When Money is the Muse


Friday, January 30, 2009

As a starving writer, Katy Lederer had credit card debt and couldn't hold on to her apartment. So she took a job at a hedge fund, but she kept writing poetry on the side, often about money and our complicated lust for it. Now a full-time poet, her recent collection is Heaven-Sent Leaf. Lederer tells what modern money-making and modern verse have in common.

Enlighten Us: Submit your haiku about the financial crisis

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Katy Lederer

Comments [110]

Tor Kingdon from Albuquerque, NM

economy haiku:

do Americans
need more debt available?
I need more income

Feb. 19 2009 09:18 AM
Drew from Cleveland, OH

The Slip was light blue,
However, I find myself
Just as unemployed.

I should not have slept
Through so many math classes.
Interest only loan.

You're firing me eh?
Well, I am shtupping your wife!
Downsize that, you ass.

Unemployment lines.
They stretch past my office door.
Get a job, hippie!

I can't justify
That new hi-def TV set
While NPR's free.

Feb. 18 2009 08:48 PM
Michael Guccione from Pasadena, CA

The match was hungry
When fed it gave and took back
Receipt cold and black

Feb. 18 2009 02:35 AM
David Mook from Lahaska, PA

Makes no difference,
pyrite, twenty-four carat;
fool’s gold, all of it.

White shirt, light starch, tie,
collar and cuffs all business;
the noose is quite pleased.

Feb. 17 2009 10:57 PM
A Snider from Monkton, Vermont

Whispers on Wall St.
world dies from speculation.
Who will redeem us?

Feb. 17 2009 09:23 PM
Patrick Short from Arlington, TX

Making big bucks with
Creative securities
Some one else will pay

One who holds their cash
Bad for the economy
Spend what you don't have

Soon what you don't have
Like moss on a stagnant stone
Spreads over the world

Another old lie
Hi, I'm from the government
I'm here to help you

The big banks were bad
They misused all of their cash
Let's give them some more

The banks want new cash
Loan out the old to get new
Nope, I don't think so

Is there God or cash?
You can hold cash in your hands
But what do you have?

Feb. 17 2009 07:02 PM
Travis Larimer from Oakland, CA

San Francisco trains

charge through the shopping district

I still see full bags.

Feb. 17 2009 05:19 PM
Julie Rawe from Brooklyn, NY

My dipshit friends are
quitting their full-time jobs--they
don't read the paper.

Feb. 17 2009 02:42 PM
george fillingham from Hopkinsville, Ky

Here is my Haiku on the economy:

Avaricious Man!
Dante has a place for you.
Abandon all Hope.

He's the closest thing we have to the outline of punishment and it is grime. The second line could end with "us" because as part of humanity I will include myself. We watch Dickens' Christmas Carol every year and still we learn nothing.

Feb. 17 2009 09:16 AM
Frankie Torres from Philippines


The economy
Crashes, As calmly I type
My research paper

Feb. 17 2009 04:32 AM
Zan Buckner from Nashville, TN

My economy-inspired haiku:

Fear freezes my heart,
Jobs and money disappear,
At least love is free.

Feb. 17 2009 03:12 AM
George Lambert from Annapolis, MD

Heard the haiku last Saturday. Besides forgoing the 5-7-5, it was awful. Shame on them for sending it and you for broadcasting it, but it did inspire me. Now THIS is haiku:


Bandits on Wall Street
While Washington fast asleep.
Now, subprime haiku !

Feb. 16 2009 06:58 PM
arkonbey from Underhill, Vermont

My friend is frightened

face taught with anxiety

third shift, IBM

Feb. 16 2009 03:06 PM
Debra Nugent from Dallas, TX

Oligarchy reigns!

President Obama --

please dethrone them.

Feb. 16 2009 02:34 PM
Grady Clarkson from Leeds, Alabama 35094

Once singing jingle
My pocket depth whispers
only of borrowed lint

Feb. 16 2009 10:24 AM
Whitney Shroyer from Asheville, NC

Ballooning payment
Hindenburging while it grows.
Going down in flames.

