Money is beauty, money is sex, money is a party to which I've inexplicably been invited, wasabi roe and squab liver crostini, stock options like pheromones in the air, a ten million dollar house in Pacific Heights around which I wander with the discontented purity of a palace eunuch. Money is my father––crafty man, Odysseus of the desert--renting a truck at twenty-one and driving all night to New Mexico because, he's heard, the price of wood is so much lower there than in treeless West Texas that if he can just bring back a truckload he'll be, well, not rich maybe, but at least not broke, not fucking broke. Money is the dawn so full of promise, his blank fatigue, the ax that slips and lays his leg open to the bone. It's the hospital bill, the cleaning bill for the blood in the truck, the ticket he gets on the drive home. Power and terror, means and ends, fat man in a Philadelphia bank who, after I've explained proudly that I've just paid off my last debt with a poetry prize, denies me a car loan for that reason, his oleaginous jowls jiggling ever so slightly as he says, "How else can we know you exist?": money is shit.
-Christian Wiman, from "Filthy Lucre," in Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet
(Copper Canyon Press, 2007)