Friday, April 15, 2016

The Taxman Cometh

The fast  fading tradition of lining up at the Post Office on the last day for Income Tax filing.

In the U.S.A. April 15 is traditionally the date by which income taxes are due to be filed.  In the quaint days before most people filed electronically, it would be celebrated by TV coverage of long lines at urban Post Offices kept open late for the occasion as hordes of desperate last minute filers tried desperately get their returns post marked before midnight.  These days when taxes are due, I am sure there is no less desperation, but much of it is hidden in homes as procrastinators stare at screens in horror as they realize that one critical document without which the return cannot be competed is missing or internet connection mysteriously fails.
But this year that won’t be on April 15.  Thanks to the gods of the Internal Revenue Service the due date has pushed back to Monday April 18 giving folks three extra days to dillydally.  The arcane reason is that the IRS observes the District of Columbia holiday Emancipation Day on April 16.  Since that falls on Saturday this year, the day off work for Federal Employees was pushed back to Friday.  Got that?
But for poetic purposes we are going to due a roundup of verse about taxes on the traditional due date. 
Taxes stir up strong emotions—panic, loathing, rage, and self-pity.  Strong emotions evoke poetry.  A lap around web poetry sites turns up hundreds of posted poems.  Some, of course are by famous poets and others by competent published journeymen and women.  But many are by amateurs some apparently stirred to verse for the first time.  It should probably come as no surprise that most of the latter seem to be posted by conservatives whose hatred of taxes, government, and the bloodsucking weakling who drain fine productive citizens like themselves may be the strongest emotion they ever have.  Also not surprisingly many of these poems have all of the poetic beauty and majesty of posts by internet trolls.  You will be grateful that we are ignoring those.
As for me, I don’t mind paying my dues to civilization.  Not that I approve of every expenditure or don’t cluck and shake my head over boondoggles and sometimes jaw dropping waste.  Sure I’d like to pick and choose.  I don’t want my dollars paying for the drone that wipes out a village wedding party or lets some already fat cat get a second yacht.  But I am down with most of the rest of it and patently benefit from it.

My pain is in the way-to-complicated process of filling out the forms and filing.  This year because of a glitch in the tax software I use, downloaded from a major, well advertised firm, I was unable to complete my rather simple taxes and had to go to the trouble and expense of gathering my crap and hauling it to a tax preparer’s office—which charged me a hefty fee.  The whole experience used up about three days of my time.  I hate that.
Oh, and we still owed about a grand.
My Two Cents
Generally, there are two problems
With money: 1. Getting it and 2. What
To do with it. Certainly the food bank
Needs your help. The bristled ant.
Girls’ volleyball and these days even
The water supply, even the sky.
As you may surmise by my raiment,
Drapings really, and the primitive
Medium of this message, I have little
To recommend re: 1. Whereas 2.:
Start small. Make a stack of quarters
Then knock them down like an affordable
Coup d’état. Pennies are mostly zinc
So there’s your source of zinc,
An excellent sunblock. If you crumple
A crisp, uncirculated bill then
Uncrumple it incompletely,
It’ll appear to have shrunk as vivid
Visual aid to the recession. Blame
The president. Blame Congress. Blame
Mexico. For dramatic effect
Abbie Hoffman dropped a few hundred ones
On the New York Stock Exchange floor,
The ensuing pandemonium shutting down
The world economy for a couple hours.
Vermeer-owning industrialists
Stared into the nothing-mist. Oil
Magnates and hotel highnesses stared
Into the mist. Squeak, squeak — tiny, pink
Rat-feet on the wheel. My father worked nights
Most his life then died young but we never
Lacked electricity or clothes. I hate
To suppose money makes everyone its slave
But nearly everyone I know is sleep-
Deprived and wants to send a robot-clone
Into work for them. Squeak, squeak. Often
Money, like gin, can bring out the worst
Although once, after a couple stiff ones,
My mother gave you her mother’s diamond ring.
Maybe she won’t remember a thing, we thought
But she wrote it off as a gift on her taxes.

— Dean Young
The author of Fall Higher


Catch us up
to where we are
today —
these pants!
this hair!
It’s been a good year
for unique, differentiated products.
I’m more interested
in quarks:
up and down,
bottom and top,
simple units
of meaning.
If self-love
were a mirage,
it would decorate
shimmer over
others’ eyes,
on contact
Rae Armantrout
The author of
Money Shot
This parody is by one of the bathrobe poets.  Is it Left Wing, Right Wing?  Who knows?  Tropes from both sides can be found.  Likely the writer has no clear ideology only a dollop of tax angst and a sense of playfulness.
Dr Seuss-style-Mister Obama Please Tax The Rich Man
Mister Obama please tax the rich man!
The cost’s are up.
The pay is down.
All over town.
There is tax on GAS!
There is tax on tan.
Mister Obama please tax the rich man.
There is tax on CARS.
There is tax on trees.
There is tax on our food.
More tax.
We can’t pay.
There is tax
There is tax.
There is tax
This I know
On tobacco, too.
But tax, tax, TAX!
The rich do, do, DO!
Mister Obama
Please tax the
Rich man!
There is tax on pills.
There is tax on HEALTH.
There is tax on insurance
Just for wealth.
Just for wealth
There is tax
On telecom.
And on low tech
Mister Obama
Change the queue.
Tax the rich man.
Just do, do, DO!
Now start this show!
Please Mister O.!
There’s even tax on electricity.
There is tax on our dog...
Ducks and hog.
There is tax on our water
And imbibements we drink.
There is tax on our underwear
...and clothes.
Middle class has floundered.
It shows!
Mister Obama!
Tax the rich man.
Mister Obama!
Please tax the
Rich man!
It’s time
Tax the rich man
Mister Obama.

—Deborah  Burch

And last but not least, my favorite, an import from the U.K.Scotland to be exact—which evokes a pastoral past and foreboding.

Seven scythes leaned at the wall.
Beard upon golden beard
The last barley load
Swayed through the yard.
The girls uncorked the ale.
Fiddle and feet moved together.
Then between stubble and heather
A horseman rode.

—George  Mackay Brown
from Fishermen with Ploughs

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