Feb. 16 2009 10:12 AM
melissa draper from New York, New York

Listening to your program on Saturday morning I heard your haiku entries and stopped in my tracks. I work for a branding/grahic design studio and we started a haiku contest at Christmas and asked for entries and we did the same for Valentine's Day. We've had such good responses from our clients/friends/prospects - everyone seems to love haiku and is so willing to give it a try. We're going to be continuing our haiku contest for the rest of 2009 and then publishing a book with submissions.

It must be kizmet
To ask, to write, to submit
Words for life and all

Here's a link to our site and haiku contest

Thanks! Melissa Draper

Feb. 16 2009 10:08 AM
Stephanie from Berkeley, CA

A Haiku:

Following the thread
To the center of the maze:
What awaits us there?

Feb. 15 2009 03:07 PM
Vic from Bernardsville, NJ

outside looking in (out)
emotion, confusion stirs
stand tall start anew

Feb. 15 2009 02:22 PM
Kellee from Roanoke, VA

The above comment from me is three haiku, but the format did not allow me spaces between poems. Please forgive...should I have made this message a haiku, too??

Feb. 15 2009 11:44 AM
Kellee from Roanoke, VA

My job expires
My hopes swell to the surface
A dream and a prayer

Short on cash again
Eating beans for lunch and sup
Bloated on empty

Stocks diving again
Thankfully no margin calls
When will I see green?

Schools cutting money
Teaching on the chopping block
The future slighted

Feb. 15 2009 11:41 AM
Judy Madden from Rockville, MD

Two Haiku for Today's Economy

Stretch your dollar, or
Tighten your belt. Either way
It's gonna hurt. Ouch.

The mall...Much beckons.
Want it? Yes! Need it? No. Sigh.
Avert eyes. Walk on.

Feb. 15 2009 11:12 AM
Doug Otto from Haddonfield, New Jersey

My parents told me

Son, save for a rainy day

Is that rain I hear?

Feb. 14 2009 11:07 PM
Ron Benjamin from Tucson, AZ

Economy Haiku: Pain, no Gain:

Warnings kept in shade

Danger lurked in every trade

Lies to reach the moon


Ethics compromised

Falsehoods, treasures, overprized

Pain will teach us soon.

Feb. 14 2009 06:04 PM
bus ra from St Louis

excessive capitalism

why does someone have
to make profit in order
for us to live well

Feb. 14 2009 03:56 PM
Mandy Eisenhart from St. Louis, MO

Summa Cum Laude
Ah, higher education!
Now I sell groceries.

Feb. 14 2009 03:40 PM
Amelia from Fort Worth

Three forty for milk

Dairy product of the gods

I'd like to meet this cow

Feb. 14 2009 03:04 PM
Benjamin Burton from Gaithersburg MD

Bernie made-off with the cash
Ponzi's unclean hand

Feb. 14 2009 01:37 PM
Christopher Evans from New Hampshire

Either to or fro,
without regard for your tears,

Feb. 14 2009 01:34 PM
Doug Allor from Kalamazoo, MI

Bubble now busted.
Will the new king save us all?
Nationalize me.

Feb. 14 2009 11:58 AM
Ken Lightburn from Hartsdale New york

Highly leveraged
Most flew too near the sun, now
All investments fall

Feb. 14 2009 10:26 AM
Stephanie from Connecticut

Thanks for your good work.
You've been a great employee.
Now you must go. Sad.

Feb. 14 2009 08:41 AM
Steve Gallop from Pennsylvania

the economy, in three parts

big surplus plundered
one heck of a job Bushie
then he walks away

giant bonuses
for doing a lousy job
hey, i could do that

a culture of wanton greed
this can't go badly

Feb. 14 2009 08:22 AM
Christopher Zurcher from New Haven, Connecticut

i am unemployed
okay, now what do i do
well, start a business

Feb. 14 2009 07:43 AM
Cindy Buck from Bourne, MA

Financial Aid Form Haiku

Hate FAFSA form hate
The Profile even more hate
Being told I'm poor.

Feb. 13 2009 03:06 PM
Margaret from Ottsville, PA

Haiku on the economy:

Titanic Wall Street
breaks apart on a bubble,
Revealing its greed.

Our finance system
founders and quickly freezes.
IRAs shudder.

