Archive for June 22nd, 2020

Monday, 22 June 2020

The Displaced of Capital by Anne Winters

“A shift in the structure of experience…”
As I pass down Broadway this misty late-winter morning, the city is ever alluring, but thousands of miles to the south
the subsistence farms of chickens, yams and guava
are bought by transnationals, burst into miles
of export tobacco and coffee; and now it seems the farmer
has left behind his plowed-under village for an illegal
partitioned attic in the outer boroughs. Perhaps
he’s the hand that emerged with your change
from behind the glossies at the corner kiosk;
the displaced of capital have come to the capital.

The displaced of capital have come to the capital,
but sunlight steams the lingerie-shop windows, ?the coffee bar
has its door wedged open, and all I ask of the world this morning is to pass down my avenue, find
a fresh-printed Times and an outside table;
and because I’m here in New York the paper tells me of here:
of the Nicaraguans, the shortage of journeyman-jobs, ?the ethnic
streetcorner job-markets where men wait all day but more ?likely the women
find work, in the new hotels or in the needle trades,
a shift in the structure of experience.

A shift in the structure of experience
told the farmer on his Andean plateau
“Your way of life is obsolescent.”–But hasn’t it always ?been so?
I inquire as my column spills from page one
to MONEY&BUSINESS. But no, it says here the displaced
stream now to tarpaper favelas, planetary barracks
with steep rents for paperless migrants, so that they
remit less to those obsolescent, starving
relatives on the altiplano, pushed up to ever thinner air and soil;
unnoticed, the narrative has altered.

Unnoticed, the narrative has altered,
but though the city’s thus indecipherably orchestrated
by the evil empire, down to the very molecules in my brain
as I think I’m thinking, can I escape morning happiness,
or not savor our fabled “texture” of foreign
and native poverties? (A boy tied into greengrocer’s apron,
unplaceable accent, brings out my coffee.) But, no, it says here
the old country’s “de-developing” due to its mountainous
debt to the First World–that’s Broadway, my cafe
and my table, so how can I today
warm myself at the sad heartening narrative of immigration?
Unnoticed, the narrative has altered,
the displaced of capital have come to the capital.


Date: 2000

By: Anne Winters (1939- )