Without it, you are seriously compromised; without it you will most likely be screwed right out of your home/family/health/teeth/life. You must find ways to make money.
Depending on how and by whom you ‘get paid’, you might have to sell your self, your family, your soul. Money puts a price on everything.
“Well , you’re getting paid, aren’t you?”
Once you pay someone, they must do whatever you say; you can write off their humanity, their significance, their content; they owe you some part of themselves, because you paid for it: Money bestows ownership.
I shared a backyard with a man who asked me to look after his garden for a few days – said he’d pay me. I said I didn’t want pay; I appreciated the garden, and would love to help out.
He told me he wanted it watered each morning.
Now he was a morning person, with a typical morning person’s prejudices; but I am a night person (don’t let the nsa find out – ) and had to work half of the days in question; so I offered to do mornings on some days, and after work on the rest.
He said No; He wanted it done each morning; I wondered why we couldn’t compromise just for those few days; he said it had to be each morning, and that’s why he was going to pay me, because he wanted the job done his way; no compromises, no discussion.
I said “…and that’s why you pay people: so there’s no discussion – “ which led him to install an entire irrigation system, just so he could have his plants watered exactly when he wanted on those few days.
Money is power, right?
Money is reductionary.
When someone pays you, they can wash their hands of you – like blood money: “We want this amount for killing our brother.” “Deal.”
(Good thing you had enough money, otherwise they’d have to kill you).
How much blood does a paycheck buy?
How much is my blood worth?
How much is my blood worth to me?
At one job I had, there came a time when I said I did not feel my work was appreciated; I was loudly told that I was paid more than some of the others, AND I had Health Insurance! Wasn’t that enough???
I acknowledged the generosity of that, but said it wasn’t the same thing…
One year, I volunteered for a sort of apprenticeship with a potter. In exchange for my assistance, he would teach me things, and provide our lunch.
At the time, my shelter was provided, so I was ‘free’ to work for knowledge and food, rather than for money. If that potter had been a boor who talked to me like I was his piece of shit servant, I was totally free to leave. He had no hold over me, and no monetary claim to my selfhood.
What we wound up having was a relationship based on mutual agreement, and mutual respect. Though we were at different points of learning, and I looked to him as a teacher in his craft, I still had the right to be treated as someone of equal value.
It sullies everything it touches;
It cheapens and demeans;
It negates the spirit.
It was the low drone that stopped me,
like a tamboura, sounding through his small acoustic amp.
It pulled on me like a string,
pulled me back from going through that turnstile,
and said to me: Why hurry?
Why not listen a bit…
I stood off to the side,
and despite the flow of people,
I was moved to move…
His music was between him and the moon
and the Hearts and Spirits of
whoever would hear;
and I was lucky:
I fished a paltry dollar out of my wallet,
held it folded tight in my hand,
and remained awhile longer…
I didn’t know how deep or far his
music was going to take me –
From I don’t know where,
to nigguns, wailings, my life
woods, stripes, grey
skies, barbed wire…
Just then, I was swept up by
streams of colour reaching into the skies…
And as I danced there, freed from gravity,
the moon came into me, the moon that was
glowing overhead: a waxing fat crescent…
Then it all resolved into a single note,
and a pause wide enough for me to
collect myself and walk toward him.
By the time I got near,
that piece of paper in my hand
was lint. Meaningless.
What I wanted to give him was
a crackling fire and a bowl of
hearty warmth amidst smiles and laughter.
I surely had no words.
That is the best: When there are
Only eyes and no words.
He pointed to the moon,
beaming directly down the stairway
he played at the foot of. I said
I’d seen it in his music.
I babbled fragments about dance, art, writing, feeling…
I would like to say more, some other time.
We shared our names.
He said his was from The Land of
Jerusalem; I said There are many
languages in The Land of Jerusalem.
Then, the money: burning, withering,
with a purpose, in my hand…
Oh, how vile;
Bringing it up,
Pressing it toward him,
Even touching it near such sacred sounds…
I, knowing he was right, but knowing
Money is important in this life, said
it would be as if I bought him
a nice warm drink –
But his hands were up, and I was
filled with the futility and
potential insult of it, and
so grateful he stopped me;
Stopped me from negating the
Truth of something pure,
The sting of the gesture is hard to shake off.
He dissipated the crossed energies by
putting his breath into his instrument,
immersing himself and me and
the moon into music…
I stood still and silent,
allowing the tightness in my
chest to release; then curtseyed
and headed home.
As I turned I saw
my little pink card in his box.