Madoff's Ponzi scheme
deceives faithful investors.
Charities lose hope.

Feb. 11 2009 09:17 AM
Heather from Canada

This season of fear
Worries drift, always shifting
We will wade through them.

Feb. 10 2009 11:46 PM
Don Ebel from Vancouver, WA

Change is no destination,
Hope, no strategy;
What got us here is no "out"

Feb. 07 2009 06:20 PM
Jim Carter from Washington, DC

The homeless man begs.
But I think him beneath me.
Soon we will be equals.

The market in turmoil.
I’m beside myself with worry.
The sunset makes me smile.

We bemoan the loss
of an almond Frapaccino.
A child dies in Africa.

Where is my lotto ticket?
It taunts me from the fridge door.
I don’t dare check it.

I dropped out of college.
Threw caution to the wind.
My father was right!

Geitner and Daschle
their taxes they did not pay.
Look the other way.

Just as I was on track
the economy collapses.
My retirement harkens.

Feb. 06 2009 04:33 PM
Tom Watson from Elverson, PA

Haiku I can watch the inauguration all day today. I'm unemployed.

Feb. 04 2009 10:29 PM
papaed from Kansas City, Missouri

careless borrowers
now sad, and many homeless
will O'Bama help


greed is the clear cause
unemployment everywhere
hopeful news needed

Feb. 04 2009 10:06 PM
JIm Hicks from Leverett, MA

Wall St.

Fortress of stone built
upon a sky-borne boulder
Don't look down, stupid!

Feb. 04 2009 07:42 PM
Jane Davis from Pittsburgh

Title: Chauncey Gardiner's hedge fund and hedgerow prognostication.

Last six weeks of winter
Cherry blossoms bloom

Feb. 03 2009 11:36 PM
ivan hughes from saint louis, missouri

wall street millionaire
k street mogul-lobbyist
the poor are still poor

fox guards the hen-house
unraveling schemes of greed
is impossible

'made off' with my money
'milk-em' but don't kill the cow
let sleeping dogs 'lay'

Feb. 03 2009 09:58 PM
ann from nyc

greenbacks asunder
Wall Street Titans Falling Fast
Hit the ground...running

Feb. 03 2009 06:18 PM
Beth Blissman from Oberlin, OH

four haiku'd thoughts:

flip side of crisis
opportunity, knock here
fresh food awaits you

educate children
financial literacy
big words, small actions

we are citizens
it is up to us to act
democracy now

pushing through the snow
green shoots of life emerge today
empower yourself

Feb. 03 2009 04:42 PM
kathy abromeit from Oberlin, OH USA

counting grains of rice
navigating the darkness

Feb. 03 2009 01:49 PM
elaine kilshaw from United Kingdom

What goes up must come down
yet the rich get richer
the poor get poorer

Feb. 03 2009 10:40 AM
Anonymous from NY

The Chistmas Commute (2008)
Shuffle, shuffle, clop
Heads held low, in we go
Houses, Range Rover and pedigree dog
Only losers don’t live high on the hog
Student loans, car loans, mortgages and more
More, more, more
Buy it, spend it, use it, spoil
Private school and country club
Keep up the toil
Shuffle, shuffle, clop
Heads held low, in we go
Bank failure, leverage and scam
Christmas Spirit
Why don’t I go out on the lamb?
My wife is the best
But why can’t she, rest?
Over evaluate, under-reconcile
When will we just smile?
March in, March out
What is it you are worried about?
Its a wonderful life
Stoic, stiff upper lip
Can’t you just live life a little bit?
Shuffle, shuffle, clop
Heads held low, in we go
Army ant? Or, worker bee?
Can’t you see? Me?
I better not miss the 6:23
My kids, my keys, oh please
Just where are my keys?
My kids sleep, week after week
I see them, asleep
Morning and night, I know!
Its not right
Headlights rumble, tracks shake
No-one is awake
Ka-clack, overeducated, ka-clack, underappreciated
Ka-clack, undereducated, ka-clack, overstressed
Rat race, better touch base
Tickets, please
Headlines race, red face
Heaven help me, its Christmas
Shuffle, shuffle…Stop!

