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Poetry

A Proposal To the Secretary Of Commerce

Kasandra Larsen

In 1100, playing cards in China
were mainly used as money. In Canada
in 1685, due to the French's leisurely attitude
toward time (or maybe the sailing
ships were just slow), cards were marked
with values, signed by the governor
to make them official, and circulated as currency
for seventy years. Now in America, 2009, I'd like
to propose a reinstatement of the practice,
not such strange currency, a bailout for us all.
 
I've got two standard decks of Bicycles,
conservatively appraised at face value for the pips
and Jacks proposed at $20, Queens $40, Kings $50.
How about these cards marked with Harvard's
esteemed insignia?  An Ace alone should equal a year's
worth of tuition – that's thirty-two thousand, five
hundred fifty-seven dollars – with a full house
redeemable for four years of room and board.
 
I've got money just laying around, at least five decks
of tarot cards squirreled away in cubbyholes inside
my roll-top desk. Let's make Minor Arcana
their face value in hundreds. Majors should begin
at a million for The Fool, $10 mil. for the Wheel of Fortune,
a billion dollars for The World. We can all be rich,
everyone from canasta ladies and cribbage aficionados
to armchair fortune-tellers and professional psychics.
(You know they never win the lottery.)
 
With Justice alone, I could pay off the debts
of my service-industry friends. My Harvard deck, sold
as a set, could make me queen for the rest of my days.
So, what do you say?

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