May 14

Economic Update

By Vanessa Jimenez Gabb

Working class wages have risen by 5-6% in China, where billionaires exist more than anywhere else, but this is not enough to offset the decline in wages for the American working class.

When I got out of bed, it was spring but not spring,
most of the ice gone back into the air, changing in ways that scare some of us.
The baguette, the fruit, the sausage came to me when I ordered them.
I had nowhere to be then. A whole blue sky and I didn’t leave
For the blue sky.
Naked, I did as many burpees as I could in seven minutes and still
With nowhere to be then, with little breath to be.

Governor Scott Walker proposed to cut the budget of state universities in Wisconsin by 300
million dollars, to change higher education from a way to understand the world and talk about it
with the people around you, to only vocational training.

It felt good to say let’s buy something to eat and eat it in the park.
After you read something, it either stays with you or it doesn’t.
I read a 38page long poem from beginning to end and understood
That I needed to read more to understand it more but I became more
and more hands and feet in the 600 square feet of this apartment
and the morningglory through the window.

Austrian central banking group Hypo Alpe Adria, a major lender in the middle of Europe, revealed it was short by 10 billion euros. They have no money. The government of Austria bailed out this banto the tune of 1 million euros; one state of Austria, Carinthia, guaranteed 9 billion dollars in loans, despite its annual revenue of 2 billion euros. Among the creditors that Carinthia will not be able to pay are several large banks in Germany. Hypo Alpe Adria made huge amounts of homeowner loans in Southeastern Europe. The people are in trouble and can’t pay back the mortgages,which means they can’t pay the bank, which means the bank has no money to pay back the people it borrowed from to get the money it lent to the homeowners. 

Sometimes it feels unbearable to reiterate.
To know that what is needed is to become and how to
become and to find new reasons to become and what if we don’t become
This and five tacos and two margaritas for $24 have brought me
to a surprisingly welllit basement in a church by the park, where, at the entrance,
a man introduces himself as William and says the man giving the talk is liberal, he thinks
everything can be fixed.

10% of the people own 90% of the wealth and the internal logic says they have sought out and continue to seek out the hinterlands.

People come on the second Wednesday of every month to this basement
in this church, to fill the seats, to be filled.
We are almost a sea.
Someone in the back is beginning to record and we are silencing and the almost sea
is waiting to become the sea.



*the poet would like to thank for lending material for the poem.

Vanessa Gabb is the author of midnight blue (Porkbelly Press 2015) and Weekend Poems (dancing girl press 2014). She is the co-founder of Five Quarterly and can be found at

Art by Liz Laribee. The fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism. (or, Frank O’Hara)
Liz Laribee is a self-taught illustrator and entrepreneur. In addition to helping establish numerous community projects and organizations centered on arts advocacy (like The MakeSpace arts collective, Sprocket Mural Works and Dauphin County Volunteer Lawyers For the Arts), she has exhibited work in a vast range of regional galleries as well as in national and international print media. She likes to work for a healthy creative ecosystem, and she likes to make art from what other people throw away. She has taught creative writing, found poetry and reuse methods of art-making in classrooms on the University level, public and private schools, and in after-school programs throughout Dauphin County. She lives in Harrisburg, happily.