We were the hottest start-up ever
balancing the business case
a red-hot book-to-bill
and vivid burn-rates shrinking assets.
Drink champagne we said.
It was the new economy
where value can be calculated
with goodwill and belief.
We knew we lived inside a Ponzi scheme
were owners gave us more
since we were faster better, bolder.
painting red with black.
Drink more champagne, forget we sang.
But when their cash had dwindled,
and assets turned to ash,
they hanged themselves and left us
going south with a simple choice
or to die from thirst.
We laced the last Champagne with henbane
knowing we’d enjoyed the ride —
I wrote this based partly on an experience of working with a startup that didn’t end well. But I think we handle the worlds in just about the same way which ties well to the first image in Magaly’s prompt at toads.
May 18, 2019
The cock-sure braggadocio in this feels so spot on. And the way the subject still clings to it as the water rises around him. It’s like the story about a frog in boiling water (it doesn’t realize the boiling will kill him until it’s too late), but in this piece the frog is so excited he figured out how the oven works, he’s almost proud of the way he contributed to his own demise.
Facing the consequences of our bad decisions–even if it isn’t our fault–rarely evokes the best of feelings. I wonder how many people stick to their guns (figuratively and literally) just because they are too ashamed to admit that they were wrong… or worse yet, to have to accept that they are the main culprit behind their own doom.
I feel like I should read the last stanza with a slightly hysterical, drunk… voice.
This is awesome. 🙂
Off to research henbane. Actually, nah. Off to a fifth grade dance. 😛
Cheers! Very chilling.
And that devil-may-care attitude is what will send us all to hell 😦 You’ve captured that fiddle while rome burns atmosphere here well.
Your poem reminded me of working in the City of London in the 1980s. I never joined the champagne Charlies – I don’t like champagne, or alcohol very much. The lines that resonate for me are:
‘It was the new economy
where value can be calculated
with goodwill and belief’.
The final lines are so dark and remind me of the Depression, when many people committed suicide.
I think you’ve caught the arrogant mood well…
You have aced it, in this poem – the voice, the flying high, the fall……we treat business and the planet in the same way. To our peril.
“We laced the last Champagne with henbane
Sometimes humans are really lemmings
Happy Sunday Björn
I love the title. I thought it was going to be about a hot romance!
A great depiction of fly-by-night get-rich schemes.
You’ve captured a very real sense of the “it’s all about me” of many folks in the world today.
This is incredibly potent! Especially like; “But when their cash had dwindled, and assets turned to ash,
they hanged themselves and left us going south with a simple choice of drowning or to die from thirst.”
A start up business can be risky and when the backers feel a loss they usually cut whatever they have to and on many occasions do not care about personal situations. I can feel this as “business is business” to some the hell with the rest.
I can feel the pain.
PS – never go into a partnership with a friend, as that can turn very sour.
I want to email you about something if you wouldn’t mind. I think I met your twin.
Please do mail me… brudberg (at) gmail.com
For some reason, this piece reminded me of the way it felt sometimes to work as an attorney in a law firm– working the almighty billable hour
greed and arrogance will eventually lead to dire consequences, you captured it well!
Nailed it. Now I am going over to ready the prompt at Toads.
My brother ended his own life about 10 years ago, so this poem really hits me hard.
This packs a punch! There are so many people who get burned in too-good-to-be-true schemes. Many spend money they don’t really have hoping they’ll make it big. You tell the sorrowful tale all too well. I had to look up “henbane.” That ending…ugh!
Nevertheless, one is the richer in having gone through the works and coming out alive.
Hopefully it doesn’t come down to that… but what if it does…!
for one startup that is successful and in the news, how many died and are forgotten by the wayside?
your poem reminds me of the stock market craze that gripped here many years ago. everyone wants in to earn some easy money but most end up losing their shirts.
it is all about the ride is it not – it is why we take the risk in love, in money, etc, why do we do it…to live i suppose…its all about the ride…bkm
Someone always pays for bad decisions, and sadly, it is usually victims. The high of a lie is deadly.
The oh so common swift rise to those champagne heights, followed by the even swifter fall into the abyss….as is life these days!