Parallel Lovers

At night she wakes and feels the money move.
The sea is near tonight. She listens to wave after wave.
Intangible, electrical, the money’s flashed between brains,
from server in glinting impulse to server across the time zones.

She thinks of all the lit-up planes right now
rising and landing, that stream in an unstinting queue,
in brilliant trails faster than dawn to horizons
west of here; pathways the money both is and symbolises.

The Securities Desk

Money is a kind of poetry
—Wallace Stevens

Yes. It has rhythm, a book-kept symmetry, each debit
finding its rhyme on the opposite side of the ledger.
And its currents at night have a flickering aesthetic.
And it cycles in predictable metre, its seasons falling like stresses,

(boom, bust) but its weather ineffable: just ask the analysts, baffled,
resentful, in awe, to tell the why not the what of their graph.
Her husband sculpts money and it responds to his mind’s brisk sleight.
Options are formed: like making faith of water or engineering light.


The language of money’s neither Christian nor Jewish,
it’s not Swiss-Deutsch or toned Cantonese,
nor world-acid English even, plane-and-lobby-speak, fluid,
dissolving lects with bland flexible ease.

No, my sons, that language is a two-note affair,
it’s one and zero on altering repeat.
As the terminals discourse, come, we’ll learn it together
and our mouths will spill pieces of eight.

The Men in Gray Suits

She remembers the day the money went south.
Níl aon rud gadaithe ná curtha ar cheall.
She remembers the tide still came in and went out
though the men in grey suits were at the airport of the capitol.

She remembers the forced and muted laughter in the bar
as if a final or a trawler had been lost.
They poured like any other night, the wine, the beer.
She remembers that no rum could get them pissed.

A Prayer

Money, be good to me. Money, be my friend.
Cast me not beyond the glow of your transmissions.
Suffer not your servant to suffer your indifference
and grant me all this not just once but again:

this shapely sommelière, this plate of crab eight different ways
that’s a spare and delicate text, this sweet stinging vintage,
Ram Head above the sea’s torqued brittleness in winter.
Cherish me until and beyond the end of my days.


She looks for her “still core” amid the dunes. She bends.
She plucks salted grass from the crackling shale-fringe.
He’s just a contrail dissipating somewhere, cashmere,
a blackberry bearing east. He’s second-hand air,

a business class-ticket, her picture in his wallet.
Nothing is stolen nor yet cancelled out.
The tide’s placid, insistent tongue is only wave
after wave of finance washing up on this green haven.


It is both the loom and what is woven,
the money, its own transactions are its warp and weft.
Nothing is built. Nothing is yet cancelled out.
Its beams and shuttles are transactions too. Planes nictate to their terminals

while transactions pulse across worlds. She watches for him in arrivals.
He fears his speech at the options conference dragged a bit.
It’s a machine engendered for its own remaking. Programmed, deft,
it unravels. It’s reweaving itself again. Our lives are patterns in its stitched design.


Níl aon rud curtha ar cheall.
Níl aon rud gadaithe
Abair liom: an mbeimíd riamh i dteannta a chéile?
Tá an gaineamh ór i solas na maidine.

agus an uisce airgead meascaithe le ór.
Tá sé chómh gheall.
Táimid i dteannta a chéile arís. Níl aon rud tógtha.
Níl aon rud curtha ar cheall.


Homepage photograph via Flickr by peasap

Billy Ramsell

Billy Ramsell was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1977. Complicated Pleasures, his debut collection, was published by the Dedalus Press, Dublin, in 2007. He has been shortlisted for a Strong Award and a Hennessy Award. He lives in Cork, where he co-runs an educational publishing company.