The Game We’re In

The bank gave me a dollar bill

To give the bill to my good friend

To build my shop atop the hill

And see construction to the end.

 

I thought that I had taken care

To guess the cost to build my store.

But he replied, “I’ll help you there.

It only costs a dollar more.”

 

He had my dollar, I had none,

The bank had zero dollars too.

They gave me credit, minus one,

So I must pay them back with two.

 

He started planning up designs

And buying up the wood and bricks.

But not long after gave a sigh

And said the piping needs a fix.

 

I sought the bank for one more loan

Which filled them with anxiety

My debt was large and now had grown

So I must pay them back with three.

 

One day I asked when it’d be done

He said that it was hard to know

Since nothing’s free under the sun.

But where did all my money go?

 

He laughed and said to think it through,

“The money goes around and ’round,

And it will all come back to you,

The store will rake in pound for pound.”

 

I paid my friend, who bought the wood

From others in the lumber yard,

Who paid the grocer for the goods,

Ensuring wife and child don’t starve.

 

Then they would use that money too

Investing in their businesses

And hire one more lumber crew

To reach much further distances.

 

But then I had an awful thought

What if the money never came?

Just stopped up at the very top

By wealthy hoarders playing games?

 

If funding does not circulate

Then how will I repay the bank?

For payments which are paid too late

Will make my credit rating tank.

 

And interest fees will pile up high

Undoing everything I made

Until my value’s sucked up dry

While hoarders end up getting paid.

 

“You borrowed from the future you

And risked it on this present bet.

The banks did only what they knew

To roll the dice that you had set.

 

You’re too far in to try and stop.

You’ve got to trust the system works.

So open up your hillside shop

And gamble with those banker jerks.”

 

Of course, he egged me on to try

The risk was mine and mine alone.

The system rigged to watch me die

And suck the marrow from my bones.

 

I cannot trust that they would play

By rules so everyone would win

Because if I were them I’d say

“Well, don’t you know what game we’re in?”