On the subway businessmen are reading Machiavelli and Sun Tzu
Just like they used to read biographies of Napoleon; d’you think it’ll work?
I totally accept the idea that you need some kind of strategy or things
Will go from bad to worse, ending with swigging Coca-Cola in bed and
The days starting to slip away with no one under yr thumb. Poets,
I urge you to title yr books of the future The Principal, or The Capital,

So poetry shelves in Berlin will be filled with books called Das Kapital.
Do not call it My Struggle; this will lead to mishaps as all lines lead to Zoo
Station. Die Kunst des Krieges, that would be a title worthy of a poet!
Soon the gentlemen of business will be seen reading Hesiod, Works
And Days
, concerning the two forms of strife: “one fosters evil war and
Battle, being cruel,” but the other stirs up envy, greed, and such things

As lead to labor, “and this Strife is wholesome for men.” Y’know, things
One cd use. One evening some years later it was raining in the capital
Of Europe where scavenged shopping carts passed for window grates and
We walked beside the artificial lake, considering the immortal Lao Tzu,
Dead a long time; late in the Spring and Autumn Period he found work
As an archivist in the Imperial Library, and was apparently a bit of a poet,

Unlike Sun (no relation), a general. One makes one’s way as a poet
Amid libraries and bookstores though “the way is deeply hidden in all things”
According to Lao, and the businessmen are seeking it en route from work,
Riding the subway adrift in the grim luxuries of text here in one capital
Of the book. Words are stretched over reality’s breadth like gold tissue,
Who said that? There’s another way to look at it, according to Arbeiten und

Tage, on the depressing side of the sublime: “All your talk will be in vain, and
Your word-play unprofitable.” Zat a threat or a promise? He was less a poet
Than a motivational speaker, Hesiod, less flowers of wisdom than the kudzu
Of endless increase. An object shd be replaced swiftly by a like thing
Once the first is exhausted or the whole primitive accumulation of capital
Risks rack and ruin—oh great, just like 1992, everybody out of work,

Anarchist squats, that’s yr plan for a world system? The wave of work
Keeps going like a sentence keeps going, gathering material as it goes, and
One lives among this jetsam, is of the jetsam, is quizzical at being a capital
I at this late date, when I lived among the businessmen and the poets
And nobody read past the second of six books On The Nature of Things,
We floated between the horizons of the general and the librarian, Sun Tzu

And Lao Tzu, and this was not such a terrible place to be, in the capital
Of the XXIst century, reading at work. The poet Sei Shonagon placed paradise
And the course of a boat on a list, “Things That Are Near Though Distant.”