Feb. 03 2009 10:10 AM
Jane Davis from Pittsburgh, PA

Barack Obama,
Deliver us from trauma.
Give us stimulus.

Feb. 02 2009 07:54 PM
Anna Salmi from Brooklyn

At 7 a.m. only,from the subway crossing
the Manhattan Bridge,
Wall Street still appears golden
in the light of the rising sun.

A lady in her mink coat cuddling her
pooch - in cashmere, of course
(fast forward Paris Hilton 60 years);
slightly confused, in the corner of 5th and 50th
trying to hail her own taxi...

Feb. 02 2009 06:22 PM
Don Ebel from Vancouver WA


Man turns over a new leaf

Not Realizing

He lives inside a jungle

Feb. 02 2009 03:06 PM
PHILIP LUSTIG from Downingtown, PA

Kurt made us think

If more people did it

Bush would be

Just a passing thought

Feb. 02 2009 02:48 PM
Alisha Hershberger from Pittsburgh, PA

Change, change, change makes cents.
But what will give us dollars?
Hope is essential.

Feb. 02 2009 02:16 PM
Kaye from Franklin, TN

clouds smother the sun
spiny eels burrow to hide
faint light to warm drafts

Feb. 02 2009 01:44 PM
Bill E. Stevens from Sisters, OR

economy haiku submission:

Titans of finance
turned into Wall St. wimps when
the clock struck midnight.

Feb. 02 2009 01:44 PM
Bill E. Stevens from Sisters, OR

economy haiku submission:

A family sleeps inside
the foreclosed, half-built house
next door. Don't tell.

Feb. 02 2009 01:42 PM
MCW from NC

Miss Money's makeover:
hair and nails, trimmed and colored.
"put it on my card."

Feb. 02 2009 01:36 PM
stephen spyrit from portland,OR

the great depression?
please, let's get some perspective.
that was whale, this fish..

Feb. 02 2009 12:55 PM

Market Share

The flea takes little.
No lump sum debt, no tax cut.
Bite! Then skidaddle!

Feb. 02 2009 12:16 PM
Kathleen from Detroit


Thirteen to seven

Sounding cold and technical

Means they've lost the house.

Feb. 02 2009 09:19 AM
dee shapiro from Long Island, New York

Haiku Challenge

the paper profits
blown and strewn
dandelion dust

Feb. 02 2009 09:02 AM
Christina from maplewood, nj

In the Suburbs
February ice
Unforgiving chill of white
And unopened bills
Coupons, mastercards
Budgets, kids hair all scissored-
Slim contrivances
Hand knit,painted, stewed
And hammered:old skills renewed
Like library books
Housewives are dyeing
Their own hair, shrouding grayness
with color, doubtful.

Feb. 02 2009 07:02 AM
Natty Diggs from Washington DC

Humpty's Financial Haiku

Another wind blows
Nest egg falls off the Wall
Street shell yolk broken

Feb. 01 2009 11:45 PM
Jamine from Bellingham, WA

new paradigm time
do not focus on your wealth
see what matters most

Feb. 01 2009 11:39 PM
Barry from New Jersey

will work for food
an ant carries a moth
along the sidewalk

Feb. 01 2009 09:30 PM
Barry from New Jersey

the crash of wave
half of the castle
flows into the sea

Feb. 01 2009 09:28 PM
Barry from New Jersey

my old boss talks
to an empty cubicle
the autumn wind

Feb. 01 2009 08:50 PM
John Allen from St. Louis, Missouri

My fledgling savings
turned inside out,
an empty pocket.

Feb. 01 2009 08:41 PM
Barry Goodmann from Hackensack, New Jersey

on a crooked street
a businessman blows bubbles
the noontime moon

Feb. 01 2009 08:31 PM
Amy Holman from Brooklyn, NY

I enjoyed the Katy Lederer interview.

Here is my haiku on the financial crisis:

Catching Up

The sighing bus melts
the snowy streets. Out of cash
and card, I take warmth.

Feb. 01 2009 08:16 PM
Dory Bergman from NYC

learn to sacrifice

unvarnished nails look pretty

read to your children

Feb. 01 2009 07:31 PM
Dory Bergman from NYC

subprime mortgages
enrons and ponzi schemes
the eye of the storm?

