greed’s best friend

bare treesFirst, I heard it.

Old trees being felled on a wealthy man’s land.

The sound of Greed.


Then, everywhere I walked, its present was evident.

I saw it in the roiling mud of a flooded stream,

in the eroded hillside above.

I smelled it in the putrid rich stink of industrial chicken litter being spread on the fields.


Having had enough, I changed course,

departing into the uncut forest path.

Greed did not follow me there. There, it cannot survive.

Boom or bust, the Living World shares and shares alike.


My heart at rest, I returned home.

Rustling through the pantry before dinner, I heard it again

– Greed, muttering and whining in the corner.


I hauled it out into the open,

hoping it would settle into something new in full daylight.

No luck.


I invited Friendship, Love, and Compassion in,

to see what they could do with our stubborn house-guest.


Greed was confused and suspicious of Friendship.

It backed itself into a corner,

its eyes shifting wildly from face to face.


Love wrinkled its forehead. “This could be serious.” it says.

“Hey, I know you!”says Greed,

panting in stress and excitement.


Greed rustled through its pockets. Many pockets. All full.

“Look,” it says to Love, pulling out a snapshot.

“It’s you and me, back in the day. Remember that?”


“No dice.” says Love, after a glance.

“That’s my cousin, Power.

No surprise there. I don’t hang out in those places.

You’ve never met me before.”


Greed pawed the floor, then stuck out a sweaty palm.

“Well, the family resemblance is striking!

Wouldn’t you like some more? Just a little bit more,

of whatever you have?  I can be your buddy.”


Love looks disgusted and turning to the rest of us says,

“I’ve had enough of this. I’m calling out the dogs.”


“Oh, come now –

we don’t want to make a mess in the house do we?

Everyone makes mistakes.”

Compassion gives a stab at making amends.


I have to admit,

I thought about just throwing Greed back in the closet.

It would have been the simplest thing to do.

But I knew Love wouldn’t let me off so easy.


Love was fingering its dog whistle

when Compassion asked to use the phone.

“This is not any easy job,” it said

“but it’s really in everybody’s best interest.”


I got worried when Greed started to slink

back toward the closet.

It was trying to wheedle some kind of deal

with Friendship.  Then there was a knock on the door.


Generosity walked in,

with broad shoulders and a confident smile.

Greed was still as stone.


Generosity took Greed by the scruff of the neck,

and turned it upside down.

The contents of Greed’s pockets rolled across the floor.

Greed looked smaller.


Generosity folded Greed into a greasy packet,

about the side of a sandwich,

and ate it whole.


“Waste not, want not.”

said Generosity with a smile

and a small, polite belch.


Love’s dogs howled in the yard.


For more ways to talk about Greed, go watch Sweet Honey in the Rock – HERE.

3 thoughts on “greed’s best friend

  1. ah how wonderful, I’m curious where this came from, sounds almost like Gregory Corso’s great poem about beauty, sweet honey there

    • i definitely remembered Gregory as this one came on, but i also was thinking of my sufi friends and their love dogs, and i like to think of Love as a tough customer sometimes. it can be helpful in times like these.

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