The Broker’s Ballad

The night was dark,
cobblestones gleaming yet stark

With the rain long fallen from the day passed,
twinkling stars in the pavement, but the beauty wouldn't last

For the night was turning to morn,
the sun would soon yawn on the horizon, making the moon and stars fade with scorn

And while nature’s passion play began to simmer,
out from an alley emerged a lone man, eyes a glimmer

The memory of a noble gent whispered in his wake,
yet no mention of it caressed his visage, now only broken, hardly awake

His tailored suit a masterpiece of red,
blood splattering the torn elbows and slashed pockets, dripping from his downturned head

No one could hear his labored breath,
with lungs on the brink of collapse, looming ever closer was the shadow of death

His features were shrouded, as the moonlight could not paint his downturned face,
but the sight would have brought only sorrow, a bloody disgrace

The sniveling wretch dragged his ripped boots across the asphalt,
stopping to pull his matted hair in agony screaming, “who is at fault?!”

For years ago, he had sauntered the same streets,
but his gait had been proud, onlookers had glanced twice at the man so elite

His Rolex had clashed with the sun
His jaw always hitched up for in life, he had won!

A broker renowned for his predictions and wit
had made millions selling his brain in a market brutal and quick

At 22, he owned the finest Long Island flat
By 25, hailed clairvoyant, closer to the heavens no man had surpassed

With women alas, a revolving door
With booze, nights spent in stupor yet always begging for more

His eloquence touched the tongues of economic scholars
His finance models works of ingenuity, master of the dollar

The money kept flowing for he was never wrong,
yet as the fame grew stronger, his feelings grew numb

Once a soul of carefree spirit he became paranoid,
like a king he feared betrayal, that his kingdom would be destroyed

For it was a vicious world, this American paradise,
gilded with trust yet riddled with suspicion and conniving eyes

Everyone searched for the dream,
but used each other as footholds, loyalty often fraying at the seam

Like the many statues that decorated his foyer’s hall,
he too turned to stone, apathy condemning him to withdrawal

Yet remained he potent, a tyrant turning the tides of the stock
Fiendish were his conquests, quick was he to gloat and mock

Pianos, fountains, cars, graced his empty palace,
but pretty nothings could not replace companionship, so he resorted to malice

Late nights by the fire after the nameless girl had left,
Glass shattered across the floor, like morning dew after the sky has wept

His eighth drink disregarded, vision painted red with dereliction
Why was he alone? Tortured was he by this scathing fiction

For what was life, with his only company mirrors and marble floors?
That spoke reflections, trapped him with himself, oh where was the door?!

Because left to one’s devices any man goes mad
Because to live, no survive, for yourself renders all that’s beautiful tragic and sad!

In this fit of introspection, he began to lament
Screaming, agonizing over what he’d lost to wealth, no one to whom he could repent

For had he not grown ignorant of the world’s strife?
flying too close to the sun, blinded from the rest of life

Children clawing at their stomachs, hunger raging wars within
while he drained thousands on food he’d never eat, oh what sin!

He despised the men who rode his coattails
but was he not a hypocrite? For their same tactics of deceit, he had used to prevail

Then what was he? For surely money was no deity’s crown
Philanthropist, patron? Never, for upon the needy he only looked down

And it was at this moment, with shards painting his shaking hands red
that he realized he was nothing, and would be forgotten the minute he was dead…

Years would come to pass and like clockwork he stayed
dreaming of escape, but abandoned by God to no one he prayed

Then one day, the devil or perhaps God heard his plea
The market crashed and debt drowned him like a flaming sea

His dollars couldn’t save him, for paper burns and paper dissolves
His lungs filled with alcohol, with drugs, pain they could not resolve

No one threw him a line, and too soon he was replaced
Crippled by addiction, blissful highs were all he chased

Half a million for the house, hundred grand for the car!
He needed money for habits that die oh so hard

A drunkard prowling the streets was what he became
Motel nomad, living in delirium and far from sane

Preaching cynicism to deaf ears was his nightly routine
Offensive slurs earning him broken teeth and purple eyes, an existence so pristine!

But it would not be others who killed him
For no one has the time to go out on a barbaric whim!

Rather, he would soon fall onto his own sword
Once a lustrous knight, he would end this battle, fate left to the Lord


For this world condemns those who make success their prize,
as it is not an award but an instrument, used to let other see the skies

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The American Dream is not what it seems to be