Feb. 01 2009 07:28 PM
Dory Bergman from NYC

education cuts
tuition escalating
ketchup soup again

Feb. 01 2009 07:22 PM
Dory Bergman from NYC

million, billion, trill...
our bread line lengthens daily
pigeons wait for crumbs

Feb. 01 2009 07:21 PM
Dory Bergman from NYC

Noah is a wise 12-year-old!

Feb. 01 2009 06:59 PM
Richard Archambault from Barnet, VT.

Old corporation lays off 500,
Young father sobs "Why me?"
Pistol barrel tastes cold in his mouth.

Feb. 01 2009 04:33 PM
Don Cipoletto


Vanity and greed
You and I scoot for the loot
Love is what we need

Feb. 01 2009 04:02 PM
Ursula Gannon from Ft Myers


Mystery solved
Over spend under work wilt
Work hard spend less thrive


Live without cable
be productive learn anew
lead by example

Feb. 01 2009 02:27 PM
Hammad Ahmed from http://hammad.we.bs


moon-made ebb and flow
leaves jellyfish at our feet.
but look -- sand dollars!

Feb. 01 2009 02:18 PM
Ben Turner from Seattle

The dream is over,
the nightmare of not enough
Awake, now fulfilled

Feb. 01 2009 01:20 PM
Diane Massad from Westlake, Ohio

For the Financial Crisis Haiku:


Coin change, changed
By magicians' crushing.
Splash is absent!

Feb. 01 2009 11:35 AM
Beverly Byrd

A Thin skin remains
To shield against the wind, rain.
Let all build roof, wall.

Feb. 01 2009 11:17 AM
Wanda Rader from Forbes Road, Pennsylvania


retired too soon
waiting for the monthly check
snowdrifts are growing

Feb. 01 2009 10:58 AM
Curt Prasky from Portsmouth, VA

Naked before you
I stand; you lie, nude, silent,

Jan. 31 2009 10:38 PM
Vortex4 from New England

A world full of things
promise the growth never ends
maybe zero sum game

Jan. 31 2009 09:46 PM
Adam Wasserman from New York City

Dust bowls blow waft bonds.
"Keep moving, no jobs here."
Crooks get paid sick days?!?!

Jan. 31 2009 08:17 PM
PHILIP LUSTIG from Downingtown,PA

Greed will wither
Like a weed bends
Weeds give us nothing
Greed gives us heartaches
Not fair
Money is the root
Man is the planter
Nothing grows
Gold in the hand
Feels good
Brings sorrow
Stocks on paper
What dreams are made of
Dreaming lives
Reality lives
Despair lives longer
Throw of the dice
Seven come eleven
No, snake eyes
Fool me once
Fool me twice
My fault
Here today
Future tomorrow
A bird in the hand
Flew away
Left me poop

Philip Lustig Downingtown, PA

Jan. 31 2009 07:41 PM
Mark Vashro from Brookline, MA

Taking a deep breath,
The day will go on till night.
Small breaths keep you sane.

Jan. 31 2009 07:26 PM

Food Emporium:
behind the condom rack
bananas going soft

Jan. 31 2009 04:55 PM

Market Share

The flea takes little,
No lump sum debt, no tax cut.
Just bite, then spittle.

Jan. 31 2009 04:04 PM
michael lee from nc

we populate our dreams
with people
we will never meet

Jan. 31 2009 02:55 PM
Kathy Deneen Price from Seattle, Washington

Katy Lederer broadcast on leaving her chosen field of poetry to go into the financial world was knowledgable. Poetry and financil goes hand-and-hand. It is like Lamentation in the Book of the Bible which speaks of the World going into some type of Great Depression and a Love Poem to God about the experience he was going through with the world's chaos. It is just like me that for the last 19 years I have been experienceing my own wilderness expereince and the weight of the world on my shoulders of it. God told me to finally get up from my peoples house in Washington, DC to move to Seattle, Washington on August 22, 2008 and I arrived here on August 28, 2008 by Greyhound bus safely and saw all the country side of God's green earth to know that the world is headed for more troubled if they do not stop what they are doing with all these wars and get in line with God's plans not the Devil's who cannot never keep the economy from a financial destruction that will bring the whole world to its's knees and worship Christ and know that he is God and Christ does not only save lives. He saves the financial economies as well not the Devil who all seems to want to worship, praise and give the Glory and Honor too not Christ and God.

