Scoundrel Time

Two Poems By José Edmundo Ocampo Reyes

Collateralized Debt Obligations Structured by Cows

We rate every deal. It could be structured by cows and we would rate it.
—unnamed Standard and Poor’s official

It could be structured by cows and we would rate it,
this bundle of regurgitated debt
that we call gold though it is just gold-plated.

Their appetite for returns will not be sated.
Our role is to facilitate each bet.
It could be structured by cows and we would rate it

investment grade. It can’t be overstated
how (we think) every risk has been offset.
We’ll call junk gold though it is just gold-plated.

No matter how much the price has been inflated,
they’ll try to take as much as they can get
of these bonds structured by cows. Why wouldn’t we rate it?

Investors who’ve been burned before are fated
to be burned time and again. They all forget
what looks like gold could merely be gold-plated,

even this ticking bomb that we’ve created:
our rating means the timer has been set.
It could be structured by cows and we would rate it.
What seemed like gold turns out to be gold-plated.

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Type

To see these characters
only as sculptures
arranged on shelves
of the thinnest glass

 

 

 

 

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