“Alan Greenspan” by Tony Trigilio

Tony Trigilio


He’s not comfortable in the button-down shirt,
he’s concentrating too much, as if he just stepped
from a train into the city and hears crickets
for the first time this summer. He gave up
a career as a jazz saxophonist, just as he did a Ph.D.
in economics at Columbia University before
he went to work on Wall Street. Alan Greenspan
always, no matter where or what pose, looks like
a man about to apologize but changes his mind on
the verge and holds a full stop in the throat.
I see him on television, hunchbacked by his own
exuberance, and expect him to wipe his eyes.

The Chairman of the Federal Reserve holds the pink
Financial Times so that you can see the masthead
when he steps out of his limousine with his wife,
NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell. A faint pink
chalk-stripe runs through Greenspan’s boy’s-school
blue button-down shirt. In 1957, when he was 31,
he wrote a letter protesting a New York Times review
of The Fountainhead—he was part of her inner circle,
they called it the Collective, and some thought
she could be in love with him. A member
of the Collective said maybe he was just a good kisser
from all those years as a saxophone player.
“Justice is unrelenting,” he wrote to the Times.
“Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and
rationality achieve joy and fulfillment.”

He appears on 7 televisions at once in my field of vision.
Everyone except Alan Greenspan wears advertising
on their bodies. A dog etched in waves on his forehead,
the stress of interest rates. He raises them in 5/4 time,
the bass lines swerve just so, his song a piece
of key lime pie served on a zig-zag lillypad of deep
cherry sauce. You have to listen to him on all these
televisions. Things are like they are now, like never before.

from Rattle #25, Summer 2006


Tony Trigilio: “Writing forces me to slow down and really listen. Sometimes this pays off—like when Alan Greenspan, Andrea Mitchell, Ayn Rand, and the New York Times all show up, beaming, in the same poem.” (web)

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