. II available data do not support the hypothesis that contributor banks manipulated their quotes to profit from positions based on fixings. The lonely Inferno Of the stock market floor Delighted me. Well. Up To a point. The moral voices seeped in As far as there. JP Morgan Was at it as well, And this diminished The fortitude of the guilt, Had it wilt into A swish of statistics the brain. It swishes statistics Life-seep to death dead, Day’s sweepage through sea And blackout. III Hi Guys, We got a big position in 3m libor for the next 3 days. Can we please keep the lib or fixing at 5.39 for the next few days. It would really help. We do not want it to fix any higher than that. Tks a lot. Confidence in a fiction, A symbol. It’s all a Kind of lie anyway: Rates changing, Fluctuation based On collective confidence in The notional. Drifting data From London to New York Through Timezones and currencies. Logarithmic REM Information on The London Stock Exchange Floor In the flickering digits Renew-flittering changeability. Changing Symbols sliding and Slipping about, meaning An eternal skip ahead Behind time. Is It dance or chaos? In the beginning was the. The symmetry of the Pythagorean, Numbers, perfection, beauty: Perfect tuning. The air nurses it then it falls Forever into the slip and sleep of silence. Whose notation resides here? Us. Time ricochets, Sound resound-dying out, out . . . out . . . IV the motives of the Fed, Bank of England, US and UK banks are aligned, their policies mutually reinforcing and beneficial. The Libor fixing is another indication of this collusion. I blew the rates Full with hot air on the first Day of each month Systematically. Who was it lied through Their teeth regarding Benchmarks? Or Did we all? We slipped down the Slippery slope Of relativity. Truthfulness Can’t be measured In a cosmos of relativity And digits half-blinking and shimmering. Small stars pulsating In a distance of time slowing down, And of blankness-blackness. And in time And Clicking And fixing a conception of a concept. NYSE Euronext bulldozed the operation Anyway. All words Are symbolic and money... Well, we believe in money And language. Faith And the meaning’s meaning. The Wall Street Journal ramped Up pressure and assimilated Statements and statistics – Data – into a precision-wired Information explosives that blew Our rigging and fixing Far, far, way out of existence Then in silence, individually, Each of us returned to the bent Logic of the time When we were flowing, There was only logic and distortion And no centre. Is Still. After wedging the statistics Apart as far as possible – Those of practice, and those of Theory; But never so far as to make it snap – Until the tension achieves its limit, Clicked through ticker-tape steady And neat Gliding through wires. Swish-glimmer thoughts :) V We’re clean, but we’re dirty-clean, rather than clean-clean. Numerate wool Pulled and strung Out into the incomprehensible. Diamond Dropped The rates: it re-verb-verb-verberates Through the consciousness and deepness of the market, Its different parts currenting through one another as an ocean And the broadband cables plastered to the seabed: Connections cogitate, facilitate dreams and nightmares and Computations in it Whirring through speed And spinning. Digits spinning in cogitation-whirl, The poetry of numbers – the symmetry And rhythm beating; angles closing In accordance to Obtuse counterparts On other sides. Spooked. The ghost of Boole who Made. Made The logarithms swim effortlessly For us; their meanings oscillated Freely from one moment to The broken-off next one, and we Held and digested When... when the Brain of the West awoke for us, Its cylinders aflow, I flashed through the ether. My voice? Us? Silent seas. Ocean drift And profound salt water heavy, heavy, Genius gestates, Angel-wing beat. VI This dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scam in the history of markets. The zip and skip of communication And of thought; the flit and flicker Of his genius quick as the numbers Splitting like bacteria in fast sync – Values dancing around and then The exchange rates swim into a glide. The Meanings of the text accumulate as Seconds fluster-fly Through his knit of nick And tuck. Nine. A Quick stitch-click Sends earthquakes through minds And markets. Bolly-hiss. The whiz and whish-pass Of the banker’s mind and Can Google narrative-dream? Does it think and sleep simultaneously? Nightmares brood from dying markets, Surfacing, buoying upwards Thomson Reuters vacuumed up The stats. And. And there was deflation of rate in the Strategy. The Libornet Flittered To achieve a new music From slash-light Flutters its speed Through the pixilation of Monitor dreamscape. Cohesive water. My brains and vessels haemorrhaging Sterling and The currents of currency pass through deltas.
The full fallout of financial meltdown: the derivatives that bind the world unravelling; the dwelling places of awareness and sanity unearthed to their own trauma: in die Traum the macroscopic and microscopic; a cosmos of digits in disarray. Money from Frankfurt and New York (the money system’s central nervous system) gliding the drift streams, their poly-currenting through insomnia, through their own sub-drifts and virtual rivulets. There is a black hole sucking into an emptiness; our language composed of codes decoded.
As money vanishes further and further From the weighted – from gold, coffers – And thins out into dust motes And then air, disintegrating through the ether Skyscraper light through Glass flash-licks across The plastic card’s intelligence And sleek designed-in value. I, a self-generated verbal pointillist, Vanish into messages Within white flashes, Shape-shifting to process and dart The messed bowels of an information jungle – That space void of space. Seas of memories suffer disappearance In a click. The gaping blackness is irreversible.
‘Peter Donnelly already shows he has a strong imagination; indeed, a savage one presents itself on occasion when the beautiful and brutal confront and confound each other.’
‘Donnelly creates worlds in which the familiar and the alien have been seamlessly fused together.’
‘From the rustle of leaves to the abstraction of money, there is life here in all its pulsing mass, an interlocution of cycles, psyche, anima. From ancient tropes to contemporary anxieties, the acoustics are European, the aesthetic space and light; here is abundance, precision, and an utter joy in language.’