Jan. 31 2009 01:48 PM
Fred Bates from Derry, NH

When Repo Trucks troll
Don’t laugh when these sharks glide bye
your bill filled mail box

Jan. 31 2009 01:39 PM
Jim Czajka from New York, NY

Resubmitted, clarified:
Buildings fall like stocks
Architects go to prison
Financiers retire
Falling markets turn
IRA's to IOU's
FDIC? Why?
My failing practice
With little to do - At last
I can enjoy it

Jan. 31 2009 01:09 PM
Jean Hunter from Houston, TX KUHF

My haiku


College kids' jobs gone
Dad works until older age
Nana needs Medicaid

Jan. 31 2009 12:33 PM
Jim Czajka from New York, NY

Buildings fall like stocks
Architects go to prison
Financiers retire

Falling markets turn
IRA's to IOU's
FDIC? Why?

My failing practice
With little to do - At last
I can enjoy it

Jan. 31 2009 12:22 PM
SW Beck from New York, NY

(By the way, Ellen, I want to thank you for your submission. Despite the tone of mine I think that some good will come out of all this!)

Jan. 31 2009 12:05 PM
SW Beck from New York, NY

A halt to getting
and spending. Buyers beware:
Greed gives way to fear.

Jan. 31 2009 12:03 PM
ellen diamond from New York City

Everything in ruin;
true——but in the winter sky
there she is, the moon.

Will this ever end?
Will spring find her way again?
Time to call a friend.

Jan. 31 2009 11:58 AM
Jenny from Studio 360

Hi Philip -- go ahead and write your haiku here, as a comment. And if you'd rather submit it privately, paste it into the e-mail frame -- since the poem is only a handful of syllables, it should fit (if not, submit it in several parts -- we'll get it). Thanks for writing!

Jan. 31 2009 11:49 AM
Drew Skroback from New York City

Green branch bent aside
makes way the long looked path.
Forgive the bent branch!

Jan. 31 2009 11:40 AM
Steven Horowitz from New York

Soaring overhead

They gather in Bowling Green

To tear at the meat

To see more "bankruptcy haiku" go to http://bankruptcybill.wordpress.com/bankruptcy-haiku/

Jan. 31 2009 10:19 AM
Steven Horowitz from New York

Indignation and

Litigation all for two

Cents on the dollar

To see more "bankruptcy haiku" go to http://bankruptcybill.wordpress.com/bankruptcy-haiku/

Jan. 31 2009 10:19 AM
Steven Horowitz from New York

Consumers suffer

But my main worry: How to

pronounce BAPCPA?

CreditSlips.org (http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/2008/11/bankruptcy-bill.html) has a post about "bankruptcy haiku" (http://bankruptcybill.wordpress.com/bankruptcy-haiku/) taken from the Bankruptcy Bill cartoon strip (http://bankruptcybill.wordpress.com).

Jan. 31 2009 10:13 AM
Carol Murray from New Egypt, NJ

This is my haiku about the financial crisis

A balloon of greed
A pin of reality
A balloon deflated

Jan. 31 2009 09:39 AM
Dallas from Santa Fe, NM


A trout turns and rises,
leaves float on -
the rush of clear water over rocks.

Jan. 31 2009 12:34 AM
Philip Lustig from Downingtown, PA

Your SUBMIT YOUR HAIKU ABOUT THE FINANCIAL CRISIS...above, does not show or explain how or where to submit my haiku's.
Clicking on 'email' gives little space to attach..or, in fact, no place to attach..what gives?

What is the email address...what is the procedure?

let me know...thanks

Jan. 30 2009 08:13 PM
Stephen Paul Miller from New York, New York


Coolidge dies of depression in the Depression.

Jan. 30 2009 12:16 PM
Stephen Paul Miller from New York, New York


Oh no, David Blaine is killing himself on ABC at 9PM.
"Two total idiots," my 12-year-old son notes.

Jan. 30 2009 12:14 PM

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