The Gilt of Cain

By Lemn Sissay, 2007

Here is the ask price on the closed position,

history is no inherent acquisition

for here the Technical Correction upon the act,

a merger of truth and in actual fact

on the spot, on the money – the spread.

The dealer lied when the dealer said

the bull was charging the bear was dead,

the market must calculate per capita, not head.


And great traders acting in concert, arms rise

as the actuals frought on the sea of franchise

thrown overboard into the exchange to drown

in distressed brokers disconsolate frown.

In Accounting liquidity is a mounting morbidity

but raising the arms with such rigid rapidity…

Oh the reaping the raping rapacious fluidity.

the violence the vicious and vexed volatility.


The roaring trade floor rises above crashing waves:

the traders buy ships, beneath the slaves.

Sway machete back, sway machete again

cut back the Sugar Rush, Cain.

The whipsaw it’s all and the whip saw it all

The rising market and the cargo fall

Who’ll enter “Jerusalem” make the margin call for Abel?

Who will kick over the stall and turn the table?


Cain gathers cane as gilt-gift to his land

But whose sword of truth shall not sleep in hand?

Who shall unlock the stocks and share?

Break the bond the bind unbound - lay bare

The Truth. Cash flow runs deep but spirit deeper

You ask Am I my brothers keeper?

I answer by nature by spirit by rightful laws

My name, my brother, Wilberforce.

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