Fantasy of an African Boy

James Berry

Such a peculiar lot

we are, we people

without money, in daylong

yearlong sunlight, knowing

money is somewhere, somewhere.


Everybody says it's big

bigger brain bother now,

money. Such millions and millions

of us don't manage at all

without it, like war going on.


And we can't eat it. Yet

without it our heads alone

stay big, as lots and lots do,

coming from nowhere joyful,

going nowhere happy.


We can't drink it up. Yet

without it we shrivel when small

and stop forever

where we stopped, as lots and lots do.


We can't read money for books.

Yet without it we don't

read, don't write numbers,

don't open gates in other countries,

as lots and lots never do.


We can't use money to bandage

sores, can't pound it

to powder for sick eyes

and sick bellies. Yet without

it, flesh melts from our bones.


Such walled-round gentlemen

overseas minding money! Such

bigtime gentlemen, body guarded

because of too much respect

and too many wishes on them:


too many wishes, everywhere,

wanting them to let go

magic of money, and let it fly

away, everywhere, day and night,

just like dropped leaves in wind!